Although I've been wanting to try Ten Tables ever since it changed from Perdix, I haven't had a chance to make it over there until last night. On Tuesdays, they feature wines from a different country or other theme. You get four courses and four glasses of wine for $35/person. Every Wednesday, each diner chooses an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert off the regular menu for $25. An incredible bargain for the quality of food you get.
I must confess that the restaurant pretty much had me at hello, or rather, it had me when I called to make reservations. When I gave my name, the man who was taking the reservations said that his mother also had the same "beautiful" name and that he was looking forward to seeing us on Wednesday. Score one for welcoming and friendly customer service.
Four of us had a 7PM reservation but arrived about 20 minutes early and were promptly seated. (As it turned out, I probably didn't even need to make reservations. There was one other couple dining when we arrived and two others who were seated throughout our meal.) For those who don't know anything about the place, there really are only ten tables in the entire cozy space. A small bar area (maybe seats 4 people) is directly in front of the open "kitchen," which is not much bigger than a small bedroom. Despite this, the restaurant never felt cramped to any of us at the table and we all enjoyed watching our food being prepared literally right before our eyes as the two chefs worked their magic in that kitchen. Another staffing note: the only waitstaff throughout the evening was the extremely friendly owner named Krista, who does this job only on Wednesdays.
We started with 4 petite pork meatballs in a blood orange marmalade as a complimentary amuse--an excellent combination of sweet and savory tastes. A butter plate of sliced bread (I think it was a mild sourdough but it was darker than I'm used to seeing sourdough) was placed at two diagonal corners so no one had to reach across the table. Krista poured a good olive oil in a long cylindrical dish that's usually used for olives themselves.
As our appetizer, three of us had a mixed green salad with yellow and green beans, hazelnuts, and fresh mint leaves in a mustard vinaigrette. I love hazelnuts and they gave a nice contrasting crunch to the salad. The beans were steamed and crispy, and the mint was a great taste burst. The fourth person had steamed mussels with housemade pancetta (there is a LOT of pork in various incarnations on the menu), white wine, and parsley.
Two of the entrees were a pasta of the day, which was handmade linguine with housemade sausage, sauteed broccoli rabe, and red pepper flakes in an oil and garlic-based sauce. The sausage was sweet and tasty, the thick strands of linguine were perfectly al dente and the broccoli rabe wasn't too bitter. The third person got roasted salmon in a puff pastry with leeks an an exotic mushroom cream sauce. I didn't have any of it, but the person who did declared it "awesome." I got seared scallops over a bed of new peas, pancetta, and warm shredded romaine. There were four sweet jumbo scallops and plenty of incredibly delicious fresh peas. The pancetta added a wonderful rich flavor throughout the dish.
Desserts were two Grand Marnier scented brioche toasts with homemade chocolate ice cream and two chocolate mousses with pistachio nuts. The mousse was much richer than I've normally had but still not at all heavy.
I got a glass of decent riesling for $6 and the other three shared a bottle of pinot noir from California for around $30.
All in all, it was a great meal. Not everything was perfect--the water was lukewarm, it gets hot in the room because of its size and a few of us were sweating a little, the romaine with the scallops was a nice touch but not essential (at least in my opinion), the chocolate ice cream was melting pretty heavily by the time it made it to the table--but the overall experience was inviting enough to overcome those minor things. I'm attaching the link to the restaurant's site to compare a la carte prices. The menu is pretty accurate except for a few things that weren't offered last night (namely, the steak and the sundae of the day). It's a good thing I don't live in the neighborhood because I'd go there far too often than is good for me, but it's a warm, casually elegant place that serves much better than average food at reasonable prices.
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