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#161 Quo Vadis

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 10:23 AM

The recession seems to be making Portland's culinary scene less diverse and more boring -- er, accessible -- every day.


Use it or lose it is key here.
While this always applies it is definitely most glaringly evident during recessions.
If you want to see interesting beverage programs... support them
If you want to see high end service... support it
If you want late night dining options.... support it

We get the dining scene we deserve, what we claim to want but don't back up with our dining dollars we lose.
Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#162 ExtraMSG

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:34 PM

This sounds pretty damn awesome.

Ultimate Cheese Challenge
Sunday, February 26th
Yes, it's time for another amazing cheese event!!!!!

This one is called The Ultimate Cheese Challenge. It will be held at Tabla on February 26th.

We have partnered up with Steve Jones from Cheese Bar to create this unforgettable cheese extravaganza!

These informal 2-hour tasting sessions will feature 36 of Cheese Bar's best cheeses paired with wine, cider and beer. You get to vote on which is the best pairing. Come taste wines from Matello Wine and Teutonic Wine Company, beer from The Commons Brewery and Gigantic Brewing and cider from Bushwhacker Cider and Wandering Aengus Ciderworks.

In addition to amazing cheese and beverages, Fino in Fondo Charcuterie from McMinnville will be offering samples of their salumi.

There will be live music throughout the day, provided by "Stuart Wylen & Jill McArthur" and "The Gentle Surprise and Dave".

There are 4, 2-hour sessions on February 26th; 11-1, 2-4, 5-7 & 8-10.

Cost is $49 and includes 33 Books Co.'s "33 Cheeses" to record your tasting notes.

Place is Tabla Mediterranean Bistro at 200 NE 28th Avenue.

Space is limited!

Go to https://www.boxoffic...event?id=173465 to purchase tickets.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#163 Wavy Navy

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:01 PM

Early Valentine’s dinner at Tabla last night. Perfect place to celebrate with a bottle of Cava and great food.

Apps were roasted parsnips & black kale for my date, mixed greens with citrus for me. Very tasty starts to the meal.

We both had the chestnut cavatelli for our next course. This was the best dish of the evening. Last night, delicious nuggets of veal were in the perfectly done pasta – pure comfort food.

Main course for me was the NY steak with an extremely tasty sofrito. My date enjoyed the Mar y Montana and shared some of the pork and octopus. Lucky me – the octopus was so tender (as were the pork medallions but the octopus was remarkable).

We shared the almond cake (very good) and the flourless chocolate cake (out of this world!) and a glass of Don PX. Service was stellar and the food flawless. Happy Valentines Day!

#164 Jill-O

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:55 AM

Chef Cafiero makes some of the best octopus in town. If he is cooking and it is on tthe menu, order it!
Never give up! Never surrender!

#165 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 01:47 PM

Chef Cafiero makes some of the best octopus in town. If he is cooking and it is on tthe menu, order it!

True. True.
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#166 doglover

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:56 AM

Hadn't been to Tabla in ages. Gotta say the $28 3 course meal is an awesome deal. I loved all 3 courses and portion sizes were good so still had room for dessert! Will certainly return to Tabla again soon.

Sous Vide Egg
Tajarin Pasta (no pic)
Duck Confit
Almond Cake

#167 Jill-O

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 09:24 PM

Had a great meal here tonight. Sue wanted pasta, it was an obvious choice. She started with the sous vide egg which was awesome...the egg, mushrooms, crispy farro, everything...so good. I started with the roasted parsnip and kale salad...such an amazing combo of textures and flavors - soft but earthy parsnips, crispy potato chips, albacore mousse, kale chips and shreds, a fantastic Romesco anchoring it all, and it was gorgeous (I know...where was my new farking camera...sigh).
I had the raviolo that I am addicted to, Sue had the first of two pasta courses - the tajarin. Chef Cafiero upgraded us both with a spoonful of truffle caviar...YUM! They really do make some of the best pasta in town. Sue's second pasta was a capellini with peppers and other yummy things (including, unfortunately for me, cilantro) and she loved it.
I had a hankering for duck and was not disappointed by the confit. It is over wheat berries, which I love, and has smoked raisins...delicious.
Chef Cafiero treated us to yummy bites like crispy pheasant skin, crunchy crack crackers, an amazing yogurt gel with "dirt" and a smoked apple cider sauce, and a scoop of the seriously delicious salted gelato.
A great bottle of wine rounded out this fantastic meal. I appreciate that there are a lot of good choices under $40, and that our server knew his stuff.
He's not a flashy chef with a PR machine behind him, but Anthony Cafiero is a talented and serious chef who loves what he does. I have had so many meals at Tabla over these last 7-8 years and I don't think I have ever been disappointed. Great ingredients, a talented chef who loves his craft, a comfortable space and good service...we are so lucky that Tabla has survived and thrived all these years...if you haven't been in a while, or ever, you should go.
Never give up! Never surrender!

