Monday, May 19, 2014

Table

Well. It's taken quite a while for me to get back on the food scene writing horse. I could provide a plethora of excuses or justifications, but that's not really important. Some how it's been one year since I moved from my beloved hometown of Chicago (and culinary capital of the national IMO) to our nation's capital of Washington. I still love eating, checking out new restaurants and jotting down my thoughts and opinions, but my lifestyle and timing is quite different than before. I hope to do a better job going forward, but I realize it will not be the same as the Windy City. Also of note is my general attitude that while the DC food scene is changing quickly and drastically, it has a long way to go for consistent, high quality restaurants. My last post on Rose's Luxury remains my favorite experience to date, but my meal at Table was not far behind and the inspiration to breakout the keyboard once again. 

The initial impression is memorable, inviting and fun. The first floor space is narrow and long with a garage door opening and full length open air kitchen along one side (reminiscent of a diner set up). There are wood planks hanging to create a make shift ceiling adorned with creative lighting. The color scheme features pink everywhere (is that seasonal or permanent?) with a full back wall painted solid, and pink accents in server attire, menu and settings. Wood is another theme with clean tables, walls and bar service counter. Since we sat downstairs I am unfamiliar with the upstairs design but would be surprised if different. The menu is robust but approachable without too many options to cause confusion or extended time wasted on decision making. They offer a tasting menu (good idea) with predetermined choices. Otherwise there is a first course section, a second course section and a cheese/charcuterie section. That's it and that's all you need. 



In order to sample a little of every part, we started with the "goose egg" salad that our server recommended and had just arrived at the table next over. It was a play on the classic lyonnaise salad with a sunny side up goose egg, sauteed seasonal mushrooms, frisee salad and served with warm toast. I enjoyed the salad immensely and would suggest it as a staple to any meal at Table. The egg was perfectly cooked so that it was runny enough to be fun but with solid "whites" to eat with the salad and vegetables. The dressing was a perfect compliment and the warm toast with a hint of olive oil made for a great way to clean the plate. The salad comes in the warm sauce pan used to fry the egg and we sent it back clean. We also took the opportunity to sample the cheese and meat selection with two cheeses (kind of forgot which ones but they were fantastic - Taleggio and Fiscalini maybe) and some duck prosciutto. One of the best small charcuterie and cheese boards I've had in a while. The pricing structure encourages volume discounts so don't skimp and be adventurous.



To sample a little surf and air, I opted for the wild bass (with rapini, brussels sprouts, fiddlehead fern and garlic air) while Erin did the squab (pan roasted, morel mushrooms, green peas, sorrel, jus de cuisson). Again, both plates went back empty as the main dishes were quite tasty. I would not have changed anything with my bass as the fish was well cooked, soft and buttery with nice garlic notes. The sprouts were also a highlight while the fern and and rapini added interesting flavor profiles and texture. Some might judge the dish to be rich, but the flavor is great. I'm not a huge pea and mushroom fan so the squab would not have been my choice but the meat was nicely cooked medium retaining the slightly gamey texture and tasty seasonings.

After all of that we saved a hint of room for dessert, which worked out because it appears the desserts are not massive or over the top. To keep it refreshing on a nice spring evening we went with the roasted pineapple, served with a dollop of lychee ice cream, small squirts of jalapeno sauce, vanilla cake and toasted macadamia nuts. Lots going on, but nice combination of flavors in small and succinct package. If you're looking for a more full dessert experience I bet scoops of gelato or the brown butter chess pie would be more up that alley. 


Table definitely ranks up there with a select few very good restaurants I've experienced recently. It has both a neighborhood charm and a fun, romantic, foodie destination. The food is top notch with a quite extensive wine list (but not too cheap). I would highly recommend it and suggest people to check it out. I look forward to returning for other seasonal menus, tasting menus or just good food. 

Table on Urbanspoon


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