Since I didn’t get around to writing about Bread Bar last week, I figured I’d combine this into one entry. Apologies again, I have no photos.
Two weeks ago I went to Tabla‘s Bread Bar to celebrate a friend’s birthday and I was taken with it. I’d been dying to try Danny Meyer‘s spin on Indian, but knew I could only afford the Bread Bar section of the restaurant. I split the tandoori flank steak and chicken kori gassi dish with a friend, and we all shared the rosemary and sourdough naan, roti and the chutney sampler. Everything was delicious. I’ve never tasted flank steak so perfectly marinated in my life. The spices were all strong, but they didn’t fight with one another. Instead they blended beautifully and resulted in my most memorable flank steak meal to date.
The chicken curry was delicious, as most curry dishes are in my opinion, but there wasn’t anything that made it stand out from the rest. And while I would have appreciated a slightly larger portion, I’d still get it again. We all agreed that the rosemary naan was the best and most flavorful, but the roti wasn’t really my thing – too thick and hard/crumbly for my liking. The chutney sampler was a great way to try different sauces, and we liked all three.
For dessert I split the sticky date pudding, which was outstanding. Other friends tried the doughnuts with a chocolate dipping sauce, and those were quite tasty as well. The prices were okay for a nicer night out, and we were celebrating, so it didn’t kill me to spend about $50-60 (it’s important to note that we shared two bottles of wine as well). I was so pleased with my dining experience that I was thrilled to find out that the Tabla 10 menu was on Wednesdays, and I immediately made reservations for my birthday dinner.
Last night a couple of friends and I headed back to dine upstairs for the Tabla’s 10 menu, a limited-time only special menu of small plates and drinks all under $10 (think Craft’s Frugal Friday, which by the way is now extended to every day of the week including brunch, with the exception of Tuesday) in honor of its 10th anniversary. When I called to confirm my reservation the night before, I was absolutely thrilled to find out that you could bring two bottles of wine without a corkage fee! After that it was $25. This was just getting better and better.
For three hours we wined and dined and never felt rushed to get out (luckily it wasn’t jam packed either). There were lots of dishes floating around the table, and due to a confusion, we received a free order of the fried chickpeas which were curiously long and branch-like. They tasted okay but I’m glad we didn’t pay for them. I split the nischte (sp?) seabass collar dish in a goan curry sauce (it was bad, way too fishy and only tolerable with rice on the side), the chick peas made with a masala sauce and tamarind (my favorite of the night; I wouldn’t go back without ordering at least one serving of this dish), and the flank steak in a coconut curry sauce (absolutely delicious). The menu changes based on what’s in stock, so there’s no guarantee that these items will be on the menu, but if you can, get the chickpeas and the flank steak, you won’t be sorry.
I also had some rosemary naan with roti, which I had never tried before, and the yogurt-based sauce was surprisingly delectable. Despite loving yogurt and frozen yogurt, I don’t like the cucumber and dill yogurt sauces you’ll typically find with gyros and other Mediterranean food, so I was quite skeptical about the roti. Luckily it was full of delicious flavor, a blend of sweet and savory, and it made every bite of the naan even better. We also liked adding the chick pea mixture on top for a really outstanding bite.
The night ended with a free dessert (thanks to whoever tipped off the waiter), and I was fortunate enough to once again enjoy the sticky date pudding. Others at the table tried the peanut butter tart (two for $5) and the beignets in a pineapple sauce. Everything was pretty well received at the table, including the Portuguese-style spicy pork sausage in a brioche bun and the grilled shrimp in a coriander sauce. In the end we had a bill for about $175 for 8 people…not too bad considering that if we had to pay for drinks, it would have been much more. I loved Bread Bar, but the Tabla’s 10 menu is obviously a better deal, especially with the BYOB aspect. The atmosphere is colorful and fun, the booze are nearly free, and the dishes are cheap…you’d be a fool not to go. And if you’re in the mood for a quick bite, and the Shake Shack line is too long, don’t forget about Tabla’s street cart outside the restaurant (M-F, 11:30 – 3:30).The Basics Name: Bread Bar and Tabla’s 10 Location: 11 Madison Avenue at 25th Street Who to take: Friends, a Date, Family Price: $$-$$$$; depends on where you dine and if you pay for drinks Overall: They’re both 5 Stars, but Tabla has the better deal for now