Table 926 – Elegant Food in a Classy, Casual, and Homey Setting – IN PB!

September 3, 2012

In an unassuming stand-alone cedar sided building, set aback a bit from the bustle of Turquoise Street is a chic new addition to the quaint Baja La Jolla/North PB neighborhood, Table 926, where executive chef and owner Matt Richman has successfully created an exciting, new, and down to earth dining enclave, showcasing local Californian ingredients with Mediterranean and Latino flavors.   As PB residents, we are happy to welcome the upscale addition of table 926 to our bar-drenched locale and are eager to recommend it to visitors of our favorite San Diego beach community.
Based upon the elegance of the food, I had not expected such a welcoming, casual and laid back setting.  Tables on the front patio were packed with boisterous, fun loving groups.  Inside, many couples and families alike settled around the quaint-feeling dining room, warmed by the exposed brick and the wall of illuminated wine bottles.

To start, Chef Richman offered a special appetizer - squash blossoms with puree of yellow Italian peppers from Suzie’s Farm garnished with a remarkably delicious arugula pesto ($12.50).  The buttery crisp tempura hugged the delicate blossoms seamlessly, adding an element of crunch.  While the dish was most delicious, my expectations did get the best of me as the squash blossoms that I’ve come to know and love are usually stuffed with ricotta and herbs.  I was slightly surprised when biting into the airy blossoms, but when dredged through the colorful palette of pesto and puree, my expectations were exceeded and I forgot all about my history with fillings.

The vine ripened tomato gazpacho ($14) was served with a generous heap of flavorful blue crab, cool avocado, micro greens, and drizzled generously with Antara extra virgin olive oil, counterbalancing the acidity of the tomato flawlessly.  My partner exclaimed it to be the very best gazpacho EVER - light, refreshing, and slightly spicy with all the ingredients coming together harmoniously.

MMMMMMMMM….glazed pork cheeks.  For years I refrained from eating pork, but as of late, pork trends have forced me to reconsider – and rightfully so.  Table 926’s pork cheeks are smothered with a guajillo chili and tamarind glaze and set atop braised black and green kale leaves and creamy polenta ($19). Though the greens were a bit unmanageable, and mashed sweet or golden potatoes may have paired better with the protein than polenta, the pork cheeks were delectable, surprisingly lean, melt-in-your-mouth- tender, and packed with amazing flavors.

One of the many specials posted to the chalkboard for the evening (usually about 3-8 special appetizers and/or entrees are featured per night) was the guinea fowl with fresh fava beans, faro cooked risotto-style, and assorted baby heirloom tomatoes drizzled with tart sour cherry sauce ($30).   The skin was crisp, salty, and peppery – just like I like it; the breast was moist; and combined with the flavors of the cherry sauce and the faro, made for a well-balanced, satisfying, and sophisticated dish.

Let it get too melty before snapping the pic!
If you love dessert, you may fall in love with table 926’s pastry chef.  We tried the re-imagined banana split, a playful and utterly delicious concoction of candied, caramelized banana topped with a trio of strawberry, vanilla, and Nutella iced cream, served with an assortment of fun toppings like whipped cream, chocolate sauce, Prosecco-soaked cherries, pistachios, and my favorite, pineapple caramel peanut butter syrup – heavenly!   What a fun, interactive dessert, where you can really experiment and explore with incredible flavors and textures to make yourself the ideal sundae!  Perfect for date night!  The sticky toffee pudding cake, made with mandolin sliced Bahrain yellow dates, was a miraculously moist, light yet flavor-dense cake, artfully plated with vanilla gelato and caramel sauce ($9).  Words simply do not suffice.  The “Oooooh"s and “Ahhh”s of our neighboring table led us to the immediate conclusion that this dessert was a must....and it was. Go and try it for yourself.

How could I have waited this long to mention the beer?! While definitely a wine bar at heart, table 926 boasts a mighty impressive beer selection, especially for a food-focused dining establishment.  We indulged in one of our all time favorites, Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPAs, and thoroughly enjoyed both Alesmith’s Horny Devil and Little Devil.  And let’s just say that we’re glad to live within walking distance.

Be sure to stop in to table 926 for one of their many upcoming events or the “9-2-6” happy hour where there are 9 wines, 2 beers, and 6 apps offered, all under $10.  See ya there!

926 Turquoise St., Pacific Beach
(858) 539-0926

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