Last night, since the weather was ideal for dining al fresco, we stopped at the Bread Bar at Tabla, and ended up ordering the $30.03 restaurant week dinner menu, which includes a choice of one small plate, one large plate, two sides, and dessert, with three selections per course, plus two extra sides that are condiments.
Our small plates were chilled watermelon soup, which sounded too refreshing to pass up. It was mild, but nicely seasoned with fresh ginger and thickened with a bit of buttermilk or yogurt. Others will be more interested in the other two choices, goat and soft-shell crab. Our large plates were tandoori hanger steak, which had a nice savory spice crust and came with a cool mustard-yogurt sauce on the side, and wild striped bass curry, which arrived in a broth flavored with mustard seed, with cherry tomatoes and a couple little red potatoes. The third choice was scallops in a coconut-milk curry.
Sides we had were coconut-cashew rice pilaf, bengain bhartha, and green mango chutney (the other two available were a chickpea dish and apple-walnut raita). The pilaf was easily enough for two, perhaps even three. Bengain bhartha was fairly traditional, but served at room temperature, which worked well for this non-oily version. Nothing was spicy except for the green mango chutney, which was also as sweet as mango chutney usually is. The chutney arrived forst with a complimentary rosemary naan, which was a bit buttery, but did not have any real discernable rosemary flavor. We got one piece for the two of us; this is on the a la carte menu (one piece) for $4.
Dessert was warm chocolate-passionfruit tart with spiced rum ice cream and yogurt panna cotta with dried apricot compote (third choice was ginger creme brulee with rhubarb compote). Panna cotta was cool and refreshing, not overly sweetened. Chocolate tart was rich and fudgy - hard to taste the passionfruit with all the bittersweet chocolate, but there was a passionfruit syrup on the plate as well. My companion substituted orange-cardamom ice cream for the spiced rum, but he ate it up so fast I didn't get to sample it; he thought is was very good. All in all, a satisfying but not remarkable meal that's a good value relative to the prices on the a la carte side, which are served "tapas style," meaning they're meant to be shared and they come when they come. Don't go expecting an Indian dinner, but rather an Indian-ish dinner. It's easy to run up your check here with the excellent house cocktails, if you're so inclined.
The restaurant week dinner menu upstairs at Tabla looked quite promising. Appetizers included mixed seafood in broth and whole roasted quail, and main courses were skate, scallops and duck breast. As at all Danny Meyer's restaurants, we were given $20 gift certificates to use at a future meal. And luckily, this time around, restaurant week is two weeks.
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