Located about a 15 minute walk from Harvard Square, tucked away in the basement of an apartment complex on Craigie Circle, Ten Tables greets patrons through its tiny doorway with a warm smile and a cozy, homey atmosphere.
I had been to the one in Jamaica Plain (with actually just 10 tables) about a decade ago. I honestly cannot remember exactly when but I do remember it was very good and I had every intention of trying the Cambridge restaurant when it first opened. Many years later I finally made it with my friend Stacey.
The dimly lit, kind of romantic restaurant was very quiet this past Thursday with only 2-3 tables filled. We got our pick of ‘coupley’ tables so decided on one in the corner towards the front of the restaurant.
I feel our waiter almost had a sixth sense with regards to what our likes would be for wine and immediately started to talk to us about an outstanding Cabernet they had by the glass (a rarity for this wine), so we trusted her instincts with a Lazuli Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. We were right to with its heady dark berry aromas and comforting rich taste.
The menu is limited with just 5 to 6 appetizer and entrées or a chef’s four course tasting ($55). We decided to pick from the main menu and share everything.
Our first dish and sadly not my favorite was the Macoun Apple & Belgium Salad. A shredded mix of overly bitter endive and sour apple. I do know endive is bitter and I love it for that, however, I like it when it is offset by something with a little more vibrancy and flavor and not sour. This was by no means a restaurant issue, this was all me. Stacey on the other hand agreed on its overly bitter taste but loved eating it. Everything for me after that was a double, triple win!
The Tilefish Tartare is sublime with its delicate taste and hints of gorgeous citrus flavors. I loved this appetizer.
For our mains we both picked something and made the decision to swap halfway through our plates. I ordered the Line Caught Local Fish, which was Salmon. Perfectly cooked, this strong tasting fish with its crispy skin is complemented perfectly with ricotta stuffed pasta and a wonderful red pepper coulis.
Stacey picked the Smoked Rohan Duck Breast Duck Sausage, which made me very happy as I am a huge fan of duck and tend to always gravitate towards it on any menu. Beautifully presented, this wonderful dish is striking with an abundance of stand out flavors. Nicely cooked juicy duck breast and crumbly duck sausage work in harmony with the duck yolk ravioli filled with creamy goat cheese.
We enjoyed another glass of wine, while perusing the dessert menu. While we were both quite full, we knew we couldn’t leave without at least trying one thing so we picked their signature dessert, the Chocolate Terrine with Thai Basil Ice Cream. I was honestly, surprised by how much I loved this. The chocolate terrine is really heavy and dense; however, add to that a creamy subtle basil ice cream and salt and you get the perfect combination for dessert with a twist.
Our evening was delicious, unrushed and easy. Our waiter was just the right amount of attentive, although I don’t really like being giving the check before I ask for it. Not a huge deal just an annoying one as how would they know if you need that extra glass of wine, which in fact we did so ordered one to share to end the evening. They bill had to be redone.
I would highly recommend Ten Tables for those of you looking for a Valentine’s Day romantic, cozy evening over candlelight. Alternatively, just go with family or friends and indulge in their fresh and locally grown seasonal ingredients. Either way you will be happy.