POLL: Tabla Is Closing: Will You Miss It?
- alexvb Sep 30, 2010 03:13 PM
The first Danny Meyer eatery ever to shutter, Tabla is closing at the end of December. Will you miss it? (I've had really mixed experiences there, but I have friends who love it!)
Yes. Even though I didn't go often, all the meals I've had at Tabla had been excellent. Sorry to see Tabla go.
Yes, I'll miss it. Not everything that Floyd Cardoz tried was equally successful, but he was trying to do new, creative things with Indian food. That's to be applauded. I don't see how his food can be considered Americanized in a bad way. His spicing of dishes was generally robust, even if it didn't set your mouth on fire, and the tastes were complex as they are with the best Indian food. In many ways his sort of fusion cooking continued the grand tradition of borrowing and experimentation that's always been a mark of Indian food. Many Bengali sweets are of relatively recent origin, the tandoor is an import (and cooking chicken in it even newer), etc. Ignoring "value" considerations, I thought the food at Tabla tastier than at places such as Nirvana or Chola, and more in keeping with the inventive spirit of Indian food.
FoodDabbler, I respect your passion for Indian cuisine, we have had very different experiences at Tabla. Perhaps my review is unfair as I am referring to its original incarnation and have not sampled the revamp.
At the original Tabla, I ordered the tasting menu and it was truly uninspired, perhaps a dusting of cumin or hint of madras curry to suggest an Indian influence. It wasn't heat that was lacking, it was flavor. Average and overpriced French cuisine.
At the original Bread Bar: limp soggy naan, bland tikka with dry meat and flavorless dal, lacking any heat. I rewarded neither upstairs or down with a return visit.
Indian cuisine is sadly lacking in Manhattan, I no longer rely on Chola and have not been back to Nirvana since your last, lackluster review. Decline seems the norm.
232 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022
And, likewise, I respect your knowledge of multiple cuisines. I can see why you might not have wanted to return to Tabla after the experiences you describe. My own initial experience was different. That was why I went back several times. The food was uneven, I'll admit, but I found it interesting. An account of my last visit there some months ago was posted here:
Yes, Indian food is poorly done in the U.S., and poorly understood by diners and restaurateurs alike. I made some comments on the Boston area boards recently on how what is served as biryani in many Indian restaurants is not proper biryani at all, just some thrown-together medley of rice and meat. People have precise expectations of paella and boeuf bourguignon and mapo tofu. They should hold Indian food, too, to the same standards.
We have been to Tabla about 8 or 9 times and it among our favorite restaurants. We love the space and the food. For us it is a splurge restaurant due to the price but we always feel it is worth it. When I told my wife yesterday that it was closing she said "that's where we are going for my birthday!". Enjoyed the Bread Bar too.
Definitely upset to hear of the closing ...