second visit to tabla. was there well over a year ago, had the tasting menu and felt mixed up about what to think.
last night, passing out the menus, our waiter said, "Thank you for choosing Tabla tonight". Oh, oh ..this is weird, like talking about oneself in the third person. taste of what's to come?
AB: Little cup of mung bean soup. thin, nicely spiced, with fresh cilantro. Highlight of the evening
Breads: white and wholewheat/buckwheat naan with green apple dip. The white was ok, tho I like some fat on mine, the brown one was dry. the dip tasted of granny smiths, and I couldnt make up my mind whether this was interesting or not.
As: Crab cake atop an avocado mixture within a papadum shell. The fish needed more salt but none on table. The tom and avocado base resembled guacamole, and it didnt seem to add much to the crab. I tried a little of the foie gras app and this tasted fine. My cousin who had the octopus app said it was wonderful. Same goes for my friend who had the duck.
Ms: I love lamb, but if I werent writing for other hounds, Id rather suppress the memory of my main. Three cuts of lamb including shoulder and chop, and some offal accompanied by green lentils. This did not work. First, this plate looked a complete mess. Second, this was the least lamb-y lamb Ive tasted in a long time. Third, it was crying out for salt. Fourth, the meat was lukewarm (I think another hound has commented on the low temp of some dishes), except for the shoulder that was piping hot in center and cold on outside. This made me think it was possibly microwaved. Fifth, the lentils had an insipid flavor. Sixth, it looked as though someone had taken a shaker of something like garam masala and dusted the plate with the stuff. simple salt and pepper would have done a better job. Was I glad when my other half finished his veal, and I could offer my plate to him. (On the way out he said, "yours was better than mine". That did make me laugh!) Two other mains: Pork chop and fricassee of vegs, again reportedly very good
Ds: I had lots of space and dived into the vanilla bean kulfi with blood oranges. This was delicious. I tried 2 other desserts: the pineapple lassi solid pudding and a chocolate tart with nuts, both good.
Ws: The only sancerre available didnt have much going for it, and it wasnt cold enough. An Australian 1998 cab sauv, Willow Bend (I think) was good. Sorry, i have a very limited vocab on wine. Reichl loved this restaurant, but her criticism that the wine tumblers do no justice to the wines was spot on.
Service: Call me a snob, but I dont go to restaurants to make friends with the staff, I dont want to be interrupted during conversation and asked where Im from. I dont want to hear about the servers ancestors, and when someone orders saying, "Ill have the chocolate .", I dont want a cheeky response from the waitress, "you will, will you?"
Wines were slow coming to table.
Both our apps and mains were laid in front of the wrong people.
The waiter approached our table with the bill before it was requested and seemed surprised we wanted coffee. A short time later, the waiter re-appeared with the check (still not requested, and we not even lingering) and not knowing who was paying, placed it in front of someone at random, someone we were treating to dinner. It was around 10pm, on a Sunday nightmaybe they wanted to close--but it was still quite busy.
Lighting: needs more.
Conclusion: really dont understand what all the fuss is about.