More than 75% of Foobooz voters thought Craig LaBan would drop three or more Bells on Talula’s Garden. LaBan himself seems to have expected such a rating. He even reserves hope that it will be the restaurant of the year by the end of December. Now though, it’s too dang precious.
But one nagging factor is still holding this grand new venture back from reaching its natural place in the three-bell realm – an overeager kitchen so caught up in complicating the dishes with flourishes, it has yet to find a consistent groove. If the Table’s seasonal meals seem so effortlessly sublime (though the chef there, Matt Moon, unfortunately just left recently), my early meals at the Garden were so laden with overlabored fuss that they often felt contrived. That magic is still elusive. Undress one or two superfluous elements from each ornate dish, and the essential good cooking here would come into more memorable focus.
Two Bells – Very Good