Ten Tables

>>  Monday, March 01, 2010

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Seems like lately I keep talking about well known, very popular restaurants that decide to open their second outpost in Cambridge (have I told you yet how much I love living in Cambridge?)  I just heard that Joanne Chang is planning on opening her third Flour Bakery in Cambridge.  Can't wait!!!

But I digress.  Today I'll share with you our first experience dining at Ten Tables.  The original establishment is a  tiny restaurant in Jamaica Plain with only ten tables (thus the name).  It's super popular, super impossible to book, and kind of far away, so I never tried it.

I was really excited when I found out Ten Tables was taking over the old Craigie Street Bistrot space at 5 Craigie Circle (about a 10 minute drive from me on the other side of Harvard Square).  Bryan and I had enjoyed a phenomenal anniversary dinner at Craigie Street Bistrot back in 2007 when Tony Maws was still cooking there, so we have fond memories of that space.

It's pretty hard to land a reservation at this new Ten Tables, even though there are more tables.  We lucked out this past weekend and scored a 7:45pm reservation on a Friday night! Woo hoo!

We went with the Chef's Tasting Menu (4-course), which is a really good value at $40.  You can add a flight of wine for an additional $25.  I've listed the a la carte prices just to demonstrate how good of a value this is.  Here's what we got!
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Knoll Farms Green Garlic and Semolina Soup with Baby Spinach, Five-Minute Egg & Black Truffle Butter $9
This soup had beautiful flavors.   And who doesn't love a gooey egg that, when cracked open, releases yolk all over the soup?  Delicious, perfectly flavored, and utterly enjoyable.
Beans and squid
Braised Squid with White beans and Herbs
This dish was also executed perfectly.  The squid was really soft and tender, not rubbery at all, and it infused a nice briny of-the-sea flavor to the entire dish.  Very good.  Honestly, the portions were rather generous and I was already getting a bit full at this point.
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All Natural Meyer Skirt Steak over Mashed Potatoes and  Spinach Sauteed with Garlic $26
This steak had great flavor and was cooked perfectly medium-rare. It sat over creamy mashed potatoes, garlicky spinach, and some sort of au jus sauce.  This item was not on the regular menu, so the price I've guessed is based on the other steak dishes on the menu. The steak was a bit too salty for me, but I'm pretty sensitive.  Bryan thought it was just fine.
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Palate Cleanser
We got tiny shots of a citrus shake as a palate cleanser.
Thai Basil ice cream chocolate cake
Chocolate Terrine with Sea Salt & Thai Basil Ice Cream $8
This is their signature dessert, and it's very good.  Make sure to eat all the elements together to really experience the full combination (Thai basil, sea salt, and the chocolate terrine).  I love sea salt with chocolate in general, so I very much enjoyed this.
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Sticky Toffee Pudding with Homemade Banana Ice Cream
Bryan got the sticky toffee pudding.  Though I don't really like bananas, I could tell that this ice cream was really good.  The sticky toffee pudding was good as well.  It was funny - I ended up liking my dessert better and Bryan liked his better.  I love it when it works out this way.  Usually his dish is better and then I'm just jealous.  :)
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What you do when a restaurant is just way too dark for pictures.

Thanks Bryan!

Concluding Thoughts
This restaurant really executes and all the dishes were solid - no real misses.  As I mentioned before, the steak was borderline salty for my taste, but over all everything was really good.  I really loved my 5-minute egg soup!

The space is small, and the room can get loud at times.  Even though the lights are dimmed and the food is excellent, I'm not sure if I would take a first date here, as it's a bit loud for conversation at times.  Another note - we were not seated for our 7:45pm reservation until around 8:10.  They were really nice about it and gave us a couple free glasses of champagne to enjoy while waiting.  Nevertheless, this also might not bode too well for a date.  I'll give them some slack, as they are pretty new, probably still ironing out some kinks.

The food is not as exotic or inventive as the food you might find at Garden at the Cellar or Craigie On Main.  Nevertheless, the cooking is excellent, the prices are reasonable, and over all, it's a great place to spend a Friday night.

P.S. I think it's funny how Craigie On Main is no longer on Craigie Steet. And Ten Tables, which is on Craigie Street, no longer has ten tables.

Ten Tables
5 Craigie Circle
Cambridge, MA 02138
Ten Tables on Urbanspoon

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you can contact me at: jen[at]tinyurbankitchen[dot]com
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