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Ten Tables JP

August 18, 2010

Last Wednesday, I found myself out of the usual neighborhoods and into a foreign land…Jamaica Plain. I don’t even know if I could locate JP on a map or provide any information about it, besides that the ice cream shop JP Licks originated here. It has always been a bit of mystery for me, but why would anyone ever want to make it down there to figure it out? Well here is why you should make the trek: TEN TABLES.

I was given the task of deciding what to do for our Wednesday dinner last week, and I began the search with ethnic restaurants in mind- maybe Ethiopian? Brazilian? Peruvian? Many of these options led me straight to JP. Weird. Then I came across Ten Tables- it had the highest reviews out of any restaurant in the area and was praised as one of Boston’s best. Interesting, out in JP?? I did a little googling and found fellow Boston Bloggers reviews and the restaurants homepage. The pictures on Tiny Urban Kitchen of the food and the descriptions had me intrigued and the pictures of the cozy atmosphere on the ten tables website drew me in. I set up an open table account (why didn’t I do this sooner??) and based on the size and popularity of the place, I actually had to provide my credit card number if you cancel you are charged a 25 dollar fee! Must be pretty good then…

We decided to get there early to get a look at the bar and try a cocktail. It took no time at all to get there from my apartment; we ended up being tooo early, so we took a little walk down Centre street. We stumbled upon City Feed and Supply– a smallgrocery store providing local produce, a great organic selection, local and fair trade coffees as well as a nice deli counter with sandwiches, soups and salads. What a great  spot- nothing looked too expensive and the quality looked great; beautiful, local heirloom tomatoes shinning like jewels as soon as you walk in caught my eye especially. There were people browsing through the store and others eating at the counters that wrapped around the front against the windows. I really wish Back Bay had something like this (please don’t say deluca’s), I would love to support local farmers and a local business. We also passed a few of the ethnic restaurants I had previously researched as well as a huge JP Licks. Jamaica Plain pleasantly surprised me- I loved the “neighborhood” feel to it- people out and about, little unique restaurants, and local grocery stores.  I will be coming back for sure, especially since it really is easy to get to.

After our trip down Centre street, we decided to head in to the restaurant. I knew the place was tiny- I mean it was originally called Ten Tables for a reason- but it was REALLY tiny. The bar could fit about 6 people tops, tightly, and was already full. While we waited for our table to be cleared (I mean were still pretty early, I’m surprised we could even be seated then) we saw the most amazing burger served to an older couple at the bar. I nose-ly watched as they cut it in half to reveal a perfectly cooked, juicy burger; a nice crust on the outside and pink in the middle with juice just oozing out, complete with sides of dipping sauces (!!!) and caramelized onions. It smelled delicious and the presentation was simple and beautiful. Though I couldn’t peel my eyes from the burger, a server grabbed our attention and we were seated at a nice little deuce by the window with an amazing view of the open kitchen. The restaurant was dimly lit with twinkling tea lights and was simply decorated; it had a slight masculine feel with the solid, basic neutral colors. It was very cozy and kind of romantic. Ten Tables runs a 3 for $33 special on Wednesdays– three courses for 33 dollars. While the menu is small, it’s a great way to taste a few different things and get a good feel for the food served. Before deciding our three course, we first wanted to pick out a drink. The cocktail menu was creative and interesting to say the least there was a cocktail for everybody and for anybodies taste. I chose the “KK” which is passionfruit, ginger and champagne. He chose the Lemonchilla, cranberry and lemonchello on the rocks. Both were delicious, not too sweet and refreshing. I think we both liked the KK best…anything with champagne is delicious and the ginger gave a nice zing.

Once situated with delicious drinks, we began to make our way through the menu. I chose a wedge salad with homemade crème fraiche buttermilk dressing, pine nuts and local roasted tomatoes (I have been dying to roast my own) and he chose the charcuterie plate with accoutrements. The dressing on the salad could have been eaten alone, just in a spoon- it was tart and rich, yet was still light and fresh on the salad. The roasted tomatoes were unreal- intense tomato flavor and very sweet. The house made pate on the charcuterie platter was amazing when paired with the fennel, Dijon mustard and little baby gerkins- despite all of the additions though, the flavor of the pate still shined through. Our second course was just as delicious I chose the house made English pea and goat cheese ravioli with pea tendrils and dressed with orange, mint and a lemon brown butter sauce. This dish was summer at its best- the pea tendrils provided a nice crunch against the creamy texture of the pasta and the sauce was light and savory. The pork chop was just as good- big flavor with a smoky/spicy jalapeño butter and was accompanied nicely by a fresh corn, bean and ham hock succotash- the salty ham was amazing with the fresh, sweet corn.

Alongside our dessert, we tried two more delicious cocktails, both venturing out a little more. One of the servers helping us (we were helped by everyone in the restaurant, as if they all shared one larger section- we were very well taken cared for) was able to provide a bit more information about the interesting combinations as well as help as chose. After we made our selections though, he then told us its hard for him to pick a favorite as he created the menu and all of them are like his babies. I went with the “Gaston 76” and he had the Lavender Fizz. The Gaston 76 is white lillet (explained as a French aperitif) accompanied by cucumber and tarragon. It was very refreshing and light, I could almost feel my whole body cooling down from the slight citrusy flavor of the white lillet, rounded out by the subtle notes of the cucumber and the anisey flavor of the tarragon. The lavender Fizz was also refreshing and different- the lavender very floral tasting, but sweeter from the blueberries. Our desserts were a perfect end to the meal- A chose the Boca Negro Cake with homemade peppermint ice cream- it was rich and dark, lightened nicely by the peppermint ice cream. I chose the Lemon Blueberry Pastel Vasco With Poppy Seed Ice Cream. The star of this was really the poppy-seed ice cream- it was creamy and rich and tasted perfectly of poppy seeds.

Our experience at Ten Tables was perfect- it brought is out to a different part of town, the food was simple, yet flavorful and delicious, it encouraged us to experiment with a few new drinks, and the setting was amazing; cozy and interesting. I think we will definitely make a trip back to the mysterious land of JP- maybe to sit at the bar though and try one of those burgers….

Side note- last night was Supper Club and it was M‘s turn to cook. She made a feast! We started with shrimp cocktail and then moved on to a butter lettuce, endive, grapefruit and pecorino salad, dressed with a little olive oil and champagne vinaigrette with the main course of fresh lobsters from Marblehead. She then surprised us with a homemade peach cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream. The menu was very summery- not too heavy; very bright and flavorful. I could eat that peach cobbler every night of the week. Ashley is up next and is our last in the “fruit rotation.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2010 11:18 am

    I’m surprised nobody has let you know this yet in the comments here, but your blog entry on Ten Tables was mentioned on Universal Hub (a blog aggregator/comment site for all things local to Boston).

    The commenters are a little surprised that you live in Boston but wrote your entry to sound like you had never heard of this foreign land of JP before. Much of what’s written is a bit tongue-in-cheek (Bostonians can be pretty hard on the naive), but I thought you might want to check out UHub…something else about Boston that you might not have known about. 😉

  2. August 19, 2010 11:52 am

    Or, if like me, you live/work north of the river, you could go to the Cambridge location. 😉 (Here via @tentables on Twitter.)

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