Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mystery Meet #1: Ten Tables

When I got an invitation from Seth Resler a month ago about the first Mystery Meet, taking place on Tuesday, July 13th I was admittedly hesitant to commit. Just what is this all about and who else gets invited anyways?! But I guess those questions represent the premise of a mystery now don't they? The real deal behind Seth's latest initiative is to gather interested parties to dine at a new Boston restaurant once a month. The secret restaurant location was revealed through a series of hints posted on the website each week:
Hint #1: It's in Cambridge
Hint #2: The owner of this restaurant has more than one dining establishment in the area of Boston
Hint #3: Technically speaking, the name of this Cambridge Restaurant is inaccurate.

I've heard a lot of buzz about Ten Tables since the opening of the original location in Jamaica Plain. I arrived at 5 Craigie Street and descended into the restaurant hidden below a residential complex just as it was nearing the 8:30 reservation time.
The rest of the "mystery" crew of bloggers trickled in around then as well. Our party was a bit larger than the cozy basement space could accommodate at one table. Plus - this place was packed for a Tuesday evening! I was seated at a table for seven with Michelle, her Fiancee Bret, Meghan, Megan, Rachel and Justin. It was pretty cool to actually meet in person the wonderful ladies behind some of the blogs I've followed for months now. 
The original Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain (that actually has ten tables!) has a full liquor bar, unlike the Cambridge location which serves beer and wine only. I was impressed that they still managed to create a cocktail menu.I ordered The Gaston 76 ($9) featuring White Lillet with cucumber and Tarragon on the rocks. The drink received oohs and aahs as it was placed in front of me. Presentation was spot on with three overlapping slices of cucumber and a lemon garnish. Slightly sweet, light and refreshing - it was a perfect blend to wash down all that I was about to consume.Thanks goodness for these amazing rolls. I was ravenous. Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, dipped through a pool of delicious olive oilThe group was participating in a $40 prix fix tasting menu, sans actual menu. (If the dish served is currently on the a la carte menu, actual price is noted.) Is it safe to assume we will be served 3 courses in appetizer-entree-dessert fashion? The mystery continued throughout the course of the evening. Now that I was relaxed and settled into the refined yet homey dining room with my new friends, I embraced this aspect of mystery!Our appetizer. Oh my gosh our appetizer. Prosciutto Americano with Asparagus, Fava Beans, Shaved Pecorino, Walnuts & Black Truffle Vinaigrette ($12).Simply prepared organic ingredients like the small tender bites of asparagus, thinly sliced prosciutto, and the addition of breakfast radish, were taken to the next level when coated in a luxurious drizzle of truffle oil. Topped with sweet candied walnuts and sharp pecorino cheese - a multitude of textures and flavors paired to create a positively brilliant dish. For my entree I was served Cape Cod Bluefish with Yellow Indian Woman Beans, Sugar Snaps, Pea Tendrils & Spicy Spanish Chorizo Sauce ($23).Cape Cod bluefish?! My heart smiled at this mention. Indian Woman Beans? Completely new to me. But how fun do they sound? I was impressed yet again at the variety tastes, textures and colors combined on one plate. The bluefish was cooked perfectly, with the thin layer of crisp skin in tact.The Spanish Chorizo provided a bold, but not-to-intimidating spicy flavor.My eyes widened in shock at the sight of what was delivered next. A second entree?! And an all time favorite protein of mine at that! The waiter noted this was a new special, just recently created. Berkshire pork chop with saffron and chipoltle butter over of a bed of creamed corn.The pork chop was so tender and flavorful, it might be one of the best cooked chops I've ever tasted. And I've ate my fair share of pork. The chipoltle butter added warm spicy flavors and provided a fascinating presentation. The golden corn kernels in a velvety sweet cream that was not to rich for a summer dish nor to light to hold up to the pork, was spot on. I began to feel full mid-dish but cleaned my plate knowing I might never taste pork this good again.I still had room in me for a fourth course, which was obviously going to be dessert. 
But first, a delightful palate cleanser in the form of a Native strawberry coulis with buttermilk sorbet. Around this time Chef Dave Punch, can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in hand, came and visited with our tables for a few minutes. It was clear the chef is passionate about supporting local organic farmers whenever possible. He seemed like a real good guy. I was ecstatic once desserts were served. Placed in front of me was a Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with strawberries in a saba (sweet balsamic) sauce and a candied pistachio topping.
Across from me, Megan was served the signature Chocolate Terrine with Sea Salt & Thai Basil Ice Cream ($8).

