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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student


An acquired taste

While dining at Tallent, an upscale restaurant on West Kirkwood Avenue, I'm sad to report the service was the lone bright spot. The well-trained staff helped the customers with their needs, but at the same time, the restaurant broadcasts the message that it doesn't care about the customers' needs or desires (It charges a hefty $6 to split a dish.) Now, I have never worked in a restaurant, but I can't think of anything that would justify charging extra money, let alone $6, for sharing a dish.\nThe diverse menu boasted a wide variety of local ingredients and free- range meat that was fancy for the sake of being fancy. \nTo begin our meal, my companion opted for the sweet corn soup with truffle oil ($7), and I had the two-color gazpacho ($7). \nThe corn soup was wonderful. It was cooked so the sweet corn maintained its integrity. The truffle oil tasted delightfully like truffles, a surprise given the cost of the ingredient. The bacon in the soup was salty and crisp, a nice finishing touch.\nIn comparison, my appetizer was a huge disappointment. Tallent failed to capture the essence of gazpacho. In case you are not familiar with the dish, gazpacho is a cold tomato soup from the Andalusia region of Spain. Everybody makes it differently, but there are two basic varieties -- a thick smooth puree or a hearty chunky soup filled with lots of cucumbers and other vegetables. Tallent served me a thin mixture of yellow and red tomatoes. While it did not taste poorly, it was more like tomato juice than gazpacho. \nFor our main courses, I selected horseradish-crusted tofu in a peppercorn sauce ($17) and my companion had grass-fed organic chicken ($22).\nThe tofu dish was one of the worst concoctions I have ever tasted. The sauce itself tasted nothing like peppercorns. \nThe tofu was firm and nice, but, alas, it was covered in too much horseradish. Horseradish tastes good in moderation, but even a tad too much will clear your sinuses and make your eyes water. My portion went well beyond a tad -- huge globs of the stuff totally overwhelmed my taste buds. By the end of the meal, I was literally in pain from eating so much of the horseradish, and that was after trying to scrape it off the concoction.\nMy companion's chicken was nicely presented. Each bite served up a moist mouthful, but, unfortunately, it completely lacked any taste outside of chicken. Now I don't mind the taste of chicken; I just find it somewhat bland on its own. The rest of the dish, however, was surprisingly good. Served with a tomato tart that was smothered in garlic, creating an interesting combination of sweetness with a little pungent bite, this may have been the best part of the meal. The chicken was also served with slices of squash that were cooked nicely so the squash maintained its integrity instead of becoming mushy.\nIf you go to Tallent, expect to pay at least $60 for appetizers and a meal and don't say I didn't warn you.

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