by Gillian Drake
Though it’s only been open for a few years, Ten Tables is fast becoming known as one of the town’s finest restaurants. If you love culinary adventures, this is the place for you—the food is creative and interesting, and the chef obviously enjoys playing with flavors and textures, coming up with combinations which may sound startling at first, but for the most part are wildly successful. On a recent visit, we enjoyed a cold pistachio and garlic soup drizzled with smoked paprika oil, delicious on a hot summer’s evening, and seafood bread pudding, a specialty of the house, which turned out to be a generous square of buttery seafood stuffing redolent of lobster and scallops.
Ten Tables is the brainchild of Krista Kranyak, who opened her first Ten Tables restaurant in 2002 in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston. There really were just 10 tables, and Kranyak was the only waitress for the entire floor. Her love of fine food goes back to when she was 12 and worked at a local farm near her hometown in Connecticut, learning how to grow food, harvest it, and prepare it for the table. She worked at the farm until she was 15 when she got her first restaurant job, and has been in the business ever since, always believing in supporting organic farms and local growers. She is particularly inspired by small European-style restaurants, and her love of travel has enabled her to incorporate many ideas and recipes she’s discovered from around the world into the varied menu. After the success of her first restaurant, she opened another in Cambridge in 2009, and then, in 2010, she purchased the Victorian building that houses the Provincetown Ten Tables and spent the summer renovating it.
Over the years, Kranyak has attracted a loyal following and a good deal of attention, including rave reviews in Food & Wine magazine, GQ, and on the Rachel Ray Show, as well as being a three-time “Best of Boston” winner in Boston Magazine. Kranyak’s vision was to create an intimate, friendly neighborhood eatery focusing on local and organic foods with the highest level of service, and she has succeeded magnificently.
The interior of Ten Tables is what might be called rustic-chic—it’s warm and welcoming, glowing with the light of a multitude of candles in glass holders, a simple but effective design feature which highlights the soft apricot color of the walls. The building is small but the space is used effectively: downstairs is the main dining room, while the quaint upstairs attic area is divided by a massive brick chimney—one side is a dining area, the other side houses the bar. The steep cathedral ceiling and exposed beams create a charming atmosphere, evocative of times gone by, and with lights turned down low and candlelight flickering, it’s a very romantic spot. Skylights over the bar give a magnificent view of the nearby Provincetown Monument, perched on the hill behind, and you can also enjoy this close-up view of the Monument from the delightful outdoor dining terrace.
Executive Chef Eric Cooper comes from the Jamaica Plain restaurant and will be returning there after the Provincetown season is over. He has cooked on every continent in the world, and creates seasonal menus with an international flair using produce from New England farms and local seafood providers. The varied menu includes grilled lobster, halibut, duck, steak, and a smoked pork sandwich, a popular entree, and a wide range of table bites and appetizers includes a lima bean dip, fried oysters with pepper relish, and charcuterie plate of house-made pork terrine and chicken liver pate garnished with a bouquet of crunchy pickles and mustard.
One of my favorite parts of the meal was the finale: chocolate terrine with sea salt and Thai basil ice cream, a modern take on the classic Brownie a la Mode—and my, was it good! This dessert has won Boston’s best iconic dessert in the past, and it’s so popular it’s never been taken off the menu. The first bite was a taste sensation, the combination of creamy ice cream, crunchy salt, and dense chocolate unexpectedly delicious. All in all, dining at Ten Tables is a culinary delight from start to finish.
Ten Tables is located at 133 Bradford St., Provincetown and plans to stay open till Columbus Day weekend. In September, they will offer Burger Monday Madness, with $10.99 burgers, and in the fall, the Sunday Supper Menu will also return, with $30 three-course dinners. For additional information call 508.487.0106 or visit tentables.net.