Review: Happy hour menu at The Table is short but sweet

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From the June 5, 2014 edition

Eating at The Table, one of the best new restaurants to open last year, is the dining equivalent of listening to edgy, smart and artsy “lo-fi” music. Anyway, the terrific place offers lots of ways to sample its sophisticated, often French-inspired and earthy fare.

There’s lunch, brunch and/or dinner in The Table’s rustic-chic dining room — where cheerily mismatched chairs and tables are enlivened by large windows, modern music, aqua and chocolate-painted walls, plus drinking glasses filled with small potted plants. And now there’s also a newly opened, alleyway-like quaint patio (facing Brothers Drake Meadery) and happy hour service.

Though limited in food specials —just three snacky “Bites” are offered — The Table’s HH (Tuesdays through Fridays, 4-7 p.m.) is a great way to begin an evening, or get your beak wet with this intriguing place if you’ve yet to check it out. Discounted drink-wise, Seventh Son’s mouth-filling Humulus Nimbus goes for $3; cuts-above hooches (e.g. Tanqueray 10 gin, Bulleit rye, Espolon tequila and Tito’s vodka) are only $4 apiece, with or without “simple” mixers; and five nice wines are $5 per glass.

Food-wise, I sprang for The Table’s $5-each HH trifecta: the “daily whim”-topped flatbread, (single) cheese course and the pork belly. Every one of these non-cliché noshes was small-to-modest-sized but brimming with big flavors.

My lemon-and-sweetness-hinting flatbread du jour (there’s always a veggie version of the little personal-sized pizzas) packed a lot of tang in small triangles. A sorta salad-y ensemble topped a delicate, thin and puffy-yet-crackery crust with bits of Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, tomatoes (benefitting from time in the oven), good anchovies and arugula.

If you’re frightened by fat, you might wanna bypass the pork belly. If, however, you love sensually silky, smoky and wholly delicious, cured-not-cooked long strips of raw-bacon-like pig meat, then order this indulgent stunner — whose counterpoints are a pungent, fruity and grainy mustard, plus beautiful toast points.

The same toasted-and-buttered homemade bread — plus a dense and intense strawberry fruit compote — accompanied my cheese order. The Table is careful to curate high-caliber local cheeses (and provides comprehensive tasting notes for them), so you really can’t go wrong with your cheese choice.

Actually, you really can’t go wrong at The Table.

Photo by Meghan Ralston