October 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm EST | by Jonathan Howard
Tasty Table
Table, dining, gay news, Washington Blade

Table is a bit pricey but features many exquisite dishes. (Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno)

Since spring, people have been talking about this great new hidden gem by the Convention Center. A place where the food is the centerpiece and every seat in the restaurant is as warm and welcoming as the chef’s table.

So finally, on a whim one Friday evening, I decided we should try to get a reservation at this small renowned spot called Table (903 N St. N.W.). I had one of my regular dining partners try to get the reservation. When he was unsuccessful, I pulled an alias out of the rolodex in my brain and borrowed some of my husband’s charm and suddenly the hostess was able to juggle some things around and find us a spot at 6:45 that Saturday.

After spending the day in the sun at the 17th Street Festival, I was looking forward to a lovely and relaxing dinner. We pulled up to this simple and clean establishment that announces itself with crisp white stenciled letters above the open “garage” door.

We were taken to a beautiful wood-topped table in the lower level of the restaurant just feet from the open kitchen, then we were handed copies of the perfectly handwritten menus that outlined our culinary journey for the evening.

Having done some research, I knew of Chef Frederik De Pue as well as his desire to “cook what he wants to cook” at Table. I also knew that a dish that people may have been raving about may not be on the menu a week later since De Pue frequently changes up what the kitchen delivers. On the Table website, De Pue says, “Since I began my career, it has been a dream of mine to open a chef’s table-style restaurant that evolves daily with new dishes for my guests.” So I was excited that the green gazpacho with avocado and soft shell crab was still being served because that was the one dish I had been thinking about all day.

Before I indulged in the gazpacho, we decided to turn French tradition on its side and start our meal with the cheeses and charcuterie course, which on this menu is appropriately tucked between main courses and dessert. A butcher block covered with delicious and pungent cheeses including Humboldt Fog was placed in front of us and was quickly devoured. The cheeses were all excellent; every meal should include a cheese course in my opinion.

After the cheese platter was removed my gazpacho arrived. This cool soup with the crispy bites of soft shell crab was an awesome dish for the warm late summer weather we were experiencing that afternoon. While I was thrilled with the gazpacho, the summer salad of beans, peas, seasonal mushrooms and almond espuma was not a favorite dish. The next time I’m at Table, I’ll try the Tomato Dish with watermelon and raspberry dressing instead (if it’s still on the menu).

For the main course, two of us selected the duck and the other two selected fish. The duck was presented in a gorgeous manner with fig, rum raisin and a savory crepe confit. The crepe confit was my favorite part of this plate, and while my duck was cooked very well, the other duck was slightly overdone giving it a chewy texture.

My husband had the Halibut with pea puree, grapes and capers; he loved his fish, which he described as light and refreshing. Our other friend had the grilled arctic char with sorrel salsa verde which he described as good, but not remarkable. I tried both of these dishes and agreed. Of course since a meal is not complete without sweets, we selected a couple desserts and while they were all good, the chocolate mousse stood out to me. It was a mouth full of rich and creamy fine French Valrhona chocolate. It was a sweet way to end the savory evening.

Table provided us with an intimate and solid dining experience. Beautiful plates with fine ingredients were brought to the table and enjoyed. This felt like a great restaurant to bring a date who appreciates finer food and ingredients. It’s probably a bit too pricey and possibly fancy for a first date unless you’re dating a foodie. Enjoy food, your company and conversation and definitely enjoy some dessert to end the evening.

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