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Great Food with No Fuss

The swank brown room welcomes you with a velvet curtained entranced, long bar and blonde wood walls. The densely placed tables line one wall and offer a full view of the minimalist bar and partially open kitchen.

After a quick perusal of the wine list, we started with a glass of the Salomon Undhof Grüner Veltliner and CL's Pinot Noir, which were presented with the added touch of being poured tableside. Headings on the wine list like Fast & Easy, Speak Unique, Earthy & Animalistic, and Talking Loud & Saying Something are an indication of the playful attitude toward both the food and wine.

Even without nightly specials, our attempt to decide what to feast on was quite difficult. For starters we went with the salmon tartare with avocado, pasilla puree and crème fraiche and torchon of foie gras. I liked the idea of a southwest twist on tartare, but there was a bit too much going on to truly enjoy the flavor of the salmon. I am a foie gras fan and had never tried torchon, a variety of cold, pressed liver pate traditionally served with toast points, jam, and coarse salt. While enjoyable, it was way too decadent for me, especially to start off the meal with. It was like eating butter straight from the stick, something I gave up when I turned six. We were a bit disappointed with the starters, but I will concede that it's probably more of a matter of personal taste.

The entrees, however, were spectacular. I'm still talking about the marinated beef tri-tip. Juicy and full of flavor, the medium rare meat was sliced and served over "hashed brown" potatoes that were perfectly crisp and full of the smoky goodness of bacon fat. A little sautéed spinach added a touch of green. The horseradish crème fraiche drizzled on top and the au jus poured tableside added that just right kick and flourish to an already well-presented dish.

I was hesitant to order the halibut, but I went with our server's suggestion. While the dish confirmed that I am just not a fan of halibut, I was pleasantly surprised. Our first shock came when the fillet was presented in what appeared to be a bowl of soapsuds. My curious nature made me dive in quickly with a spoon. This revealed the pleasant taste of onions and eggs, nothing like soap. The fish was very moist and full of the flavors of spring onions and asparagus, a beautiful balance of fresh and savory.

We finished off our decadent meal with a cheese plate that truly satisfied; really how can you go wrong with cheese, a bit of fruit compote, and candied macadamias? The palate cleansing blackberry soup with citrus sorbet was a perfect finish. The vibrant flavors weren't overly sweet or tart and simply sang on the tongue.

In the spirit of approaching food and wine in a fun way, Tablespoon will be hosting BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) nights the first Monday of each night. A menu developed to pair with one grape will be presented (call ahead to see what varietal will be selected), and guests are encouraged to bring in their own favorite wines to be enjoyed with no corkage fee. Of course, other wines will also be free of corkage on this one night and you are also encouraged to sample a few of Tablespoon's offerings.

Stop by for an exceptional meal in an inviting atmosphere to find out how easy great food can be.