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Eating Around Town – Table

by Prince Of Petworth July 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm 24 Comments

table_shaw_restaurant_review
903 N Street, NW

This edition of Eating Around Town was written by Abbey Becker. Abbey previously wrote about Park Tavern.

There’s no doubt that Table (903 N St NW), Frederik de Pue’s restaurant near the Convention Center that opened in January, is beautifully designed. From the Dumpster-concealing plant enclosure to the modern wood and metal indoor decor to each plate that’s delivered to your table, everything has been shown impeccable amounts of attention to detail.

In Table’s case, it’s best not to judge a book by its cover.

My friend and I couldn’t stop talking about the soft lighting, the handwritten menus, the efficient and fluid cooking happening in the open kitchen, the succulents on the front circular table, and the rolled up garage door open to a mild summer night. When it came time to talk about the food, however, we were a lot quieter.

Based on looks alone (and the hype surrounding this place’s opening), Table should be a memorable dining experience. I expected to pine for at least one dish, long after I dined there. My friend and I ended up kind of puzzled at the stumbles we experienced, though.

Our server was friendly, but wasn’t completely knowledgeable. I asked about a beer on their menu, and she couldn’t tell me what kind of beer it was or what it tasted like. Not a total deal breaker, but surprising for the kind of restaurant Table seems to convey it wants to be. Throughout the meal, the service was a bit stilted and unsure–plates were delivered to the wrong diner at the table, questions about the what the server recommended were answered with vague responses that didn’t really address what we asked. Again, nothing that would deter me from eating here again, but not what I expected.

I loved ordering from a handwritten menu–it made me feel like I’d stumbled upon a place where each diner is special. I think this was particularly reinforced because I’d read about how long it took to write them (and the drinks menu is pages long with lots of descriptions).

That care extends to the presentation of the food, but not its taste. Dishes were beautifully plated, but flavors fell flat. The tuna tartare was light and sliced impeccably thin, but its dressing was forgettable and didn’t offer enough punch. The pork belly special had a chewier texture that I didn’t like. The lamb porterhouse was a generous enough portion: two small “steaks” on the bone with potatoes was plenty of food. At $34 for the dish, and the gamey lamb that ended up not yielding much meat, I wouldn’t say it was worth it. The hot chocolate mousse was good enough, though I wish it would have had a deeper chocolate flavor. I liked that it actually arrived hot. I wish I could have ordered a whole bowlful of the accompanying strawberry gelato that tasted incredibly fresh and rich. The strawberry financier that came with it was dense and dry, and I think we left some of it on the plate.

If you’re looking for a date spot that’s quiet and romantic, I’d recommend Table. The food isn’t bad at all, just not as good as I thought it should be, especially because of the price.

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