Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dinner at Tallula!

A few weeks ago, I dined at Tallula Restaurant with a dear friend who lives in the area. Nathan Anda is the chef and my dining companion is well known to him. Chef Nathan and the general manager sent us a bottle of wine they thought we’d like (Tittarelli Bonarda – completely new to me and thoroughly enjoyed). My companion and I decided not to get entrées but, instead, chose from the Amuse Your Mouth menu to start, followed by a salad, and then two appetizers each (in place of the entrée) and dessert.

From the Amuse Your Mouth portion of the menu:
(These are two-biters, designed to share. We split each of these.)
Baby Burger - black truffle butter, red onion marmalade
Risotto Fritter - roasted corn & scallion, romesco sauce
Mahi-Mahi Ceviche - citrus & green onion vinaigrette
Duck Spring Roll - confit leg, chipotle chili, orange gastrique
Steak Tartare - Dijon mustard, capers, Parmesan cheese tuile
Liptaur on Crostini - quark & goat cheese spread, micro salad

It was a hard call to determine which was my favorite but the steak tartare edged out the others for the win. For our beverage with this course, she had a glass of 2004 Santa Barbara Chardonnay and I had the 2003 Kunde Viognier.

Our salad was the Spicy Greens Salad - with pecorino vecchio, truffled acacia honey, pumpkin seed vinaigrette, aged balsamic. The salad was delightful but I fantasized about a plate piled high with the cheese and sauce. Chef Nathan then sent us a treat of a beef tenderloin served with duckfat-fried potatoes and sliced crimini (I think) mushroom with some kind of heavenly reduction.

For our entrée made of appetizers, we both had the tuna tartare. She also had the ravioli and I had the foie gras. The menu description follows.

Tuna Tartare - avocado, cucumber, crispy sweet potato chips, citrus vinaigrette, & spiced pineapple puree
Local Goat Cheese Ravioli - maitake mushrooms, sauteed broccoli rabe, lamb sugo
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras - sweet & sour quince, buckwheat crepe, blackberry syrup

We might not have ordered dessert. The chef just sent it out. I think he knew we were weight watchers and probably wouldn’t order it. With this, we had the Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny Port.

Pear Brûlée - Poached Pears, Ginger Snaps
Sorbet Duo - Pomegranite and grapefruit, Shortbread Cookies

The atmosphere was lovely and I can't wait to go back once they finish the EatBar. The food was beyond exceptional. I've perused menus from my local establishments and they all are lacking. I live in a culinary wasteland.

I long for Tallula where there are 70 wines offered by the glass, where the food is decadent and delicious, where dining is an experience, and where the people who provide it love food and enjoy sharing that love with others.

Allow me to share one final appreciation for Tallula. How can you not love a place that categorizes the wines by the glass in such a creative way? (From their menu)

Tickling Your Nose
' think of the soil' (Earthy Reds)
'Exuberance After the Crush' (Fruity Reds)
'...but your color was seductive' (Medium-Bodied Reds)
'And With a Touch of Spice Turned the Red Face into a Shadow of Delight' (Spicy Reds)
'The Angelic Side of Hedonistic' (Full-Bodied Reds)
'Summer in a Bottle' (Lighter Style Whites & Rosés)
'Spring & Fall in a Glass' (Medium-Bodied Whites & Rosés)
'Wickedly Ponderous' (Full-Bodied Whites & Rosés)

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