Asheville, NC has almost coined the phrase “farm-to-table dining”—so much so that you start to wonder if the expression means less than the overly debated “organic.” But, my jadedness quickly subsided as it seemed everyone actually did have their own garden and farm—from the Grove Park Inn to the grounds at Biltmore. This lush, mountain terrain is practicing what they preach and Table restaurant has mastered the concept.
When I made a reservation at Table in the heart of downtown, I had only mixed online reviews (sadly some people just don’t get it) and my own intuition that I was making the best choice for my mom’s birthday dinner. I wanted something sophisticated, a place that could battle the urban foodie bistros of which I had become accustomed. I wanted to take my family on a culinary adventure in their own backyard (so to speak) that would contradict their usual Southern upscale fare of meat and potatoes.
As we perused the menu (that changes nightly depending on available ingredients), I felt certain we were in for a treat. Call me biased, but I gave them immediate props for a well thought out wine list—I’m always delighted to see Palmer’s picks, like the “Summertime White,” Martin Codax Albariño (our obvious choice). The heirloom tomato salad with hericots verte, hazelnut and crème fraiche tasted as if they had been picked off the vine just moments before. The seared duck breast with local mushrooms, leeks, confit potatoes and blueberry was an exciting change from the blasé redundancies that clutter most menus. Mostly, I felt triumphant that my parents raved over each bite and were glad they had stepped outside their comfort zone.
The philosophy behind Table’s cooking, while trendy, is really at the heart of what good food is all about—going back to the basics with fresh ingredients, put together in a creative way that excites your palate and sends you own a sensory adventure. It somehow broadens your horizons as you stay close to home.
Next time I’m in town, I really hope there is room at the Table.
Table. 48 College Street. Asheville, NC . 828-254-8980