I was never a huge fan of Tabla, an Indian restaurant, and was wary to return when it added Chinese and Thai dishes along with a spiffier decor. The owner invited me back for a look-see, and I'm a fan now. Several of the dishes are memorable.
To be clear, I tried only a couple of the Chinese or Thai offerings. The restaurant is Indian, first and foremost, and I can only taste (and taste and taste and taste and taste) so much in one sitting. To Executive Chef Ian Piamonte's credit, he didn't do the fusion thing, melding the flavors and techniques of different cuisines together. Instead, he makes dishes true to each country's tables. He says broadening the menu culturally helped with the veto factor; if one person likes Indian cuisine but his dining companion doesn't, both will be willing to visit.
While I may not have been enchanted with Tabla, located in Orlando near Universal Orlando, many in the Indian-American community feel differently. It seems they're drawn not only by the flavors, but also by the modern plating, which you'll see in some photos. Apparently the culinary team is regularly asked to cater big events around the state. In fact, the original chef now handles only catering, while Piamonte, who comes from The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, heads up the restaurant kitchen.
Here are some highlights.
The desserts are mostly American and therefore unthrilling, but their presentations were terrific. Take a look. (Again, the images are right side up in WordPress.)