Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jean Robert's Table:

We've been watching the evolution of Table for months now. Only recently in the past few weeks were the doors and shutters slightly opened so we could peer inside as we walked past.

the menu boards appeared to be jig-sawed by hand

Once the long awaited opening of Table was announced for dinner service, we made plans to check it out for dinner the second week it was open. We made our reservations (which are highly advised) and headed over to vine street. We even bought our camera--and our readers, by extension--a present.

house sparkling water

I'd never visited Buddakan, or for that matter, the longhorn steakhouse that the restaurant apparently originally was, so I can't say how much it has changed. The feel is classy, yet casual, with higher ceilings, some exposed duct work, and pretty chandeliers. There's not a lot of clutter around, so it feels very open in the restaurant, despite it being crowded that evening. Different dining spaces are on different levels, which I thought was a nice use of the space.
The bar is to your right as you walk in. It was very busy, with lots of patrons sipping wine. There is a rose and a white on the menu that are both $5 a glass---a pretty good deal.

We saw Jean Robert wandering around talking to tables, but we didn't get the chance to talk to him. The kitchen is in the back of the restaurant, open enough to see chefs and staff moving around inside.

By the bar, separated by a half-wall and raised a few feet, are a few tables, which is where we were seated. To our left, a lowered section of the restaurant has the communal tables--where couples and groups can be seated together. I'm not sure how I feel about that--I saw one uncomfortable looking couple on what I presume was a date, trying to have a conversation while the solitary stranger next to them chowed down on a burger. Awwwkward.

Farthest to the left is the highest area of the restaurant, with additional tables bordered by windows.

Now that I've described the restaurant sufficiently, I'll get down to it and talk about the food. And the drinks. The beer list was a pleasant surprise. LaChouffe, Southern Tier Unearthly IPA, Hudy Delight, and some Unibroue stood out to us. My friend Janelle and I both ordered the French chateau burger, ($13) served on brioche with a little french flag stuck in the top accompanied by fries, and cooked to medium.

David chose to be more adventurous. He ordered one of the specials of the night, the heirloom tomato salad, as well as the surf and turf tartar ($10) (half tuna and half steak, topped with radish and cucumber and garnished with a smear of pureed avocado) and the sweetbreads.
As we waited for our orders, we were served the house bread--crunchy on the outside and hot and chewy on the inside.

As for the burger, it was a very good burger, and I think that anyone ordering it would be pleased. The sauce that came with the fries was excellent, a little tangy and sweet. The burger was served with tomato, lettuce and a mayonnaise sauce. The patty itself is more of a meatloaf (if you have ever had Mayberry's burger, you know what I mean) I could see bits of bacon, as well as some carrot and other vegetables mixed in. I liked the bacon addition particularly. It was just enough, and not too much.

David devoured his tomato salad, as well as the tartare. The sweetbreads were served atop a bleu cheese and mushroom quiche, which was excellent. The port sauce the sweetbreads were served with was, as David put it, “straight up concentrated deliciousness”. As for the quality of the sweetbreads themselves, David found that they were slightly overcooked, which was unexpected.

surf and turf tartar


We decided to go for dessert, and ordered the crème brulee ($7). Apparently it has lavender in it, however, I mostly picked up on a nice cinnamon flavor. I was very happy with our dessert choice. I took half of my burger home, and I thought it was nice that the server kept my little flag from my burger in the box.

We'd definitely return to Table, maybe after the hype dies down a little. The service was pleasant, and the food was well prepared, but the our table was a little noisy, being right next to the bustling bar.

Jean-Robert's Table on Urbanspoon


  1. Interesting that off all the columns, articles, reviews, blog posts I've read on Table, not one has mentioned the forerunner of fine food at this location - chef Bruce French ran Bistro on Vine in this building back in the late '80s - early '90s and it was a charming contemporary space with an excellent and adventurous menu.

    Bruce left Cincinnati after finding a niche as personal chef for some major bands - like the Rolling Stones, Springsteen and later, I think, U2, Peral Jam and a slew of others.

  2. Your pictures alone make me hungry! Sounds great. I think I need to find a babysitter so I can check it out. Thanks!

  3. Nice! The wide angle lens got some nice shots, did you have it at Rookwood?
    The the heirloom tomato salad looks almost exactly like one I had at Nicola's
    I'm not sure how soon we're gonna make it to Jr Table, seems like we see mostly blue hairs going in but I'm sure we'll make it eventually.

  4. Nice review, thanks. I finally tried it last night, and while the food and space was both a solid "A" in my book, the service was really uneven/lacking -- especially at the bar. After about 15 minutes at the bar without anyone taking our drink order (despite repeated eye contact) we were finally summoned for our table. (We had a reservation, but table wasn't ready when we arrived, which would have been fine had the bar been a bit more hospitable.) Anyways, after another 10 or so minutes at our table without water or any sign of life we were a bit antsy...luckily, our waitress was great once finally there. And the food was very good overall: lobster pastry to start, ceasar salad, salmon/bacon entree and scallops. Dessert was just average (rhuebarb), but that was probably due to my misinterpretation of the menu description.
    Our main problem arose when there was a problem with our wine. We were VERY polite and "nice" about it, and our waitress couldn't have been sweeter, but she took the issue straight to an older Asian woman right in front of us -- who proceeded to basically dismiss us and dress us down. Um......awkward. It was awful, and not a great way to end a birthday meal. However, the food and interior space were pretty darn good, so I will probably revisit and still clear from the manager/hostess (or whomever she was).


I try to be honest, fair and keep a good sense of humor in my posts--I would appreciate if you follow the same policy with your comments.