#168 Quo Vadis

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:25 AM

First visit to Tabla last night with my wife.

Very nice spot, slightly upscale atmosphere without being stuffy. The bar is gorgeous and one of the servers took the time to tell me about how it was made.

We had the plate of serrano ham with almond croutons to start, and the chef sent us out some of a house cured ham as well. The house cured one was fantastic. Salty, a little funky. Excellent.

We had also had half portions of pasta. They really excel in the making of fresh pasta here.
We got the tajarin and the capellini.
tajarin was simple, just a bit a truffle butter, a light grating of cheese, and some pepper. The pasta on this was perfectly executed.
The capellini was with a bolognese sauce and was delicious. If I was trying to come up with any criticism of it I would say that with pasta as well made as this such a thin pasta gets a little lost in the rich bolognese. But that would be nitpicky.

They have a thoughtful list of sherries and ports as well. We were poured a gratis sample of an aged sherry to go with our ham.
We opted for cheese to finish and had a couple vintage ports with that.
There is not a vast selection of wine poured by the glass, but what they do have is well selected.
Glad we made it after all these years.
Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#169 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 01:27 AM

First visit to Tabla last night with my wife.

Very nice spot, slightly upscale atmosphere without being stuffy. The bar is gorgeous and one of the servers took the time to tell me about how it was made.

We had the plate of serrano ham with almond croutons to start, and the chef sent us out some of a house cured ham as well. The house cured one was fantastic. Salty, a little funky. Excellent.

We had also had half portions of pasta. They really excel in the making of fresh pasta here.
We got the tajarin and the capellini.
tajarin was simple, just a bit a truffle butter, a light grating of cheese, and some pepper. The pasta on this was perfectly executed.
The capellini was with a bolognese sauce and was delicious. If I was trying to come up with any criticism of it I would say that with pasta as well made as this such a thin pasta gets a little lost in the rich bolognese. But that would be nitpicky.

They have a thoughtful list of sherries and ports as well. We were poured a gratis sample of an aged sherry to go with our ham.
We opted for cheese to finish and had a couple vintage ports with that.
There is not a vast selection of wine poured by the glass, but what they do have is well selected.
Glad we made it after all these years.

OMG! I'm so glad you made it in!!! Anthony, the chef, if my BFF ;-P Wish I'd known you were going. You probably wanted the under-the-radar dinner out, but if he'd known it was you you would have gotten STYLED out with experimental courses that he throws to peeps and trade people.... and the adventurous. Though it's great to hear that you DID get props and grats without "being anybody". That's how they roll! That's my crew!!!! Love them and love you :-)
breakin' the law, breakin' the law!

#170 tdub

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 09:21 AM

Wifey and I finally made it in last night and left kicking our asses for not having come in sooner. I did the three course dinner, which is stunning bargain. Sous Vide Egg appetizer. Perfect egg, all custard-like in a porcini cream and shimeji mushrooms, pasta was squid ink tonnarelli. Great house-made pasta and the pieces of olive oil poached sturgeon were moist and flavorful beyond belief. Mar y Monana for the entree. Once again, perfect. Tender, generous cuts of marinated and grilled octopus and 4 tender, mid rare slices of juicy pork shoulder. Saucing on all dishes was rich, complex and a great marrying of flavors. My wife, who eats like a bird, had Tajarin. Once again, a deceptively simple concept and with flawless execution. The level of innovation and attention to quality here is something to behold. Throw in the impeccable service, great prices and we ended up having the best meal of the year along with the Omakase we had at Tanuki a few weeks ago.

#171 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:11 PM

Wifey and I finally made it in last night and left kicking our asses for not having come in sooner. I did the three course dinner, which is stunning bargain. Sous Vide Egg appetizer. Perfect egg, all custard-like in a porcini cream and shimeji mushrooms, pasta was squid ink tonnarelli. Great house-made pasta and the pieces of olive oil poached sturgeon were moist and flavorful beyond belief. Mar y Monana for the entree. Once again, perfect. Tender, generous cuts of marinated and grilled octopus and 4 tender, mid rare slices of juicy pork shoulder. Saucing on all dishes was rich, complex and a great marrying of flavors. My wife, who eats like a bird, had Tajarin. Once again, a deceptively simple concept and with flawless execution. The level of innovation and attention to quality here is something to behold. Throw in the impeccable service, great prices and we ended up having the best meal of the year along with the Omakase we had at Tanuki a few weeks ago.

