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Tabule Restaurant & Bar

Chipotle Fettuccini

Thai Baby Back Ribs
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Tabule Restaurant & Bar is a venue of contradictions. Named after the famous Tabule Restaurant in Tijuana, one expects the usual Mexican flare. But just like its counterpart south of the border, Tabule offers fine International Cuisine that goes well and above having traditional Mexican food.

Even though Tabule is only six months old you can tell they already had a faithful base of regulars. The interior is small and intimate with some of the tables almost a bit too close together. The décor was very contemporary with deep tones of brown and orange throughout broken only by the crisp white table clothes. That said it felt pretty non-descript. The earth tones bringing a, well, beige feel to it. No real vibe came from the venue except for the bar. Though small it was elegant and cool. It is made of onyx and was stunning. The backdrop of bottles reaching up to the ceiling was set aglow by a wicked fireplace in the center. We also loved the high backed banquet seats that ran from end to end on each side wall. Sort of made you feel like a king.

Tabule claims fame for its martinis, so we felt compelled to indulge. Why it would have been an insult not too. We sipped happily on a Tamarind and Mango concoctions. Both were indeed flavorful and tasty although the Tamarind was a touch messy and required wet napkins. For starters we enjoyed the Thai Baby Back Ribs (slowly roasted baby back ribs in a Thai chili mango reduction sauce) that were delectably moist with a spicy seasoned flavor. They were dead on perfect. Additionally we tried the Arrachera Tacos (sliced arrachera beef with chopped tomatoes, scallions, cilantro and avocado served with corn tortillas or iceberg lettuce). While the meat was tender it didn’t have a lot of flavor to it and the server neglected to bring the accompanying accruements (lettuce, avocado, and cilantro). Definitely go for the corn tortillas as they were delightful little homemade pleasures. We also feasted on the Caracol Cerviche (skinned sea snails, tomatoes, red onions, ginger, cilantro and avocado) that had a grand texture to it and a reminder that we are near the sea. Clearly made onsite and was extremely refreshing.

After much deliberation over the menu we finally selected the Broiled Chilean Sea Bass (simmered in a garlic butter sauce) and the Chipotle Fettuccini (chicken or shrimp with either alfredo or arrabiata sauce). The sea bass was absolutely superb! The fish was incredibly moist, perfectly cooked and was just swimming in a lovely garlic butter sauce. Paired with an assortment of roasted vegetables it created a fine feast. The pasta dish was generously portioned and the pasta so flavorful it actually tasted like it was infused with seasonings. There could have been a bit more chicken to balance it out but the dish did have a nice kick of spice to it. It was very enjoyable.

Double-Chocolate Cake
Copyright©2009 sandiego.com, Inc.

Trying to avoid desserts we were completely enticed by the mention of a double-chocolate cake. We made the mistake of saying “you can get cake anywhere” which caused a sly smile from our host. We ordered it and we were grateful for their determination. The cake was incredibly moist and beautifully presented. We savored every bite. Like any new restaurant, Tabule has quite a few kinks to work out in service and some of the dishes but when they hit it on the spot, they nail it. Enjoy!

The Good – a truly inspired menu with a myriad of choices and we were told another 18 items are being added shortly.

The Bad – they need a little more training up front as the hostess seated us right next to another patrons table even though there were plenty of more private spots throughout and we had to ask three times for the front door to be closed due to the cold but it never happened.

Details »
  • City: San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-238-0048
  • Name: Tabule Restaurant & Bar
  • Address: 535 Fourth Ave