My husband and I were in Bloomington this weekend to celebrate our nephew's high-school graduation. We had the good fortune to have dinner at Restaurant Tallent--in all honesty, I don't believe I have ever had such an exquisite meal. From start to finish, the food and the service were impeccable.
For our first course, we ordered an oyster trio and softshell crab. The waitress' description of these dishes had our mouths watering, and when they arrived I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. The oysters were served raw in a mignonette, poached with a red pepper tapenade, and tempura-fried with a pickled jalapeno sauce (my favorite). The crab was served with a quinoa salad and fried green tomatoes, then drizzled with a lemon-oregano butter sauce which I would have literally licked clean off the plate if I hadn't been sitting with my in-laws!
For my main course, I had halibut with baby vegetables and an orange and fennel broth. This was the most amazing piece of fish I have ever eaten. The flesh was so delicate, but the outside of the fish had a slightly crisp texture. My husband's grouper was also phenomenal, served atop a shrimp and house-made tasso jambalya. I also had a few bites of my mother-in-law's spring vegetable orzo, which was rich and delicious with perfectly cooked pieces of asparagus.
For dessert, we ordered the coconut tart and the banana split. The banana split was wonderful: a rich brownie with nuts topped with cooked bananas and banana ice cream, but I cannot express the feeling of sheer decadence I encountered with each bite of that coconut tart. The coconut cream filling was perfectly subtle, served in a macadamia nut shell, then drizzled with a rich chocolate sauce. We were even provided a milk pitcher with extra chocolate sauce, for which I assume our waitress was responsible.
Our waitress--I believe her name is Carol, but my husband insists it was Carla--was so sweet and spot-on with every description and suggestion. My father-in-law is quite a bear and normally has people shaking in their shoes, but with every flash of her beautiful smile and big brown eyes, Carol/Carla slowly worked him into putty. It was amazing; even my husband was stunned.
I would recommend to anyone who is with a 100 mile radius of Bloomington, Indiana to make an effort to visit this restaurant. Bloomington's a charming place on it's own, but Tallent makes it a destination!
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