Awesome, huh? Can you believe (this may be a rhetorical question) that many Yelpers and other idiots have said things like that this isn't a good deal, or it's "expensive" or that they had to go eat again afterwards because portions weren't enough?!? ????? Crazy!! Having just finished Pollan's book, In Defense of Food, it rings so true that the American portions are insanely oversized. Tabla's 3 courses leave me so full I can't even think about desert. And I'm a big boy! Over 200 pounds, love to eat. But that dinner is nearly too much, and what a deal!!!
breakin' the law, breakin' the law!

#172 tdub

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 12:12 PM

Yep, anyone complaining about prices and portions (3 course or entrees) at Tabla either needs their head examined or are in dire need of a lap-band procedure. I couldn't even look at the dessert menu, which is sad, considering everything we ate there was absolute perfection. And I am an eating machine....

#173 sacman

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 09:48 PM

I went to Tabla tonight with my chief historian, and we had an outstanding meal. Lately, we've been picky about where we eat, so most of our restaurant visits have been superb. This was our first trip to Tabla, and it was every bit as good (or better) as I'd hoped. Actually, it was sublime. Makes me wonder why it's taken so long for us to get down there.

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As soon as we sat down, we were given a small ramekin of warm olives in oil.

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I ordered a "Ludovico's Technique," a cocktail with my favorite gin of all time, Bombay Sapphire. It also included a slice of orange peel, Farigoule (thyme liqueur), Maraschino, Carpano Antica (I think this is a type of vermouth). Delicious and full of citrus flavors.

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She ordered a "Glass Slipper," which is another cocktail with house-infused lemon verbena vodka, cassis, cocchi americano, and sparkling wine. Actually, our cocktails were somewhat similar, but I think I preferred mine - if only because I'm a sucker for herby cocktails. Anyway, both were awesome. I'm all thumbs when it comes to cocktails, so I can appreciate a good mix. These were delicious.

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I ordered the bread service, just to spite my wife (if you're reading my posts for the very first time, she can't eat anything containing gluten). I was served some foccacia and baguette, with salted butter, from Pearl Bakery. Good bread.

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My app was a sous vide egg, served with mushrooms, leeks, and porcini cream. This was absolutely superb. It was beautifully presented, as well. I am pretty sure there were some picked ramps there, too - either that, or the leeks were teensy baby ones that were pickled.

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The texture of the egg yolk was great. I can't do this in a pan - I can get a nice exterior, but the interior is always runny. This was something different; the yolk was not runny, it was like a custard. Just a fabulous combination of flavor and texture. The best thing I've eaten so far in 2012.

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She had the mixed greens, which included some quinoa, olives, citrus slices, and a yogurt dressing. Actually...these were outstanding. Fresh, crisp, and delicious...

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...and each app included a spherification of orange juice. Nice.

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The kitchen sent us out "potato chips with curry." The "chips" were paper-thin crisps, dusted with curry powder. I'm guessing dehydrated potato puree, perhaps? Anyhow, a nice snack.

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For my pasta course, I ordered the most generic pasta I could find on the menu: cappellini with a beef/pork bolognese with shredded parmigiano reggiano. The portion was about the size of my (large) fist - adequate, but not super-generous. The pasta had a nice bite, and the meat sauce was delicious and well-seasoned.

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This is the curried apple + Guinea Hen. It was served with miner's lettuce and sunflower seeds. It's on top of a puree of yellow carrots, with daubs of sultana puree. A fabulous dish, with some wildly contrasting textures.

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The soup was a radish green base, poured tableside. It included a porcini mushroom foam and some pickled alliums. Delicious. If I had to guess, it was built on a chicken stock. But whatever, it was very tasty and utterly smooth.

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We also had a Fever-tree tonic water.

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My main was a beautifully composed course of charred octopus, lamb leg, beets, ajo blanco, and almonds. Something had to have been done to the octopus prior - probably a braise, because it was charred on the outside but superbly tender throughout. The ajo blanco was a thick puree smeared across the plate. Anyhow, taken as a whole, this was again an excellent dish. Flavorful and full of contrasting textures. My wife didn't care for the beets, but I sure did.

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My wife had the steak, werved with rapini, white bean puree, nettles, black olive, and almond licorice. I had a bite of this, and it, like everything else tonight, was excellent. Thank goodness for rapini.

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Yes, we had dessert. This is the olive oil cake with honey gelato. I liked it quite a bit, but if I had to point to a weak spot in the meal, this was it. But what a strong weak spot. My mere criticism: the cake really didn't taste of olive oil. But still good.

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We also got some salted caramel gelato. This was excellent.

I guess I'm entitled to 1 or 2 amazing meals per year. This year, Tabla was our first real hit. I don't want to detract from either Tanuki or Mi Mero Mole, because those have been uniformly awesome in 2012 too - but neither of them are really "event" or "destination"-type places. Tabla is. Because we're jerks at heart, we tried to find real fault with Tabla, and can't. Everything, from the service to the food to the drinks, was spot-on. Outstanding.

