Talula’s Table: Farmhouse Dinner

21 02 2010

Talula’s Table. A restaurant we thought was far out of reach with its highly sought-after one-year waiting list until we checked the website and noticed a cancellation only 2 months away. We pounced on it and rustled up eight foodie friends to share the experience.

It was an 8-course meal with appetizers. Thank god I saved the menu.

Wellfleet oyster with pastrami spice, plumped mustard seeds, beet gelee, and rye crackers

A slightly weak start, but refreshing and made me curious about what was to come.  Matt loved the gelee, which goes to show how objective food reviewing can be.  It wasn’t the best oyster we’ve had (I’ve not had many; Matt has).

This flaky bun was barely done in the middle and had just come out of the oven. No butter needed. The flavor and texture held its own.

Gratin of Yukon gold potatoes, local creme fraiche, shaved prosciutto, toasted pistachios, and arugula

Holy moly fantabulous gratin. I could eat a dump-truck sized portion and still want more.  Gooey, creamy, salty, and cheesy with fresh and spicy arugula, the flavors and textures were well-balanced. I had saved some of the roll and mopped up every bit of the remnants in the bottom of this dish.

Bread basket, with soft pretzel rolls, brioche, and a few other kinds of bread

I was pretty much full by the time they brought out the basket, and there were 6 courses to go.  Everyone loves a bread basket.  Everyone also loves a bread basket with pretzel rolls.

Maine lobster, fondant of fennel, lobster nage, citrus and ricotta ravioli

The ravioli was actually my favorite part.  The lemon filling somehow managed to be both citrusy light and creamy at the same time.  What an ingenious concept.  The lobster, though, was tender, perfectly cooked, and yummy.

Smoked haddock and pan-fried mussels, crispy potato, chopped braised bacon

There were a lot of different things going on here that made for lovely contrasts: the haddock was rich, smoky, and smooth with the bacon bringing a crunch to the dish and the mussels were rich and briny and soft.  The greens were a nice contrast to the smokiness of the rest of the dish.

Handmade orecchiette, roasted duck with spanish olives, capers, and pepper broth

This was probably my favorite dish.  The rich duck complimented the light and fluffy orecchiette and the capers and the olives made the sauce more interesting.  The dark meat fell apart like pulled pork.

Glazed veal cheeks, horseradish gremolata, tallegio, arancini and garlicky stewed kale

Matt’s favorite.  He wants to eat the veal cheeks in a sandwich every day.  The cheeks, which resembled a poutine in texture, had a condensed and intense flavor and the gremolata had the horseradish, lemon, and parsley, which added a new dimension to the flavor. The arancini was hot and creamy with tellegio melting out of the center.

Little bit stinky, little bit sweet

We can’t remember each cheese, but the flavor combinations worked and the plate was inventive. The small toasted crouton was dipped in the cup of cheese next to it.  Each type of cheese was paired with a “matching” item, such as rosemary, candied walnut, dried cherry, apple slice, and honey.

Rice pudding redone (Carolina gold rice, coconut, nuts, dried fruits, mango sorbet, and rice tuile)

Everything on this plate was good, but I could have had a plate of this rice pudding and been happy.  Matt, a sorbet lover, naturally liked the mango sorbet, as it was sweet, tangy, and fresh.  The rice pudding was loved by all with its creamy texture and semi-sweet flavor.

The amounts of food and the timing of the food was perfect.  We were never looking for the next course, but when it came we were ready to eat.  Each individual dish was superb, but for us, it was more about the whole dining experience.  Sure, the food was good. But instead of trying to compete with food trends and the “next” cuisine, they make good food in a unique setting. Sit at a big table (one of two tables, the other being the chef’s/kitchen table in back) with 9 of your friends. It’s like hiring a private chef to come into your home and prepare a meal for you and your friends, only you don’t have to clean beforehand or pick up after. The company and atmosphere added to the exceptional dining experience. That the food was delicious didn’t hurt. For four hours you are waited on and you can eat and drink and laugh and swear and not have to worry about anything else.

*Please note that this is the February menu–menus change seasonally/monthly.

**Also note that cancellations are noted here. Check frequently to avoid the one-year wait list. (At the time of posting there were no cancellations.)




One response

21 02 2010

!!!!! So amazing you got to share this with so many friends!

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