First off, big thanks to "sixybeast" whose blog I found through her London report posted here last week. Her blog sidebar on Marin restaurants pointed us to Tabla Cafe in Larkspur.
Second, for those Emporio Rulli fans, according to the website they are soon opening an outpost in the SFO domestic terminal (one already exists in the international terminal). I almost shlepped all my bags over to international early on Monday morning prior to a commuter flight to LA just to grab an espresso but instead I had a cup of blah from Just Desserts.
LUNCH: Tabla Cafe, Larkspur, CA. Marin County
One of my all-time favorite places to eat is Hampton Chutney Co. on Prince between Broadway and Lafayette in Soho. I love the orange blossom iced tea and the special dosas stuffed with fillings like curry chutney chicken and spinach. Tabla promised a similar eating experience but is a helluvalot closer to where we were staying in Tiburon.
We drove right past Tabla the first time; it's stuck in the armpit of a mini-mall in an otherwise quaint Marin town. The restaurant color theme is predominantly saffron and black. The space feels very calm and warm, if a bit temporary, due to lightweight but handsome outdoor patio tables and chairs.
The chutneys arrived first; we got all three: orange-avocado, apple, ginger & onion salsa and pear chutney. The chutney troika was very fresh and flavorful but the pear chutney is particularly sweet and tart and lifts the taste of the dosa to another plane.
We also ordered freshly made drinks that were killer: ginger spritzer with lemonade and an iced black tea with lemonade. I asked for refills on both drinks. The black tea at Tabla is very earthy and smokey. I am not used to tasting fresh citrus underscored by hints of charred twigs, but I enjoyed it. My companion's ginger drink was not obnoxiously pungent, which can happen all too often with ginger drinks. I wished I had ordered a glass of each and could have sipped bottomless refills, but that's the Sizzler girl in me talking.
I also ordered the sweet potato soup with spiced walnut garnish. It was a cozy puree with a good wholesome root base. The spiced walnut garnish was irrelevant, adding little to the dish.
I thought Tabla's chicken salad with shredded greens on papadam was pretty damn average. (Sixybeast raves about it so perhaps I ordered the salad on an off day.)
My companion's scrambled farm eggs with curry spiced potatos and spinach dosa really hit the spot. So much so that we ordered a second dosa: a daily special of lamb sausage with yogurt. It was completely delicious but by that point we were pushing our luck. Even the owner commented on our insatiable appetites. We were less ravenous soon after her comment and we took most of the salad home. I think it's still sitting in the fridge in Marin.
We gorged and it showed -- something like $45+... for lunch!
Tabla Cafe 1167 Magnolia Avenue Larkspur, CA 94939. 415-461-6751
NOTE: The link below is to a Tabla Cafe flickr photoset. There is another photoset from the Emporio Rulli in Larkspur in the same photostream with images of things like espresso affogatos w/ chocolate gelato, fruit gelatina, minipastries n' stuff.