The Table (at Season To Taste), North Cambridge, MA - WOW!

We visited The Table last night and had one the best meal we’ve had in the Boston area in the past year. We went out on a whim and were rewarded with a phenomenal dining experience. It’s amazing they have only been open for a month as Table is firing on all cylinders. Food and service are both world class, set in a comfortable atmosphere with just the right amount of bustle. Everyone involved in this restaurant is clearly invested in making it special.

The space tastefully decorated and intimate. Banquette seating runs along the wall with several 2 tops that can be put together for larger parties if needed. There is one 4 top right against the front window at the end of the banquette, and 4 seats at the chef’s counter looking into the kitchen. Total seating capacity is about 20. There is also a small stand up bar area in the front with it’s own snack menu. The space itself is a pretty unique experience for this area. It reminded me of a quaint neighborhood place in Europe.

The prix fixe menu is 4 courses with 2 choices each. Everything sounded fantastic so we ordered the entire menu and shared. Our meal started with a snapper sashimi amuse presented by Chef Carl. The fish was fresh, expertly cut and dressed. The snapper, as with all of the ingredients at Table could be tasted on its own along with the balanced accompaniments.

The first plates were the Salad of Grilled Squid & Citrus and Foie Gras Terrine. Each dish is perfectly composed both visually and from a taste profile, not overdone or reaching to be avant-garde, just excellent, clean food and flavors. The composition of the ingredients and flavors in the terrine came together in a way that had just the right amount of mish mash, but still managed to be intimate with a perfect texture. The squid salad managed to be light while singing with bright citrus flavors. We love squid that is not fried and would have happily gobbled up more charred pieces of squid in this dish. The chef knows balance better than my restraint would dictate however. Yes, after just one course we already completely gave ourselves over to trusting him.

Next up were Seared Scallops and Grilled Beets with goat feta, merguez sausage and pistachios. These dishes were so delicious they are difficult to describe. The portions were large enough to share, but we were very careful about it. When we traded dishes it wasn’t out of envy, but rather because we wanted each other to enjoy the dish that was currently blowing our taste buds away. We enjoyed and then traded back again. I dreamed of a bowl of the delicious buttery breadcrumbs that were sprinkled on the scallop dish. The gravy left on the beet and goat dish was luxuriously rich and we spooned every bit up.

The next course was Glazed Hake and Pork Belly with crispy skin. Both plates were delicious, but these proteins were my least favorite of the evening (it’s like picking a favorite child). The skin on the pork belly was perfect, some of the best bites of the evening. Also, the kraut (my description, not theirs) that accompanied the pork was fantastic. I personally do not care for Hake. However the fish was fresh, was well prepared and not mushy as can easily happen. The flaky texture is just not something I prefer. The pork belly was succulent, but for my personal taste I prefer the fat rendered a bit more.

The deserts, Citrus Pavlova & Dark Chocolate Marquise were just wow, 2 more dishes we shared back and forth reverently. Let’s just say that Chef Carl definitely isn’t going home for making these deserts. The chocolate was rich and savory, as with many of the dishes the chef is a master with the finishing salt and seasoning. The pavlova’s flavor was beguiling, sweet with a hint sour inside and a satisfying shell crack out. It paired perfectly with the lemon curd and graham crumble. As if that wasn’t enough, some delicious cookie dough fudge came with the check and some granola bars for breakfast the next day.

At $65/pp this menu is an absolute steal. It is nice to have a clean price point, with no supplement upsells, etc. Jessie, our server, kept things flowing nicely and had perfect timing the entire evening. He was immediately at my shoulder when I needed something or had a question, and never intruded otherwise. While clearly enjoying his work and proud of the restaurant, he was a normal guy and not a stuck up food snob. In fact all of the staff at Table seemed as if they would be fun to share a meal with or a drink outside of work. Both chef and front of house took time to thank us on the way out, ask how we enjoyed everything and even took a minute to know who we were and where we were from. The hospitality fits perfectly with the entire vibe of Table. We’re thankful to have this gem so close to home.

We haven’t been able to stop thinking or talking about this meal and are making reservations for a return visit today. The restaurant was full last night, so word is already out. When it spreads further this might be one of the toughest tables in town. We’d love to keep this one under wraps for ourselves, but the Table team deserves all the success that is coming their way.

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What a ringing endorsement! Thanks.

Thank you! I have to be honest, I drive by Season to Taste all the time, and would have never guessed they’d open such a gem inside that awkward location. Fantastic to know, will definitely check it out!

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This is the guy who is on Top Chef, right? Thank you for the report. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure exactly how that space was setup prior, but whoever build it out had excellent vision. It’s perfect.

