I was invited to Tiqa for some complementary selections from their new menu. With new chef Gaetano Ascione at the helm of the Pan-Mediterranean restaurant, Tiqa plans only slight changes at first, eventually hoping to come up with a more permanant base menu and then focus on nightly and seasonal specials. These nightly specials are intended to keep the food exciting and interesting no matter how often you pay them a visit.
We started the night with a Prosecco followed by a couple hor d’oeuvres. First was Lamb and Beef Meatballs with za’atar. These were pretty much as you’d expect – tender, moist, and well seasoned. I love za’atar, with it’s well-placed, multifaceted flavors.
Next, we tried Salmon Mousse. Oddly, besides the fish flavor, this very much reminded me of creton (the French pork spread) due to its texture and seasoning. While not always my favorite fish, it was pretty good.
With a pour of red wine, we sat to get started on the meal. We were given a plate of “Surf and Turf” – carpaccio beef, sea urchin, garlic confit, herbed salt. While this took me well out of my ccomfort zone, the beef was ultra tender and the garlic confit incredibly tasty. They were best eaten with urcin and confit rolled into the circular beef and dragged through the salt.
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup made with chickpeas was next. The flavor was mild and moderately salty and the texture slightly gelatinous.
The next piece of the meal was Three Beet Salad – ricotta salata, saffron peach, honey and cidar vinegar dressing. As a lover of beets, this one was excellent. Bites of golden, red, and chioggia were all included. The squares of ricotta were a stellar addition and the dressing was perfect.
After the beets was Ricotta Gnocchi with parmesean crust and simple tomato sauce. We started by using the back of our spoon to break the crust. I was blown away by the gnocchi which had perfect texture and great flavor and the parmesan crust was a decadent housing. Cheese is usually a winner. Crispy cheese is always a winner.
Our final savory course was Berkshire Pork Belly from Snake River Farm (Idaho) – rosted, then grilled and soaked in Maine maple syrup with onion marmalade with pinenuts, raisin, and pear. This was one of the best preparations of pork I’d had in a while – sweet and tender with tons of flavor. The onion marm was a true hit at the table with everyone commenting on its uniqueness.
Our dessert was “Caprese” – mozzarella (actually gelato), tomato (tomato marmalade), and basil (actually mint). It was a delicious finish and the marmalade was particularly stunning.
We finished the meal with pistachio and rose candies and a little chit chat. If the food we had is any indication – and it is, this incarnation of the menu looks to be a winner. Tiqa has consistently put out solid food since it opened, but a new menu and specials will keep it fresh and fun. Note that while these are the types of foods you can expect, some or all will be offered as variations of what was presented here.
Tiqa 327 Commercial St.
Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?
Feel free to email me at email@example.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter. You can also find over 50 articles archived at pppe.bangordailynews.com.