Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ten Tables, Reviewed

This is the first of many mini (some not so mini) reviews from our Boston trip.  Since I had 4 months to plan, that gave me 4 months to do my research, and research I did!  I'm thrilled to report that every one of the restaurants I chose turned out to be a winner.  That's a rarity when you're taking advice from complete strangers and when you have somewhat higher expectations.

The first stop was to Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain.  We had to take a cab there because it was practically in another city and even I thought it was too far to walk.  The ride there was a touch sketchy but I just prayed the people on Chowhound and the other various sites knew what they were talking about.  

I had been advised to request the chef's table for 2 and I was so pleased that I did.  While the food was exceptional, the experience made the dinner shine.  Being a cook myself, I was mesmerized by the tiny, yet uber efficient kitchen in which these TWO chefs were able to cook.  I told Wes that I felt guilty for every complaining that my kitchen was too small because these two men were quite comfortable in their 4x4 space.  It was so fun to watch them prepare various dishes and try to guess what they were making.  All the various ingredients had been prepped earlier in the day (we were told the staff comes in at 11:30 just to get prepared for a 5:30 opening).  There were countless little plastic containers with chopped veggies, spices, sauces, etc, all sitting on their shelves neat and orderly.  It was a well-oiled machine that seemed to run like clockwork.  I could have sat there all night just watching.  We were practically in the kitchen - my dream come true!  

For dinner, we both opted for the Chef's Whim Tasting Menu.  We had no idea what to expect, as neither of us even really looked at the menu.  The first course was not something I would have chosen, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it.  We were served the pate of the day, a rabbit, duck, and tarragon blend and another pork pate.  This was accompanied with a grainy mustard, 2 marinated pearl onions, a carrot marmalade (yum), caramelized fennel, and 4 slices of grilled bread.  The pate was a little salty for my palate but Wes really enjoyed it.  It actually reminded me of ham salad.

The next course was our first entree course.  It was Organic Scottish Salmon with warm potato salad, cucumbers with creme fraiche, and topped with a little roe.  The salmon was perfectly cooked and flaked with the just the touch of the fork.  The warm potato salad was the highlight of the entree and possibly the entire meal.  Sometimes simple is best and this was one of those times.  They took fingerling potatoes, sliced them horizontally and tossed them with a dijon mustard aioli.  That with the cool cucumber and creme fraiche salad on top made for a great pair.  All the components worked so well together.  It made you want to get a small bite of each on your fork before you put it in your mouth.  My mouth is watering thinking about this dish.

The 3rd course was another entree (sized proportionality for the tasting menu), the Braised Short Ribs.  Again, not something I would have chosen from the menu but I'm certainly glad it was served.  It was served in a red wine and orange au jus, with 2 hunks of carrots and 2 potatoes.  The meat was ridiculously tender and although it still had some fat in betwixt the layers, it just added to the overall flavor of the meat.  

We were then served a palate cleansing citrus sorbet with some sort of garnishment that is escaping me right now.  From there we moved to our final course, dessert.  It was a warm apricot cake with a crystallized ginger compote, served atop a pool of citrus creme anglaise. 

We left here fat and happy, as Wes likes to say.  We really couldn't have asked for a better start to our culinary adventure through Boston.  And I apologize for the lack of photos but every time I thought about taking a picture it was an inappropriate time.  I meant to at least take one of the outside of the place but alas, our taxi was waiting.  Suffice to say it's small since it literally only has ten tables.

1 comment:

  1. As always, I enjoy reading your restaurant reviews! So glad to hear that all your research paid off.