Yes, the chef (Carl Dooley) is on the current season of Top Chef. My wife was more keen on that aspect of the experience than I. However I must admit that it was fun and a bit surreal to be served multiple courses and speak directly with the chef, have a great experience at his new restaurant and then go immediately home and watch him win the challenge on that very evening’s episode of Top Chef to move on to the final 5. Best of luck to him in his new restaurant and on the show. If he wins, which is a strong possibility, then it really will be a tough table.

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So very glad to hear Carl is doing so well - I hadn’t realized he had opened a new restaurant. Guess I didn’t pay any attention to where he worked, other than the fact that he was a local Boston chef.

Thanks for this thread. A friend who lives in the Midwest is visiting at the end of the month so I made a reservation.

I am SO glad to have read about The Table here. We had an outstanding meal this evening.
Traffic was extra-bad and it took the cab a long time to reach us at the MFA, so I called them at 5:30 to tell them we’d be late for our 5:45 reservation. There were two more calls from the resto, as we crawled through traffic. It was almost 6:30 when we finally made it there, but they’d graciously saved the table. We ordered the whole menu, swapping plates. The amuse bouche was a 2oz cup of very flavorful broth with pork tongue, ginger, jalapeno, and cilantro. Tender meat (as all the meats were).
FIRST COURSE:1) Salad of Yellowfin tuna, Persian cucumber, jalapeno, shiso, and green apple, 2) terrine of foie gras confit with braised rabbit, pickled rhubarb, and purple mustard.
SECOND COURSE: 1) Braised lamb short rib and sausage, artichoke barigoule ( me neither; it was braised in olive oil), pistachio, fava beans, and 2) asparagus, andouille, shrimp, lemon breadcrumbs. We wished we could have licked the plates…
THIRD COURSE: 1) chicken leg stuffed with foie gras, and cockscomb, with a stew of beech mushrooms, Georgia peas, and Vin Jaune and ultra-thin housemade potato chips, and 2) glazed hake with butternut squash curry, pickled golden raisins, almonds, and chickpeas. Bit of a squick factor about the cockscomb, which we dutifully nibbled: it’s just a cartilaginous, pallid slab that contributed nothing to the dish.
DESSERT: 1) rice pudding with passionfruit curd, mango, caramelized coconut crispies, and 2) chocolate banana parfait with malt ice cream, salted peanuts, crispy meringue. The chocolate was akin to chocolate pudding, but the ice cream was good. The rice pudding was much the better of the two.

There was a plate with two thick slices of good bread, and butter. Along with the check there was another plate with two small lemon cookies, and two wrapped granola bars, for the road.

Overall, we enjoyed every dish, and came away fully sated. The service was casual but attentive. This is a very small room, so tables are close together. Really, my only criticism was that the rock music is too loud for comfortable conversation. You have to lean in over the plate in order to hear and be heard by, your dining companion.

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Glad you enjoyed it. We are going again this weekend, sitting at the chefs counter, and very much looking forward to it!

Wow, thanks for this thread. Did they offer wine parings?

Yes, they do, but we declined.

BTW, on April 3 they will be starting a $25/2-course prix fixe Sunday brunch, without reservations. Different chef for brunch.

The chef is Rembs Layman, previously responsible for the brunches at Season to Taste.

Great post, you’ve sold me! I’m going to make a reservation for May when I’m in town

What’s the beverage situation? Good wine list? Liquor?

Beer and wine only. Pretty good selection, and small but well selected and reasonable priced wine selection. Due to their offering pairings, the majority of wines are available by the glass as well. http://www.cambridgetable.com/drink-menu/

We had another fantastic meal at Table over the weekend. No letdown from the first visit as well. I am looking forward to them replacing that Hake dish with something else though.

That was my second favorite thing, the first being the broth we were served as the amuse bouche.

The preparation and all of the accompaniments are excellent. I just do not prefer the texture of hake as the protein in the dish. It’s just one of those things.

The softer, a bit mushier texture of hake, versus the firmer texture of something like cod?

The hake I’ve gotten through the CSF has always been one of their firmer fish - more so than pollock, haddock, and the small flatfishes.

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Continuing the discussion from The Table (at Season To Taste), North Cambridge, MA - WOW!:

Amazingly good dinner at “The Table”. Each of the four courses - we tried both choices and shared them - was carefully prepared, beautifully served and generous in size. We sat at the chef’s counter and chatted with the friendly crew who were happy to describe each course and how they came to select the different offerings. The menu changes monthly. We started with an amuse bouche, a pork belly broth with herbs, followed by a pair of starters, salmon carpaccio and fois gras/rillettes dish, next lamb riblets with peas and asparagus/shrimp/boudin blanc. The main dishes were roast chicken thigh and hake, both perfectly executed and garnished, and desserts were a chocolate/banana/malt ice cream concoction and the best rice pudding I’ve ever had - topped with mango and crisped rice.
The wine list offered interesting choices and we had a non-alcoholic craft soda.

This is a restaurant worth waiting for - reservations are filled into June at this point.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold