Bite 2016: Tabla 

Ian Piamonte

click to enlarge bartlettimage-tabla-----9722.jpg

Photo by Rob Bartlett

When Tabla's owners decided to test the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" maxim by adding Chinese and Thai dishes to their menu and bringing in classically trained chef Ian Piamonte, lovers of Indian cuisine in this city were a bit nonplussed. Even the interior of one this city's best Indian restaurants wasn't immune to a makeover.

But in this case, modernizing brought improvement, even on an already-good thing, and Piamonte, whose stints at Eric Ripert's Westend Bistro in Washington, D.C., and the Ritz-Carlton at Amelia Island garnered him some acclaim, proved just that. His play on aloo tikki chaat – the popular Indian street food snack – is a prime example. The spiced potato croquettes, elegantly nestled atop a bed of chana masala and dabbed with yogurt, mint and tamarind chutneys, are crowned with a mix of onion, fried vermicelli and cilantro for a dish that exemplifies the cuisine's vibrant colors, flavors and textures. Rest easy, fans of Indian fare – with Piamonte on board, Tabla version 2.0 hasn't missed a beat.

5827 Caravan Court, 407-248-9400; $$

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