Monday, July 20, 2009

Dinner With Foodies at Tavolo

It may not be the most elegant location in Boston but when this foodie is in search of new talent he is willing to go anywhere. As if my big birthday this week was not enough cause for celebration, dinner with friends was one notch up. Dinner with friends AND fellow food bloggers was amazing. I don't know what was better, the food or seeing everyone whip out their cameras and notebooks to chronicle it all. Add to this the fact that I was the only male blogger in a room full of rather gorgeous, articulate, talented women and it was absolute sensory overload. In fact, it has taken me days to organize my thoughts on this.

Pam from Cave Cibum was there and, of course, Tina from Carrots 'N Cake, both regulars on the food bloggers circuit of events. Andrea from Belly Glad and Ann from Sock In A Toaster made for the best seating I've had at a dinner event in quite a while. The conversation was just as enjoyable as every modern Italian morsel on our plates.

Just outside the Ashmont Station on the T red line, Tavolo is easy to find. I was immediately ushered into a room filled with the whimsical chalkboard style art of Kiki Ikura and mezza luna lighting. I was so happy to see Chris Lyons, who keeps us on top of all the local dining news, greet me. Before I even sat down a chilled glass of white wine (Inama Soave 2007) was poured for me.

Our first course was watermelon salad with feta, lemon and herbs. This is truly one of our seasonal favorites and the addition of bits of mint and basil made for a complexity that worked well. Although the salad was served at room temperature, I find it best served very well chilled on a warm Summer's night. In any case, the combination is a simple delicacy.

Our next course was the Gnoocchi alla Gricia served with pancetta, pecorino and locally sourced fava beans. The salty flavor was an excellent choice to follow the watermelon salad. The gnocchi was perfectly turned out, neither gummy nor heavy, as is often the case.

Swordfish Involtini. A perfect slice of swordfish with a fontina, garlic and parsley roll up, garnished with tomato and olive. The photo could never do anywhere near justice to the flavor.

Next was roast duck breast with organic faro, local beans and red currant. When I was growing up I had a vegetable garden with a friend at a co-op farm next to our Summer home in Maine. The bush beans we grew would literally be steamed within minutes of picking them and these reminded me of that. I had not had duck in quite a while and it made me want more of the crispy skin and rich, flavorful meat. Again, Chef Maxwell Thomas' choice was absolutely spot on.

The blueberry "Genetti" cake was, again, made with locally-sourced berries and whipped cream. A great dessert to end a great meal.

We were also served side accompaniments of meatballs and fried zucchini, which was so perfectly light and sweet I was determined to find out where it came from. After dinner we had the opportunity to chat with owner Chris Douglass and Chef Maxwell Thomas. Of course, I just had to ask about sources, as usual, and they were both quite proud to say the produce is from The Farm at Long Island. This venture not only supports the sheltered residents but also apparently provides one of the best sources of local produce in Boston, proving once again that locally sourced food is good food. Congratulations Tavolo.

Tavolo Ristorante
1918 Dorchester Avenue
Dorchester, MA

Tavolo on Urbanspoon

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