Some of my dinners in Portland don’t end as well as they start off. Dinner at Tabla was just such a meal. Strong starters, good wine, weak finishers. Sometimes its actually easy to forget bad appetizers if the entree and desserts are a smash hit. Unfortunately its not so easy to forget when its the other way around.
Salt Roasted Carrot Salad autumn greens and chicories, golden raisins, citrus, pistachio, cantal
So the menu online that night had this same salad, but with beets instead of carrots. What a shame, because beets would have been lovely. That’s not to say that this version was not tasty in its own right. Salad is about anything but lettuce these days and I’m loving it. Bitter, sweet, tangy, salty, juicy, crunchy, toasty, crispy. It’s all in a great salad. This wasn’t the greatest salad, but it was good.
Radicchio Salad belgian endive, apple, sour cream, candied walnuts, bacon powder
This salad was probably not as appealing as the previous salad. I prefer tangy dressings over creamy ones, but each bite of this salad had the smoky flavor of bacon in every bite.
Charcuterie Board selection of cured meats, pickled vegetables, sherry gelee
The waitress explained every part of the charcuterie board but I didn’t get a chance to write any of it down. Let’s just say everything was just as salty and cured as it should be. My only ding was that they expected me to eat all that meat, fat, and salt with just 2 crackers. I did a pretty decent job, but man was I thirsty.
Tabla Ravioli chard, ricotta, poached farm egg, poppy seed butter
A delicate hand made pasta. Flavors were really subtle, maybe too subtle. I needed more salt. Overall it was a nice dish.
Black Pepper Pappardelle beef bolognese, tomato, parmigiano reggiano
I regret playing it so safe ordering this dish. Sometimes I just can’t resist a good bolognese. Pretty solid flavors, but not the best bolognese.
Spanish Seafood Stew sofritto, manila clams, smoked sea scallops, poached albacore, rapini
What a huge disappointment. It was more like a potato stew. Seriously, the seafood was utterly lacking in this dish. The seafood that was there was puny and tasteless. The grilled crusty bread soaked up the light tomato seafood broth nicely. I hungered for protein here.
Cattail Creek Lamb Chop cous cous, curried raisins, almonds, carrots
The lamb chops look a lot tastier than they tasted. They were on the bland side and I pretty disliked everything else about the dish from the cous cous to the raisins. Big disappointment.
Chocolate Spice Cake cinnamon ice cream, gianduja sauce
By this point in the dinner, I was pretty buzzed and despite some of the so-so entrees, pretty happy. I suggested we order 3 desserts for the 4 of us to share. This was probably my least favorite dessert. It was dry and weirdly spicy and chocolately in all the wrong ways. NOT good.
Brown Butter Panna Cotta vanilla caramelized macadamia bark
I totally loved the flavor of the browned butter and deep caramel sweetness. I didn’t like the strange pastey texture. The macadamia bark was a nice touch.
Toasted Whole Wheat Sponge Cake dulce de leche, apple compote, cranberry
Looking back, I don’t know what sounded appealing about this dessert, but it turned out to be my favorite. I loved the toasty lightly sweet cake. It was soft and crunchy at the same time.
Tabla was full of hits and misses, which was surprising given its favorable ratings/reviews on Yelp. I’m sure I’ll come back. They have a great deal going on, 3 course tasting for $25! I think dinner just became pricey because we got 2 bottles of wine. In the end it was all fun, but I can’t say Tabla met all my expectations unfortunately.
200 NE 28th Ave
Portland, OR 97232