Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Favorites, 4.22.11 (A Review of a Wonderful Dining Experience at Ten Tables!)

Happy Friday, blog friends! I have a slightly different twist on my Friday Favorites this week. I'd like to share a recent dining experience Mike and I had at Ten Tables, an excellent restaurant in Jamaica Plain (or, JP, as we who live in Boston call it!). We went there last Friday for our 3-year anniversary (our actual anniversary was on April 13th - lucky 13! :)). Oh my goodness, what a wonderful meal we had. Ten Tables has quickly become a favorite place of mine; hence, it makes it to an edition of Friday Favorites on the blog! If you live in or around Boston, I'd highly recommend making a trip to Ten Tables if you haven't dined there yet. And even if you're not in the Boston area, keep this place on your list in case you ever have the chance to go when you visit our lovely city!

A very unique part of our experience at TT (I'm just going to say TT from now on!) was that we got to sit at the Chef's Table. This is a table (actually, a higher counter) that's right next to the kitchen, allowing you to overlook the kitchen activities as the head chef and others prepare your meal. When you call to make reservations here (and reservations are usually a must because it does only have ten tables and is very popular!), you can request to sit at the Chef's Table if it's available. It was a really neat experience for us and I'd definitely recommend it. The kitchen itself was quite small, and its atmosphere was generally very calm. I mean, it almost has to be calm if you know customers' eyes are on you! I often picture restaurant kitchens as being very busy and "crazy," but this one was not. We had a great time watching our food being prepared and studying how the kitchen works. From our perspective, Friday night's dinner at TT seemed to be going smoothly!

Within a couple minutes of sitting down, our waiter brought over fun little "shot glasses" for us that contained TT's soup of the night. I believe it was a cream of celery soup (it was definitely celery; I don't remember exactly what he said it was). It was out of this world delicious! I thought about requesting a whole bowl of it... :) No really, I did. We were also given yummy rolls to start, and we each ordered a glass of wine. I had a wine that was actually on tap! How fun. I've never been to place with wine on tap. My wine was delicious too. It was a light, crisp, and fruity Riesling (of course, I can't remember the actual name of it).

Because we were out for a special occasion at a new restaurant we'd really been wanting to try, we decided to order an appetizer. We had their "house made charcuterie with traditional accoutrements." I don't remember exactly what was included, but I do know there was a pate of some sort, a few slices of cured sausage (I think), some pickled vegetables (which were much better than I anticipated! I typically don't care for vinegar flavor generally), and a few slices of a toasted baguette-type bread. We enjoyed everything served on the appetizer plate (actually, it was a "board," a nice wooden cutting board type serving platter). However, I do have to say that the portions were a little on the small side for the price... But still, it was certainly a decent choice for an appetizer. It wasn't something I'd normally order, so it was fun to branch out!

Now, onto our entrees... You can view the TT menu here. Several delicious options! I had heard that the bass was an excellent choice, so I went with that: "striped bass with chick peas, cauliflower, escarole and seville orange vinaigrette." Fabulous! The bass was cooked wonderfully (it was seared), and I loved the bed of chick peas, cauliflower, and escarole upon which it was served. I ate every bite! Mike really enjoyed his entree too, which was the "moulard duck breast with red rice, shiitake mushrooms and spring onion jam." Mmmm. I had a bite of his too; mouth-watering delicious! By the way, sadly I did not take pictures of our appetizer or entrees. I felt too "touristy" doing that! However, as you can see below, I got over the anxiety of being "that person" who takes pictures of their meal when it came time for dessert...

Finally, our last course! At this point, we were full but not overly full. The proportions of our dinners were just perfect. In the words of Goldilocks, they were "juuuust right." :) Clearly I was quite excited about trying dessert since I'm such a fan of baking, so we just had to order two desserts to share, not only one! We chose the chocolate terrine cake with thai basil ice cream and malden salt AND the olive oil cake with rosemary ice cream and pinenut brittle. Wow. Both of these desserts were so amazing!

I really really liked my dinner, but I think that dessert was my favorite course overall! You may be thinking that the flavors of basil and rosemary are a little odd for ice cream, and at first, I'd agree with you. But when you try them, they wow you! Seriously. Both were very light, refreshing, and simply delicious. The rosemary flavor was more prominent as compared to the basil flavor, which was more subtle. Both flavors of ice cream were so unique!

And I won't forget to talk about the cakes, don't you worry. Similarly to when I tasted the ice creams, I was pleasantly surprised by the olive oil cake. You could definitely taste the olive oil, and I loved it! Such a difference from the typical cake flavors we normally enjoy. The chocolate terrine cake was deeelicious too. It was dense and almost fudge-like, yet had a nice cake texture at the same time. As I am typing, I find myself wanting to go back for more desserts ASAP!! I'm so glad we got two desserts to share. :)

As you can tell, we loved our first experience at TT! Want to hear something ironic? We went back to TT again the next Monday! Monday night is their "BEERger" night, when they offer a special of their signature TT burger and their TT Porter beer, brewed by Berkshire Brewing Co. in Massachusetts. The burger and beer together are just $16! Normally we wouldn't go out to eat this often (and not at the same place within four days!), but we had such a positive experience on Friday night and it was Mike's school vacation we thought we should "live it up." Once again, TT did not disappoint! The burger was amazingly delicious. It was a tad on the messy side, but we didn't mind because the flavors were soooo good. Here's the description of the burger on the menu: "humanely raised all natural meyer beef with lettuce, farmhouse cheddar, caramelized onions, A10 sauce, housemade bacon aioli, and potato salad." Wonderful! I feel like a broken record saying this, but I'd definitely recommend going to TT for the burger! The bacon aioli was out of this world. And the side of potato salad was great as well; I typically don't care for side salads like that with mayonnaise, but their potato salad was awesome! Can you tell I like this place? ;-) Oh, and the porter was a very tasty beer as well; it tasted slightly smokey to me, but I think that was a great characteristic of the porter and helped it match well with the flavors of the burger. A great pair, that porter and beer! The picture below is of a great pair too. :) Happy anniversary, Mike!

I hope you've enjoyed my informal review of Ten Tables in JP! I didn't mention it earlier, but the service was great too! Every server with whom we interacted was very friendly and attentive. Did you know there are locations in Cambridge and Provincetown as well? I've heard through the grapevine that the JP location is the best, and although I've never tried the other two to compare, with these two positively delicious experiences we recently had, I'd gladly jump on board and say the JP restaurant is the best! It's "just perfect" in JP. :)


  1. Next time i'm in Boston, this restaurant and I have a date with destiny! Sounds delicious! I can't believed I lived there for four years and have never heard of it!

  2. I think you will love it, Joanne! Congrats on the Boston marathon, by the way :) Love reading your awesome blog!

  3. Colleen;

    I'm a very close friend of Sean who is the head chef and have passed on your review to he and his wife Erin. I'm so glad to have read what you have to say about your anniversary dinner and I know he'll be extremely flattered as well!

    Aaron in JP

  4. Hi Aaron! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. We really had a fabulous experience for our anniversary dinner, and we're so glad to have finally made it to Ten Tables. It will definitely become a "regular" in the restaurants we go to!! :)