Pleasure at Table Asheville

There were nine of us, eight heavily involved in Asheville’s food scene. The ninth, visiting food writer and published author (Food Lover’s Guide to Raleigh Durham & Chapel Hill), Johanna Kramer. We gathered at Table for lunch, a chance for a little “face time”, and a “round table” (even though the table was rectangular) discussion of all things food.

Imagine what the kitchen must have thought when they realized Maggie Cramer/Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Leah McGrath/Ingles Dietitian, Ashley Hayes/@_FashionFoodie (Twitter), Denny Trantham/Chef, Emily Patrick/Mountain X-Press, Susi Gott Segret/Seasonal School of Culinary Arts, Asheville Wine Experience, Mackensy Lunsford/Asheville Scene, Johanna Kramer/Durham Foodie, and myself/Carolina Epicurean were in the house.

Table has re-done their entrance. It’s a bit confusing, appearing that you’re walking in to the kitchen. Go ahead and open that door, turn left, walk toward the back, and you’ll be seated in a bright, airy room to the left.

I love the simple, fresh table settings.

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Food began arriving at the table, some we’d ordered, some we hadn’t – courtesy Chef and owner Jacob Sessoms.

Two dishes shared by Sessoms included something he’s well known for - house-cured/prepared meats. This is what Mackensy Lunsford had to say about meats at Table in her November, 2011 Snacks, sausage & smoke article:

Chef/owner Jacob Sessoms, chef Matthew Dawes and Jeremy Hardcastle always have some sort of long-cure charcuterie doing its thing in dedicated coolers. Frequent projects include traditional Italian salamis or the French-style saucisson sec. The crew is currently developing their version of country-style ham. Short-cure items made at Table include various patés and hot dogs and, while you can’t sample the hot dogs on the charcuterie board, they do appear as corn dogs on the menu at Sessoms’ other restaurant, Tod’s Tasties on Montford Avenue.

The reasons that Table creates charcuterie are many, says Sessoms. “As cooks, it’s kind of a logical progression,” he says. “We don’t want to do the same thing day in and day out, and it’s kind of a challenge to go beyond the comfort realm. And obviously, it’s trendy across the country now — it’s part of the farm-to-table, whole animal consumption, nose-to-tail eating,” he explains.

First was this interesting and deliciously seasoned, crunchy-soft combo salad with boiled peanuts, bacon and crispy pig ears. Yes, crispy pig ears. Just try it, don’t let the name put you off.

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Next was Table’s gorgeous rendition of Lamb Tartare. I could kick myself for not writing down all the seasonings and ingredients, but rest assured, it was absolutely delicious.

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Seafood fan? Table’s NC Shrimp salad, topped with bacon is a good choice. Perfectly cooked shrimp, nicely curled and seasoned, complimented greens tossed in a warm bacon vinaigrette.

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Another star, less adventurous than Tartare, but no less fabulous, is their signature Ploughman’s Lunch ($9) (listed under salads on the menu). Be sure to mix and match bites of these choice cheeses, meats, fruit, bread, flat bread (crackers), fresh spinach and spicy mustard. You’ll be pleasantly satisfied after this riot of flavors on a board.

Table

Table is conveniently located in the heart of downtown. There is ample street parking, free after 6pm. Can’t find street parking? A very reasonably priced city parking garage is right across the street.

Oh, our group had a perfect experience at Table. Thanks Chef Sessoms and staff!

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Table
48 College St
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-8980

Table on Urbanspoon

3 Responses to Pleasure at Table Asheville

  1. Hmm…the one time we went, we were not particularly impressed. I mean, it was fine, but the quality was not at the level of the price point. So, we’ve never been back. Granted, that was several years ago. Perhaps we should try it again?

    Do you think you got especially good or perfectly prepared food because they knew who they were serving? Am always curious about that, which I know is why you’ve tried to remain anonymous for most reviews you do on your own. :)

    Did you go upstairs (I think it’s upstairs?) to the new bar?? Was curious how that was.

  2. Hi Sweet Tooth. In answer to your questions: Yes, I think we got special treatment in that Chef shared a couple of his specialties with us, who he knew would appreciate the work and skill that went in to them. Also, he already knew a few at our table.

    No, I don’t think the dishes were prepared any differently than they would have been if we were unknown to them. Maybe no stray bits on plates? But, I didn’t see any difference in dishes served to tables around us.

    As to service, it seemed comparable to other good Asheville restaurants. Servers didn’t hover, but did come by in a timely way to refill water glasses and remove dishes. No fawning.

    This was my first visit to Table, so I have no reference point, but lunch prices are usually less than dinner. Since I pay out of pocket for almost all of my review meals, I frequently go for lunch. Also get better pictures with natural daylight. :)

    We ate downstairs, not up in the bar. I haven’t actually seen the bar yet, but would like to check it out.

    Not sure if anyone at Table would recognize me – one of my most endearing qualities, being “average” – so guess I should go back again for lunch and see what happens . . .

    • We went for dinner so it was quite pricey. As I recall, service was good, no issues there. It was just that for that price point, the food did not blow us away as I felt it should have.

      However, an interesting topic came up on chowhound awhile back on the southeast board (can’t remember if I’ve discussed it with you?). There are sometimes baffling differences in food experiences at the same restaurant among diners. We finally wondered if there was a discernible difference in food quality/creativity/flavor between lunch and dinner services. I rarely go out for lunch. Some of the diners rarely go out for dinner. So, the experiences we shared were more like “lunch vs. dinner”. Might be an interesting (albeit expensive) experiment.

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