I had the opportunity to say au revoir but not adieu to both restaurants over the past week, and I suggest you consider doing the same. In a classy move, Chef Barlow has encouraged his kitchen and wait staff to partner up for a series of theme dinners where they collaborate on the menu. Part audition for new gigs and part tribute to Tayst's past (and tastes passed), these meals have been a nice way for diners to thank some of the people who have provided such pleasant experiences and memories over the years. I attended the dinner put on by Tayst sous chef William Gentry and server Scott Carrol. These two have been some of my favorites, and I was looking forward to see what food Chef William would present and the wines that Carrol would pair with them. The menu was spectacular:
turnip slaw, turnip gratin, St. Germain syrup
sweet sauce, sautéed vegetables
Potato Noodle Chicken Dumpling
greens, vegetable consume
Warm Duck Terrine
carrot, herbs, cherry goat yogurt
pancakes, cauliflower, Tennessee cheddar, lamb demiglace
chocolate truffles, strawberry
Chef William's cooking chops are at the height of his talents, and he intends to work as a personal chef after Tayst closes, so you could enjoy his food every night in your own home if you'd like. Carrol matched some excellent wines and ales to the menu, and will be an asset to wherever he lands next. I'll probably follow him! You still have until New Year's Eve to get in your last taste of Tayst, but reservations are filling up fast.
I also made a quick early Friday night stop by Cha Chah to see how they were holding up before their transition to the next big thing. Apparently really well. Since I'm old, we made reservations for 6:15. Lucky us, Cha Chah has an incredible happy hour deal that goes until 6:30 Tuesday through Saturday. All their tapas are half-price, which means that you can build a great meal out of small bites at the ridiculously low price of $2.50 per plate. Coupled with some really nice albarinos and vinha verdes at less than what I usually pay at the liquor store, ($14? for the whole bottle?!) it's a deal that demands you drop by early for an inexpensive light meal, or stay until later and share some of the larger plates. Either way, it's a bargain that you don't want to miss out on before it's gone.
Restaurants come and go, and Tayst and Cha Chah have been neighborhood favorites among many for years. Here's wishing the best of luck to all their employees and thanks for the memories.