Saturday, April 13, 2013

Vive la Table du Jean-Robert!

It feels like everyone’s cozy club with world-class food

The Canopied Cochon Entrance to Jean-Robert's Table
     We’ve reviewed Jean-Robert’s Table before – it was actually the first restaurant article on this blog – but he’s so willing to change things up while remaining grounded in an egalitarian American-French vision that this deserves a second look.  Most regional food enthusiasts know that Jean-Robert de Cavel
trained many of today’s top local chefs while he was the chef at The Maisonette.  He recommended changes to the Comisars and they ran with some and rejected others.  

An ArtsWave Mural for
Jean-Robert's Table
     Through collaborating with a financial backer, he opened the high-end Pigall’s, which left The Maisonette in the dust, then Jean Ro, a Parisian-styled bistro that became pricier over time, and a number of other restaurants before the collaboration fell apart amidst recriminations.   He was finally allowed legally to open his Table in 2010 and it’s been going very strongly ever since.  I just hope his backing this time remains firmly on his side.

The Elegant Dining Room with Elements of Whimsy
     Jean-Robert’s Table has a relaxed, friendly vibe where diners will see a diverse group of patrons including regional movers and shakers, business professionals, office parties, families, and tourists.  Somehow, the menu caters to almost every taste from elegantly simple hamburgers and meat and potatoes to fish prepared in the most cutting-edge style.  The appetizers and specials are pretty much amazing and some have made it to the semi-permanent menu.  Proteins are always perfectly cooked.  Those I’ve gone with loved the meat on their entrées.  Desserts are good, but aren’t in the same class as the other courses.

Red Leaf Salad
     We went last week with Lisa and both she and Neil ordered the Red Leaf Salad, which was an appetizer special.  The base was spring greens with ginger vinaigrette, but highlighted by the celery root slaw with grated orange and chopped pineapple and blackberries and cranberries, topped with walnuts and local 51 cheeses.  It sounds complicated, but the abundance of flavors were still centered on that excellent slaw.

Surf 'n' Turf Tartare
I ordered the Surf ‘n’ Turf Tartare (obviously, an acquired taste) that focused on raw ground top sirloin and tuna with capers and various spices topped with shaved radish and marinated cucumber and an avocado slice.  It was sauced under with avocado and pepper.  All the major taste elements – sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and umami – were represented.  

Three Little Cochons
Braised Short Rib

     Lisa ordered the Three Little Cochons, a generous portion that she graciously shared with me and still had some to take home.  Neil had the Braised Short Rib, also a large dish with enough for leftovers.  Both entrées required complex preparations, but tasted great and were still meat and potatoes.

Sea Scallops
I chose the Sea Scallops, a lighter dish featuring a cider sauce and elements of cream that added acid, but also sweetness.  In fact, there was a light caramel quality that others would probably appreciate more than I did.  However, in all three cases, the proteins were delectable and they were priced under $30.  There are a number of reasonable options on the menu and through the specials because Jean Robert and his incredible serving staff want to keep this restaurant accessible.  

Jean-Robert's Table on Urbanspoon
Jean-Robert's Table on Foodio54

I noticed there were snails and roosters and pigs in the guy's pictures.  Is that a French thing?


hollymayberry said...

"edamame" ... i think you mean "umami" ;)

Dexter said...

Oop! Guess I was distracted by the birds outside when I was proofing. Thank you!!