UPDATE 01/15/13: Good news arrived Tuesday via Table's publicist: The restaurant is set to open officially for dinner on Friday, January 18, at 5 PM. The restaurant has been fully ready to go since we checked in with chef-owner Frederik de Pue in early December, but water-pipe work outside the eatery has prevented it from opening to the public until this week. Though it's typically closed on Monday, de Pue plans to keep Table open this coming Monday, January 21, from 5 to 11 for all the day's festivities. Read below for our original early look at the restaurant.
When we first saw Table back in the spring, mayflies were swarming and pieces of ceiling littered the floor. So it was amazing to return there late last week and find that chef-owner Frederik de Pue has transformed the former two-story car park into one of the most welcoming new restaurants we’ve seen in a while. The team maintained the building’s intrinsic charms—white-painted brick walls, speckled concrete floors, a sliding garage door that opens onto a patio in warm weather—while importing a modern European aesthetic evident in everything from accommodating white chairs to pillows made from French seed sacks that de Pue collected while traveling.
You’ll find similar old- and new-world contrasts on the menu, and, de Pue hopes, in the ambience. One of the Belgian-born chef’s reasons for opening a neighborhood cafe is that he misses the leisurely pace of European dining and lingering post-meal. At Table, there are no reservations and a conservative number of seats: 34 downstairs and 26 in communal tables above. The menu will change frequently, both to reflect seasonal and limited-run ingredients, and to keep potential neighborhood regulars from growing bored. Opening first for dinner—breakfast, brunch, and lunch will roll out later—you’ll find dishes like sautéed mushrooms on toast topped with a poached egg, salmon with persimmon vinaigrette, bison hanger steak sauced in red wine, and simple tagliatelle tossed with tomato sauce and ricotta (see a sample menu below). For cocktails you’ll have to head to the newly opened A&D around the corner: plenty of wines and bubbly are what you’ll be sipping at Table while watching the chefs work in the open kitchen.
For now, there’s one major obstacle standing between you, a glass of Champagne, and a charcuterie board: water. The exact opening is still undetermined because of upgrades needed in the H20 system. In the meantime, de Pue is working on final menu details with fellow chef Patrick Robinson, formerly an executive sous at Citronelle. The delays have pushed the casual eatery’s opening closer to de Pue’s new project, Azur, a seafood restaurant slated to debut on New Year’s Eve in the former Cafe Atlantico and Minibar space. De Pue says he never intended to open two venues at once, but couldn’t resist a prime opportunity to take over friend José Andrés’s building when it had yet to go on the market.
“I like a challenge,” says de Pue.
Table. 903 N Street, Northwest.
Sample Dinner MenuFirst CourseCelery root soup hazelnut leek
Burgundy snails white bean spinach
Beets persimmon agri-doux vinaigrette
Maryland blue crab salad Louis
Stuffed squid piperade prosciutto
Mushroom sautéed poached egg toast
Tiger prawns salsify maitre d’hotel butter
Frogs legs pad Thai-style
Purple potato salad quail egg cornichon
Cheese and charcuterie selection
(St Andre, Kaltbach Alpine, Bouche Noir, Forme D’Ambert, Talaggio, )
(Duck Proscuitto, country pate, saussison sec, prosciutto Italia, Mortadella)
Pork belly and clams bok choy lily bulb
Dorade en papillote julienne vegetables
Bison hanger steak marble potatoes red wine sauce
Cornish hen roasted Pommes-Anna brussels
Veal sweetbreads royal trumpet puree
King Salmon endive persimmon vinaigrette
Monkfish bacon-wrapped anise broth
Tagliatelle tomato sauce ricotta basil
Pumpkin bread pudding salted peanut Anglaise
Hot chocolate mousse pear sorbet
Apple crostata bitter almond gelato
Coconut marshmallow vanilla sauce