Freedom is a sacred thing; as free citizens it is our right to choose where we go, what we aspire to do, what we eat. As chefs, attaining freedom in the restaurant industry isn’t nearly as cut and dry; there are bottom lines, seasonal restrictions, business protocols and cutthroat competition. But Frederik de Pue, owner of soon-to-open Shaw concept Table, hopes to change just that.
Drawing inspiration from classic European sensibilities, the freshest ingredients and above all simplicity, de Pue’s daily-rotating menu at Table is guaranteed freedom. Pencil-written options rotate after one 20-provisioned dish is sold out, keeping the restaurant’s product fresh and its patrons delightfully surprised.
The options on the new spot’s sample menu are surprising indeed. Come mid-January, Table’s guests can choose from starters like Pad-Thai-style frog legs and squid stuffed with Piperade Proscuitto–the cheese and charcuterie selection, de Pue says, will remain on the menu at all times. Entres (ranging from $18-$32) may include some equally surprising spins on classics, like the pork belly with Little Neck Clams, baby bok choy and lily bulb or the veal sweetbreads with royal trumpet puree.
Located just across the street from Old City Green–receivers of fresh produce drop-offs–Table is in a position to hand-select the best food available. Without the limitations of a set menu, de Pue says Table can offer the freshest, most unique product for its patrons in a unique setting. The restaurant itself reflects the menu perfectly; simple with a cozy, bright feel. According to the spot’s owner, it’s a return to the old world–a place to sit and relax, to watch the chef prepare your meal before your very eyes. According to de Pue, it is just what the neighborhood needs.
“When I saw the neighborhood and I saw the potential, I knew exactly what I wanted to do here,” he said. There are outlets under every seat and WiFi, with the promise of brunch, breakfast and lunch arriving in the spring, making Table a perfect spot to perch, enjoy a bite or a glass of wine poured straight from the barrel and relax. Hopefully, de Pue says, the restaurant will be a place guests can come two or three times and get recognized, someplace they can have a conversation with the chef, someplace where their orders will be remembered for their next visit.
Occupying the space of an old car repair garage, the simplicity and the building’s imperfections are equally as charming as the spot’s freeing concept. The garage’s floors are still there (though spruced up a tad) and the exposed brick walls have been painted a pristine white. Repurposed wood adds a touch of warmth to the space while natural light and a green wall bring the outdoors inside for an airy, open feel. There’s also an upstairs dining room, a small patio out front and a back deck. (Hellooooo, new summer spot.)
Indeed we can’t imagine a feeling more freeing for de Pue; Table is beautiful with a menu that serves as both a culinary experiment and a breath of fresh air for the neighborhood. The space itself feels like a clean slate, and one we can’t wait to visit in 2013.