We pushed our plates to the center of the table to share and gushed over the new spin Greek yogurt gives to the panna cotta - a longtime favorite dessert of both of ours. The thick rich chocolate terrine with a welcome pop of salt was incredible. We continued to rave about just how much we love basil, and to put it in ice cream is pure genius. We raved right along with the rest of the table, as we finished every last morsel of the luscious indulgent desserts.
Not the prettiest picture to leave you with, such is documenting reality. By the time us public transportation folk walked off our food comas and hopped the train home, it was nearing 11:45. When my head hit the pillow I clocked in at 12:10. It was all worth it for an excellent meal and my first legit Boston blogger meet-up! Ten Tables far and away surpassed my expectations. This cozy and sophisticated neighborhood locale is mindful of a philosophy we can all agree with. Striving to provide seasonal, local, organic, high quality food, Ten Tables succeeds with flying colors (literally, did you see those dishes!?) and comes very highly recommended.
Ten Tables on Urbanspoon

A big thanks to Seth for his successful efforts in gathering us in such a unique and intriguing manner. Can't wait to see where next months Mystery Meet will be held!

18 comments:

Mackenzie {Design Darling} said...

This. Is. SO. Cool.

You lucky duck! Thanks for sharing the adventure — it sounds unbelievable!

Melissa said...

The Mystery Meet is such a cool idea! Also, the food looks amazing.

Lazaro Cooks! said...

I'd be all in for this event. Only problem is I live in Miami. Great photos of a LOT of food.

leah said...

Now that I am a resident of Cambridge, I obviously have to go sometime soon! did you mean to write "for realS" about the corn? It made me laugh. I think from growing up with moms cooking there are a lot of things that are foreign to us like "creamed corn" haha

MelissaNibbles said...

Oh fun! The pork sounds up my alley.
This reminds me of the episode of Anthony Bourdain in Seattle with super secret supper clubs!!

Simply Life said...

oh I need to be a part of this - I've been wanting to try that place for so long!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

It was great to finally meet you! I had a blast and I'm glad we all got to share the T ride home together! Maybe we could do another informal meet up in your neighborhood?

Corinne said...

oooooooooos and aaaaaaaaaaahs a plenty! kristen you really did dine and go to heaven. love the mysterious aspect of the night!

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

What a fun thing to do! The food looks amazing- I must go there! I want that drink too hehe :)

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Sigh, I'm literally salivating- so yum.

Megan said...

I'm so happy I got to meet you at Ten Tables! It was so much fun chatting with you and sharing dessert. I hope we can get together again soon!

shari @ little blue deer said...

Hells yeah! I am SO excited, Daisy! My husband actually found Ten Tables for us, he's a huge foodie, I can't wait to show him your post! Glad to hear they're still keeping it real over there, looks amazing! Fabulous post, I got to relive my meal all over again (in the good way, not the bad!). ;)

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Great pictures, and the event sounds awesome - I just signed up for the email newsletter so I hope I can go to the next one :)

Seth Resler said...

Thanks for the great writeup! I'm so glad you made it out and glad you enjoyed the meal!

Laura S. said...

Awe, I'm really sorry I missed it now. I was out of town but this just made me really excited for the next one. Great idea Seth, I'm still jealous it wasn't mine. PS. Daisy, your blog is really cute.

Melissa said...

Also, thanks for the sweet birthday wishes!

Alycia @ Fit n Fresh said...

Uh way cool! God I wish I lived in Boston. I think that's the ninth time I've said this on your blog lol

Melissa said...

Disappointed I couldn't attend. Hopefully next month!