Last week, L and I had a very special dinner at Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain. It’s a cozy (okay, small) space partitioned into a bar/waiting area and the main dining room, which I think really does only have ten tables. The feel of the place is parts rustic, romantic, industrial. Both sections exude a sophisticated warmth absent pretension. For the occasion, L secured us front-row seats for the main attraction:
The open kitchen is tiny, but they clearly make the most of counter, shelf, and under-counter (and other less visible) space. On the night we were there, the three-person team seemed to flow well; the kitchen was focused, diligent, and efficient. Burgers were a really popular menu item, so I may have to come back and try one out. But for this time, we both decided to go with the four-course chef’s tasting. While I love perusing menus, I jumped at the opportunity to sit back and let the kitchen take the reins to my meal. An amuse bouche to kick things off:
First course: a tasting of the charcuterie platter. Charcuterie is always hit or miss for me, and this one I really enjoyed.
Second course: an assertive seafood stew flavored with quatre épices. It was complex but utterly comforting, with tender calamari, hake cooked to perfection, and bitter notes from the surprising (to me), yet very successful, addition of broccoli rabe.
Third course: Moulard duck breast. I probably would have ordered this main course off the menu if I had had to choose — duck and mushrooms are two ingredients that I tend to zero in on. Again, the meat was cooked to impress, not a fraction over medium rare (though perhaps a fraction less). This dish screamed earthy, and I loved the playful touch of the spring onion jam, which we were told was made with vinegar and agave nectar.
L’s dessert: the pistachio semi-freddo, a smooth, creamy concoction, a fluffier, lighter version of ice cream. Arnhems are Dutch sugar cookies.
Surprise! A velvety rich chocolate “terrine” with a funky thai basil ice cream, some sea salt and cocoa nibs. What better way to cap off an evening (and a day, and a quarter decade)?
Ten Tables Jamaica Plain
597 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02130