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Ten Tables - special meal, pretty much flawless

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My girl and I went to Ten Tables for the first time last night after wanting to go for a while. The chef came and ate at the restaurant I work at a month or so ago, my coworkers think highly of the place, and I've noticed the high regard that this board has placed on Ten Tables.

I went into it with pretty high expectations. I was not let down. In fact, our meal exceeded my expectations.

Right after we sat and before we ordered, we were given shot glasses of celery granita. Nice clean celery flavor with an aggressive but pleasing amount of salt. Nice and refreshing on a hot night.

Bread was pretty good, served with extra V.

With our meal, we enjoyed a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc recommended to us by our waiter. I forget the name now - I drank pretty much the while bottle minus half a glass (my girl isn't a big drinker) - but it was a little fruitty, grassy, and very refreshing.

First came a chilled pea soup with pistacios, mint, and a drizzle of olive oil. Nice velvety texture, good pea flavor. Excellent way to start a meal.

Next came a salad of romaine, cucumber, radish, and French feta for my girl, and for me a dish of duck proscuitto, pickled ramps, and a small salad of ramp greens and toasted hazelnuts. My girl's salad was great - wonderful salty feta, good olive oil, and chervil made it a nice salad. The duck proscuitto was special - nice fatty cured breast with ramps presented two ways - the whites pickled and the greens in a mini salad with toasted hazelnuts that were still warm from the oven. Oh yeah.

For entrees, we shared a buttery gnocchi dish with peas, carrots, and shaved parm and the pork tenderloin with romesco and a ragu of chickpeas and favas. The gnocchi were pretty light and fluffy, and the sauce was rich and buttery, with some sauce left over to sop up with a couple peices of bread. The tenderloin was perfectly cooked, tender, and topped with a pretty tasty romesco.

Then, we were sent a palate cleanser of lemon sorbet from the kitchen. Another refreshing treat on a hot night.

For dessert, we ordered the chocolate terrine with thai basil ice cream, and the hazelnut brown butter cake with berry compote and vanilla ice cream. Very nice desserts. The thai basil ice cream with the chocolate terrine was excellent, and the brown butter cake was nice and light.

Service was great - attentive, competent, knowledgable about the food and wine, and very helpful even on a busy Saturday night (although it is Memorial Day weekend - the only reason I had the night off in the first place). I introduced myself to one of the cooks (Josh), and he stopped by the table a couple of times and brought us our sorbet and dessert. Nice guy. The place is tiny - I asked where the bathroom was and was pointed downstairs, where I was able to scope out the full extent of the kitchen. The things they are able to do there in the tiny amount of space they have is impressive. I am sometimes frustrated with the amount of space I have in the kitchen at La Morra, and they have less than half the amount of storage and prep space that we have.

From the point of view of a cook, I am very impressed with Ten Tables. Overall, this was the best meal I've had in the past year or so. I'll be returning there again very soon.

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