Ten Tables, Cambridge-Style
Marc and I bought a condo about a year ago in the lovely town of Arlington Massachusetts. Arlington is a great community, a fun place to live, and will have excellent schools for our one-day children. It’s a great little suburb and it’s nice and close to the city, so you never feel like you’re missing out. We do, however, sometimes miss the beautiful town of Cambridge, which is a) gorgeous in springtime and b) laden with yummy restaurants. We had a gift card to Ten Tables, which we received last year from our realtor, and finally decided to take advantage of it!
Ten Tables first opened in Jamaica Plain, but has recently opened a location in Cambridge. The original Ten Tables was teeny, and guess what? It only had ten tables. Ingenious! The Cambridge location is only a bit bigger, with maybe about 15 tables, and two distinct dining areas. Cambridge Ten Tables is in a garden-level space, and though it lacks any bright and huge windows, it makes up for it by being warm and very homey, with gorgeous camel walls, accented by black moulding and warm rust colored booths. Our table was pretty close to our neighbors’, but it felt very intimate, regardless.
I think that the menu at Ten Tables fluctuates pretty regularly, so I was stalking the website for weeks, checking to see what we would be dining on. I felt ultra-prepared when we got there, and I totally knew what I wanted. Marc, on the other hand, likes to be a little more surprised by restaurant menus, and fluctuated a bit before deciding. I started off with the cod beignets, basically a fish fritter. They were extraordinarily fresh, without being overpowered by the fish. They were served with a Romanesco sauce, which was REALLY delicious, nutty, and almost fragrant. I could have lapped up that sauce, eaten it with a spoon, on just about anything. Marc had salmon rillette, basically a salmon pate served in a wee ramekin, with toast and sides of mustard to spread on the bread. It did not look like my kind of appetizer, but Marc seemed to like it.
For the main course, I opted for the vegetarian dish (sometimes I don’t feel like a big cut of meat), and had homemade cavatelli pasta, which was absolutely delicious–perfectly dense and SO good–served with fresh peas, various spring vegetables (some sort of root vegetable, some sort of leafy green), Pecorino cheese and Maitake mushrooms. There was a light sort of lighter, lemony-cream sauce involved, but it didn’t weigh the dish down at all. I did have to salt it a little, but I was okay with that. Marc had pan-roasted chicken (a breast and a thigh) with fava beans, peas, asparagus and a pilaf that was cooked in morel cream, making it super rich. I tasted the chicken and it was really soft and succulent, and though it was on a bone, it didn’t look like Marc really had to work at it to eat it.
We didn’t have dessert, but I absolutely spied on our neighbors’ dessert selection. They had the coconut creme, three tiny donuts with some crazy sauce and flavor infusion, and “one perfect cheese” — a blue cheese which would have made my dear husband yak up his chicken. I think next time, dessert would definitely be in order, but it is always really hard for me to pass up an appetizer in favor of dessert. I’m much more of a savory gal.
The best part about this restaurant journey (besides the attentive service, the lovely atmosphere and the REALLY good food), is that with our gift card from Laura Chandra (our realtor), we only spent about $20 on dinner! The whole meal, including one glass of wine each, came to $78, and our gift card was $75. So we paid about $3 over on the actual tab, with the rest of the amount going towards the tip. It’s pretty much the only way to fly, though I am sure I can be persuaded to make an investment in my dinner at Ten Tables again!