By Priya Konings
The foodie world is embracing the meatless Monday concept and its time you do it too. The best place to hop on board is at Table, where the open kitchen, small, rustic dining room, impeccable wine list, and dynamite food create the best meatless Monday experience in town.
At a recent tasting of the Table’s Meatless Monday fall menu, the dining experience started with a luscious, mini portion of corn soup, served with a teeny tiny tootsie roll-esq queso spring roll which is basically the best day of your life. You may want to scream and bang the table and demand a hundred more of them, but don’t. There is more good stuff coming. And they may think you are weird if you do that.
Next up was a gorgeous bowl of a blood orange jelly, embellished with diced avocado, watermelon radishes, sage blossoms, and walnuts. The dish was sweet and savory, a display of different textures, flavors, and colors. At this point you realize that Chef de Pue knows, better than most chefs, not only how to use vegetables to maximize their flavor, but also how to use vegetables together so that they highlight the best qualities of each individual ingredient.
The dinner continued with a seasonal salad, comprised of greens, creamy whipped camembert, and pickled pears, all drizzled with a silky fig vinaigrette. After that was a mushroom “tart” featuring greens and a blini crowned with a gorgeous bevy of mushrooms, including meaty king trumpet mushrooms and enoki mushroom tempura.
The main course was the pinnacle of the meal: buttery, hearty cauliflower meuniere. Cauliflower has become the DC’s favorite vegetable with Mike Isabella’s popular cauliflower sandwich at G, Etto’s famous cauliflower pizza, and Aaron Silverman’s celebrated cauliflower with Greek yogurt. But du Pue may have surpassed them all with his cauliflower meuniere. To everyone who thinks a vegetable can’t be a main course, and to everyone who thinks that a vegetarian main course must suck: go sample this dish. Unlike most chefs, who over-utilize carbohydrates for vegetarians, de Pue is able to use vegetables so that they can stand alone, and actually serve as main course, without hiding them under a bed of rice or pasta. Crunchy hazelnuts, salty capers, and lemon added texture, brightness, and acidity to the dish.
A mini loaf and a pear stuffed with cinnamon cream was a light dessert course, much needed after the hearty savory courses. Wine is a must, and you should sample, but not fill up on, the fresh bread and lemony oil olive served with your food. Every element of your dining experience at Table illustrates a fine attention to detail: from the food to the service to the charming menu booklets. Enjoy the experience!
This is a Monday night you won’t forget anytime soon.