The final bill for this meal was about $150. It included all food, two aperitifs, one digestif, two desserts, and a carafe of house red. Not sure it falls into the "steal" category, but it was still an excellent value.

-sacman
- I am an employee of a Portland-based firm that has business relationships with several local food-related businesses.

#174 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:47 PM

Holy rapini Sacman!!! What a freaking insanely awesome report and pics! You're..... not human. How did you take all of this in, and 4 hours later have this detailed report up in all it's glory?
I was hesitant to reply here yet so that people will see your name on he most recently posted and click on it (versus just ol' me again).... but I had to say Thank You for this report. And not because you're giving my boy props, but because this is epic food porn and a genuinely excellent write up.

Cheers!!

PtH

PS: What a deal indeed! Any other place serving this level of craft hand made food, in this quantity, add all the top shelf beverages AND a carafe of wine, would have cost at least a hundred more dollars I'd think. Well, at least $50 more in PDX, IF anyone was doing this.
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#175 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:48 PM

Great chef counter meal last night at Tabla. Similarities to Sacman's cocktail and food pics above. But just a note to say it was really fantastic. A note, we had a different lamb preparation that involved squares of white bean puree and one with a spongy texture that was eucalyptus(!) Great flavors and textures at work here with very little starch involved whatsoever, which is great for my current dietary plan. Textures were derived from tapioca and other stabilizers that aren't gross, and work really well (oh, tapioca is probably starch?), but many things were starch free yet complete in textures, appearances, and flavors.
So I see how Mrs. Sacman was able to enjoy a fabulous multi course experience at Tabla without a grain of gluten in her entire meal.

For those this is an issue for, you should let Anthony and crew show you what they can do at Tabla. Damn..... yumsville
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#176 doglover

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:19 AM

After a great meal a few weeks ago we returned with friends and had another fantastic evening. Tried some different pastas which were all excellent. The lovely Almond cake was off the menu but the new Olive Oil Cake was pretty good.

A few sample shots from Foodspotting:

Olive Oil Cake
Cappellini
Cocoa Cavatelli
Sous Vide Eggs

:wub:

#177 John DePaula

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:46 AM

Another great meal last night at Tabla. They really hit the ball outta the park on every visit. See Sacman's post above - very similar experience for me. Excellent service, food is sublime, portion sizes are just right.

We are so lucky to have Tabla in Portland. Bravo!

ETA: Oh and by the way, the June 3-course meal deal is a steal.
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#178 WAfoodie

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 10:10 AM

First visit to Tabla last night. Was confident (bringing co-foodies to join me at restaurant untried by myself) that food would be good to great thanks to positive reviews by forum members and facilitated by Sacman's recent pics.

And it was great. From start to finish, everything tasted memorable and delicious. The 3 course meals ordered by each of us was a great way to sample a lot of dishes.

The most discriminating person in our group ordered the Mar y Montana. He loved his dish and I think it surprised him that the octopus was so tender. This is the first time he's eaten octopus so it will probably be one by which he'll judge all others.
I ordered the tajarin and duck confit. Like someone said earlier I'm still dreaming about that pasta, the ultra-thin, delicate egg noodles kissed with truffle butter, generously finished with the king of cheeses, parmigiano reggiano. The rich duck confit was beautifully rendered with a crisp exterior. Both dishes tasted so rich and great.
Two co-foodies enjoyed the ricotta and egg ravioli. I'd always seen this procedure made by chefs Chiarello and Batali on TV, but didn't know until the dish arrived that we'd enjoy this also. It wasn't clear to me from the menu description that the chef would create a large ravioli by encircling the egg in a bed of ricotta/chard, then enclosing it in a large pasta envelope. Loved watching the luscious yoke run out as the ravioli was cut.
Another person ordered the flat iron steak and said its texture was like butter.
We ordered bread and dessert. Co-foodie loved the maldon sea salt that finished the butter. Two desserts, the lemon curd and hazelnut mousse were a nice finish to the meal.
Also, thanks to Sacman, co-foodie had to give the nod (or should I say "eye") to the Ludovico cocktail. He enjoyed it so much he had another.
The house was full at first seating and the service was attentive and personable, with each course staged perfectly.
We'll be returning to this destination restaurant.

#179 Quo Vadis

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 01:28 PM

Chef Cafiero leaving Tabla.
That's pretty big news.
Wishing the best for this talented cook and a really great restaurant.
Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#180 Jill-O

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 01:37 PM

Chef Cafiero leaving Tabla.
That's pretty big news.
Wishing the best for this talented cook and a really great restaurant.



Seriously... I hope he starts up something soon, he's too good a chef to lose!

Full story, here via Eater.com: http://pdx.eater.com...bla-kitchen.php
Never give up! Never surrender!