Wine, Dine, Repeat
With locations in Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, and Provincetown, Ten Tables takes being a beloved neighborhood gem seriously, shopping as close to home as they can and supporting local businesses from brewers to artisans to delivery services.
The spot in vibrant JP is in the heart of the unique neighborhood, right on bustling Centre Street and a quick jaunt away for most of the area’s hungry residents. The décor in the bantam bar and adjacent dining room is inviting—exposed brick, funky lanterns, soft candles, and an energetic open kitchen combine for an upscale-casual feel, the kind of place you can feel equally comfortable popping into for a quick bite, or relaxing for a while and relishing your company.
While their regular menu showcases a fluctuating list of traditional, handmade foods made with the freshest ingredients available, we opted to embrace the unknown at one of their Tuesday Wine Dinners—four surprise courses and wine pairings all for $44. Our theme for the evening was wines from Argentina and New Zealand, and neither the menu nor the size of the pours disappointed.
We started the meal with a light salad of Lolla Rossa lettuce, identifiable by its small leaves topped with delicate magenta frills. The toasted pecans added some nice saltiness along with some red onion for crunch, and the whole dish was married together with a light and floral white wine lavender vinaigrette. The starter was paired with 2011 Isabel Sauvignon Blanc from a family-owned vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand, explained our knowledgeable server, providing crispness with an easygoing tropical fruit undertone.
The curried cauliflower soup was next, dressed with a few drizzles of turmeric oil and smelling of nutmeg. The soup was warm and creamy and perfect for the drizzly night, but I felt it could have used a little more salt to round out the flavors. The wine pairing was the 2010 Brancott Pinot Noir, from the same region as the first course: a fruity but less jammy pinot than the Californian varieties, enhanced by spice—which may be why I was looking for a tad more pow from the soup.
Next came the main course, an all-natural culotte steak served with a dollop of maître d’ butter (softened and mixed with herbs and seasonings) over a bed of farro and cubed beets. The whole dish was very well cooked—extremely tender steak, pleasantly chewy farro grains, and firm beets—and was easily the highlight of the meal for me. The third course was paired with 2008 Taltarni Shiraz from Victoria, Australia, which they said was lighter to suit the flavors of the dish and with an earthy finish.
Even with the sensible portion sizes, we were close to bursting when we dutifully picked up our spoons in anticipation of the final course of the night—a moist blood orange butterscotch pudding with currants paired with a small glass of the tawny Penfolds Club Port. Both dessert and drink imparted a big raisin-y flavor and a heavy sweetness …
we were torn as to whether there was too much similarity between the two or if we were just ransacked from too much good food.
My foray into the Tuesday Wine Dinners at Ten Tables in JP was a full-on success, and I would recommend them to anyone. To scope out what’s coming up on a Tuesday around the corner, check out their News page for a list of future themes.
597 CENTRE ST.