Tallented Chef

Westons_in_bton_024

I am not great
at taking pictures in restaurants. For
one thing, the lighting is usually poor and I rarely bring my good camera with
me so there is lots of camera shake. Probably more damaging, though, I am so interested in each new course
that appears that I have dug my fork into it and spoiled the effect before I
remember that I meant to preserve it. My
usual response is, “oh, well,” mumbled with my mouth full, but on the occasion
of my latest memorable meal I really wish I’d done a better job so I could
share it here.

Friends of ours
who had met Dave and Krissy Tallent at the Salone del Gusto in October came to
visit last week, and we headed out to a much anticipated dinner at Restaurant
Tallent. Leaving things in Chef Dave’s hands is always smart, so we ordered the
market tasting menu and let him do his thing.

It was
sensational, as always. We started with
Sweet Potato Bisque, garnished with pickled rock shrimp (really a great
combination of sweet, earthy soup touched with the brine of the sea), and
followed it with Trenne Pasta Puttanesca – fat trenne pasta seared on one side
to a fabulous chewy, crunchy texture. I
always love Tallent’s trenne, but this version was amazing – tossed with a
classic Puttanesca sauce, and surrounded by mussels and clams.

We thought we
were expecting stuffed trout next, but before it made an appearance Dave sent
out a huge platter of frites with a truffle cream dipping sauce. There is nothing I like better than the
frites at Tallent, and normally I beg a side of béarnaise sauce to go with
them, but this truffle cream, I’m telling you, was superb. I could have happily eaten nothing else all
night long.

But naturally,
Dave wasn’t going to let that happen. Here came the trout, stuffed with crab and served over andouille and
white cheddar polenta, with sweet and sour beet greens and sage brown
butter. The beet greens were just like
candy, one of my favorite things of the night.

Then Indiana Elk
Loin, with pineapple date chutney, winter squash barlotto, and lamb bacon
braised Brussels sprouts – the rich meat a stunning contrast with the sweet
fruit and squash and the slight bitter edge of the sprouts.

They slipped a
cheese course in before dessert — 3 Sisters Serena Cow’s Milk Cheese, with
some drop dead wonderful endive and balsamic marmalade and toasted pine nuts –
but dessert, when it came, was a feast in itself. A miniature bourbon caramel shake –inches
high with a tiny straw – coconut espresso sorbet, as creamy as ice cream, and
buttermilk doughnuts. Krissy Tallent’s
desserts are always spectacular but this was one of the best.

I know that lots
of people who read this blog don’t live in Indiana and can’t just rush out to have a
wonderful dinner at Tallent, but oh, boy, do I wish you could.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. braingirl says:

    Oh!! I haven’t been to their new place yet but I’m dying to see it! Let’s definitely schedule a meal soon. Love love love the Tallents! (I still can’t stop thinking about the churros we had the last time we were down there.)

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  2. Lydia says:

    Oh boy, I wish I could go there for dinner, too! Those frites look amazing.

    Like

  3. Renee — absolutely. Let’s plan on it. The food seems to taste even better in the new place.
    Lydia — it’s worth the trip from wherever you are. The frites are truly amazing. Why is it so hard to get good fries these days?

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  4. Oh, my! Frites with truffle-cream dipping sauce? Yum! I don’t reckon I’ll be heading to Indiana in the near future, but my mom goes there twice a year to hang out with some fellow female priests. I’ll forward this along to her– I know she’d love to try the Tallent’s food.

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  5. Watching Dave Tallent’s talent through the window to the kitchen is like watching a painter at his easel. True artistry! Thank you Christi and Jerry for introducing us to Dave and Krissy and for your tutelage into the wonderful world of food.
    Ronnie and Evan

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  6. Kevin says:

    Wow.
    Oh, wow!
    Sorry, I can’t say anything else because I have to go back and re-read that again (and wipe the drool from my chin). Don’t bother me, I’m busy!

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  7. Lisa — your mom will love Tallent. If she wants other recs, have her email me.
    Ronnie and Ev — it’s been our pleasure.
    Kevin — don’t apologise. That’s kind of how I feel about it too.

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  8. MeltingWok says:

    I know what you mean, if I’m lucky I get 2 good pix/week, taken before 2pm haha, otherwise, the food’s good, that’s all that matters, cheers !:) ooh..love those frites, I did mine with shrimps for super bowl :))

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