So this is a long ode to our love affair with JP's little jewel of a restaurant, 10 Tables…
Once again, we had an incredible and memorable meal at 10 Tables last night; easily one of the best we've had in the last year or two. 10 Tables seems to go from height to height: we've been there probably 7 or 8 times or more, and have thoroughly enjoyed each time. But the meal last night was even better than usual.
First off, it was our first time eating at the "chef's table," i.e. the bar overlooking the open kitchen. We therefore got a first-hand look at the hectic yet exceptionally precise cooking. Watching the preparation of each of the evening’s dishes was fun in itself, but it was also impressive to see how fluid and precise (and fast!) each chef was in their work. This has become our favorite seat in the house, and we will ask for it when we return.
Wednesdays are 10 Tables' $29 prix fixe last night: your choice of one app, one entree and one dessert. I've said it before, but $29 for a 3 course meal at 10 Tables is an unbelievable value. To start, we had baby octopus, served on a skewer and grilled until crisp, served over a slightly sweet tomato sauce with roasted kale, and topped with chopped hazelnuts and a few dollops of what I am guessing to be béarnaise. Fantastic. DC had a light salad with strawberries and either feta or chevre (I didn’t try it so don’t know myself.)
There was a slight kerfuffle over our entrees, when they presented us with a ricotta and sorrel ravioli dish which we hadn’t ordered. They gave it to us anyway and I am extremely grateful they did, because we were foolish not to have ordered it. This ravioli was a revelation by way of stuffed pasta. Light, subtly—well, not floral, exactly, but something like that—perfectly al dente pasta, with a bit of tender broccoli rabe—this was one of the best entrees I’ve had at 10 Tables. I hope they keep it in regular rotation.
We then proceeded on to 2 small swordfish medallions served over impossibly delicate spatzle, with a bit of pepper jam; and a very large thick cut pork chop that was the very archetype of pork chop, an instance of the Platonic form of Pork. Appropriately, simply and expertly seared; served with a corn, edamame and wild mushroom succotash. The mushrooms bear special mention: thick, meaty and robust, great complement to the richly sauced succotash. (Don't know my mushrooms well enough to say what kind, alas.)
We ended up with a chocolate terrine with Thai basil ice cream and a bit of sea salt, and a peach shortcake. I tried an early iteration of the chocolate terrine dessert a year or two ago and thought it had too much salt; this time, the level of salt was just right—the contrast helped balance the thick, rich and unctuous terrine. The peach shortcake was fabulous, ripe honey-sweet peaches, a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream, densely textured not too sweet shortcake—a wonderful, summery dessert.
Frankly, I don't know how Krista and her crew do that night after night; it was exhausting just watching them in the time it took us to eat our meal. But since we’ve lived in JP, and despite changes in the kitchen, the quality of the cooking, the value the menu represents (esp. for the prix fixe) have been nothing short of remarkable. I haven’t been to many (most?) of the price-comparable restaurants in the Boston area, and certainly not as regularly, so I suppose it’s not fair to say this; but what the hell. 10 Tables is, in my view, without reservations one of Boston’s very best. Just tremendous.