Having watched one too many films that romanticize the Parisian bistro, the burgundy-colored couches, high ceiling, wooden dividers and lamp-posts of Taratata were certainly inviting. We were a little disappointed to find it totally empty when we arrived at about 8pm, but we were quickly ushered in by a waiter and restaurant manager.
Looking over their impressive wine list, our hunger for French classics overwhelmed us, and we decided to jump straight to appetizers. The casolette escargots ($16) were, as you might imagine, suitably slathered in butter and garlic, but the snails were served shelled and with fresh mushrooms; a deceptively simple but delicious dish. A hefty foie gras terrine followed ($26) served on a heavy marble slab that our server had a little difficulty with. It was smooth and creamy without that overwhelming liver flavor you sometimes get with lesser foie gras.
Up for a little surf and turf for mains, we had medium-rare thick skirt steak with bordelaise sauce, string beans and fries ($32) and roast cod with mustard sauce and a side of saffron rice ($32). The steak, served on a sizzling hot plate, had a distinct, springy texture and it soaked up all the flavors of the red wine sauce. The cod was a different kettle of fish altogether—an explosion of butter, fresh mustard seeds and quality meat that made each bite a delight.
Of course, the crème brûlée ($15) was on our minds throughout the meal and we weren’t left wanting with Taratata’s version of it—a large but shallow dish with just the right amount of lush custard and a perfect crust. It was, however, outshone by the chocolate fondant ($18). A melt-in-your-mouth, rich serving of chocolaty goodness paired with an intriguing lavender ice cream.
The dishes were all presented beautifully, and Taratata’s friendly staff and casual vibes make it a winner, but we did feel a little pinch in our pockets. It has the feel of a place you’d want to visit regularly, but prices in the “special treat” category. Just a matter of finding excuses to celebrate, perhaps.