Misson Table Tasting Menu

I’m bit delayed in this meal report!! Mission Table proved to be an excellent choice and despite a little confusion with our reservation (uh, they lost it) we were seated promptly and they wished Jake a happy birthday.  We selected this restaurant both for its excellent reviews and its philosophy–they are dedicated as much as possible to local agriculture and products, showcasing area farms and wineries and proving that food doesn’t have to come from far away to be good. That said, the scallops were delicious! 

In reading the menu we struggled to select two appetizers and two entrees and when we heard that the specials included a stuffed squash blossom (didn’t I just lament that we don’t do this in the States?) and seared tuna rolled in cumin we were really stumped. The solution? The 5 course tasting menu plus the two special apps for our on 6 course meal! And wine pairings too… 

The Specials: 

Seared Tuna and Stuffed Squash Blossoms, Mission Table


Both were outstanding. I’m love cumin, so much so that I think I would marry it and become Mrs. Cumin if only it would spring to life, buy my a ring and ask! The balance between the tuna and the coating was even; and the tiny bit of wasabi mayo on the side was not overpowering. The squash blossoms were stuffed with goat cheese, rather than the ricotta we had in Italy; they would never have held up to deep-frying, but warm and melty was equally as good! Seriously, why don’t we do more of this? It’s not like you zucchini planters don’t have enough, I’ve never heard the sentence “I just didn’t plant enough zucchini this year.” 

First Course: 

Pork Belly with Kale, Mission Table

Pork Belly with Kale, Mission Table

Who eats kale? I do!! I know that typically its a fluffy green garnish, but when its been sautéed and coated in oil and pork fat it’s positively heavenly. The pork belly was also very good, I would like a better sear on my fatty belly, but I certainly ate all of it! This dish was paired with a beer rather than a wine: Bam Biere, made in the brewpub next door, the Jolly Pumpkin. Pork and beer…mmmm. 

Second Course: 

Pan Seared Scallop with Fennel, Mission Table

Pan Seared Scallop with Fennel, Mission Table

If you cook a scallop correctly you can pretty much count an a positive review. This was cooked perfectly. Seared on the outside, just the right amount of done in the middle, no rubberiness, and very good flavor. That I like fennel always suprises me because I hate licorice. Jake reminds me all the time that this makes no sense, but cooked fennel has such a mild flavor and when paired with other foods the black licorice thing just goes away for me. I suppose I’m willing to trust the chef to pair things well, and this dish worked. Unfortunately, the wine didn’t really work with it. It was paired with a Pinot Gris that was much much too sweet for the dish. Not a bad wine, but not a good match either. 

Third Course: 

Arugula Salad with Candied Nuts and Champagne Vinaigrette, Mission Table

Arugula Salad with Candied Nuts and Champagne Vinaigrette, Mission Table

Will it be enough if I tell you that Jake said this was the best salad he’s ever eaten. He eats a lot of salad, mostly because I make him, but he likes salad too. This is saying a lot. I agreed, it was an excellent salad. Probably the kind that ends up in those reviews of food that sound healthy but turn out to thousands of calories and three days worth of fats, but who doesn’t like a candied pecans? This was paired with a semi–dry riesling that was an excellent match and good enough to consider buying a bottle (of Michigan wine, I know!!) 

Fourth Course: 

Filet with Balsamic Reduction, Squash and Green Beans, Mission Table

Filet with Balsamic Reduction, Squash and Green Beans, Mission Table

Yum and tiny. This from a girl who is used to giant steaks on the grill. Medium rare just as medium rare ought to be and tender enough to cut with the side of your fork. And I ate all my veggies.  Paired with a Cabernet, again, very well selected. 

Dessert Course: 

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries, Mission Table

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries, Mission Table

I learned tonight that Jake had never had Panna Cotta before. Turns out he loves it! And who wouldn’t, its cooked cream, milk and sugar with a touch of vanilla and fresh berries. It was paired with a late harvest riesling that worked well as a dessert wine. 

Once we were done, the waitress told us she was surprised that we ate all 6 courses. She obviously isn’t familiar with our work. I could have done it over again and for the price was on the edge of doing it! The tasting menu with out wine is $45, with wine is $60. Jake had two additional beers, plus we ordered the special appetizers. In all, our bill before tip was $148.  We have certainly spent more on fewer courses and less food. The courses are small, but in the end make for an enjoyable meal; you don’t feel as if you have gorged yourself when you get up from the table and are able to enjoy each course. The service was good, not great, but adequate; our waitress knew the menu well but it seemed that somethings took a very long time. Bread for example. And it was outstanding bread, warm and crusty, but a bit late to the table. We found the same to be true the next night when we ate at Mission Table’s sister restaurant, the Jolly Pumpkin. I wonder if it has to do with layout more than service and we didn’t let it affect our tip. 

We are trying to figure out how we can finagle the time for another weekend in Traverse City and dinner at Mission Table!


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