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Reservation at Tallula's in Arlington

c
cabster Nov 15, 2007 11:18 AM

I just tried to make a reservation for four people at Tallula's on December 15 in the 6-7:00 range and it was totally full. Does anyone know if this is typical for a Saturday night? I had figured that making a reservation a month ahead of time should work. I tried to make the reservation using "Open Table." Any comments?

  1. e
    enfant_gatée Nov 30, 2007 06:45 AM

    Why Tallula? I was there last night and the food was really mediocre. I wanted a casual dining experience from "Eat Bar," but the crowd and noise caused me to venture to the dining room, which was pleasantly and simply decorated but COLD temperature-wise. As for food, I ordered from the "Amuse Yourself" menu, which frankly did NOT amuse me. My date and I ordered the Baby Burger, Halibut Ceviche, Duck Mezzaluna, Steak Tartare, and Venison Meat Pie. Of the above, only the baby burger was decent but the bun was twice as big as the actual burger. The halibut in the ceviche was indiscernible as it was drowned in lime juice. The Duck was decent but I wouldn't have crossed the road for the bird; and the steak tartare was crudely chopped and just as quickly dismissed by my date. The Venison pie was also nothing to linger on. I kept thinking to myself, "Well, if only the two-biters were larger, I might have a bigger impression." Easy come and just as easily forgotten. Did I mention that my date ordered THREE different beers off the extensive list which were not stocked? One of them was guinness! The waiter was embarrassed and offered the FOURTH selection free of charge but that did not excuse the almost half-hour wait for our first set of "NOT-amusing" two-biters! Also, we ordered a cheese that came highly-recommended and flaunted the name "Constant Bliss." Well, the cheese was literally about the size of my chapstick which stayed on my lips longer than the morsel in front of me, obscured by the PLATE! My date and I were both thinking, "Are you KIDDING? That is the SMALLEST piece of cheese EVER!" I mean, if we had died and gone to heaven, I hope "constant bliss" is NOT this. Ok. One good thing about the place. My wine was fine at $9 a glass with the lovely presentation of pouring the wine from a small flask into a large wine goblet but people PLEASE, can I get some more CHEESE? In sum, if you aim to impress your friends and stimulate your senses, this is NOT the place.

    3 Replies
    1. re: enfant_gatée
      d
      DC Taco Nov 30, 2007 11:04 AM

      I have had some very good dinners at Tallula. I think it fits a nice niche in N.VA because it is relatively casual, not absurdly expensive, generally easy to get into and they almost always have a creative dish or two. For example, there aren't too many casual restaurants in N.VA that serve Foie Gras appetizers and braised pork cheek entrees. I have enjoyed their short ribs and hangar steak, as well. Their selection of wines by the glass is remarkable and the mixed drinks are good. My wife and I had the Constant Bliss cheese at Eat Bar a few weeks ago and the portion size was substantial.

      I would agree that the items on the "Amuse Yourself" menu are usually unimpressive and, in some cases, poor. I have had good ceviche, but the corn dog and risotto fritter were disappointing. There are a lot of great restaurants in DC now, but I would urge you to give Tallula another chance.

      1. re: DC Taco
        ktmoomau Nov 30, 2007 12:26 PM

        I really like Tallula for what it is and EatBar, they have some hits and misses from time to time (the beet risotto this summer for instance was a miss) and I really like a few of their amuse yourselfs, I like the venison, but I really love venison and miss getting it like I did back home, I like the burger and their burgers were actually rated very highly by the Washington Post (although I really dislike their onion rings), and I like the crab pot sticker they used to have a few others I really liked like the empanada, but they aren't on the menu maybe the rotate at the bar I know they have more small plates in there.

        I like that they make homemade sausages, and I love their short ribs and BF loves the amish chicken (although I don't know why places call some chicken amish chicken, real amish chicken is just a home raised, home butchered chicken that they roast not with foie gras or truffles for sure nothing really special although the butchering of multiple chicken in a day can be quite disturbing when you are young). And I think they have a very good selection of well priced wine, and mixed drinks on the menu I love the pop rock rimmed drink.

        I wouldn't really go for a whole meal of amuse yourselfs I think they are best as an appetizer, but sometimes they have some really good ones.

        And I have to give Kudos to EatBar for playing Rocky Horror picture show pre-Halloween weekend that was a lot of fun.

        Plus they normally have excellent dessert, and sometimes have really creative desserts which I think the area is really lacking in.

      2. re: enfant_gatée
        e
        Ericandblueboy Jul 28, 2008 06:50 AM

        Went to Tallula last night for the first time. A good selection of English beer was available on draft. I had Boddington's and two different ales. I started with 4 "amuses" - burger, crab potsticker, duck confit and corn dog. The burger was a tad small but it was well seasoned and cooked medium (comes with lots of sauteed onions). The crab potsticker is really a crab rangoon because it was deep fried in a wonton wrapper. The crab meat tasted fishy and there's nothing to recommend about this dish. The duck mezzaluna had no flavor. I can't knock the corndog since it was nice and crispy on the outside and the chorizo fat and juicy on the inside. My next course was the foie gras pound cake, strawberry preserves, quail egg. The foie gras was seared and served with the quail egg on top. The strawberry cake was thankfully off to the side. They did not skimp on the foie gras so this certainly is worth ordering for foie gras enthusiasts. I finished off with pork belly confit, fava beans, guanciale, morels, amish egg. Again, the egg sat on top of the pork belly, with the veggies off to the side. In this case, it was the veggies that were tasty. The pork belly was salty and a bit dry. I've had alot of pork bellies lately from the likes of CityZen and the Source. I think Tallula is comparable to Liberty Tavern.

      3. k
        kate used to be 50 Nov 15, 2007 12:21 PM

        Does anyone know if they are open Christmas for dinner?

        1 Reply
        1. re: kate used to be 50
          c
          cabster Nov 15, 2007 12:34 PM

          I agree with you all. I'll call the restaurant and see about available tables. Actually I think I'd just as soon go to EatBar. I assume you can't make reservations there, right? Thanks again to everyone for the feedback.

        2. ktmoomau Nov 15, 2007 12:19 PM

          Yeah I would call, another thought if it isn't opentable it could be a large christmas party taking up the place, but I think they normally use their back room for those. Either way if you can't get into Tallula just go to EatBar next door, they have the small bites on Tallula's menu and their entrees are very good too, from the same kitchen just a little more casual. I really like that bar area.

          1. m
            MrsWheatie Nov 15, 2007 12:09 PM

            I have found that resturants only allot a certain number of Open Table rezzies. If you call the resturant they may have other non Open Table seats available.

            1. j
              jaydreb Nov 15, 2007 12:04 PM

              Seems odd. I know that Tallula only allots a small number of tables for reservations and leaves the rest for walk-ins, but I usually can get a Sat. night reservation with a week's notice.

              I would call the restaurant to see what's up.

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