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Tables: Park Hill

by fancypants, July 12, 2008

Friday night. Dinner with Courtney and Mike. The evening started with an attempt to have dinner at Potager, after about a 7 year wait. I guess we’ll have to keep waiting. Apparently Potager is on vacation. Yes, the whole restaurant. In the middle of summer. Odd.

So, Mike booked us a table at Tables in Park Hill, which we’ve been hearing quite a lot about.

The setting is lovely: a storefront on Kearney Street, with a picket fence patio, and of course the theme of mismatched tables. And doors. And a couple of windows. Anyway, they went with Tables.

We were seated at a 4 top inside, where oddly, the men’s chairs seemed about a foot lower than mine and Courtney’s. We were originally set for the communal table, but the hostess (who I am guessing must be the owner) told us that there was a group of drunk women sitting there, and suggested that we might prefer a luckily open table.

It’s really, really loud inside. Not music, but very, very loud voices. As if everyone is competing to be louder than the next. I think they should institute an “inside voices” policy. But once you get into the swing of things, you start yelling like everyone else. And the bottle of wine I shared with Mike didn’t hurt. Speaking of wine, they have two lists: one on the menu, and then a “special” list in a rustic little picture frame. Not sure why there are two. The waiter seemed relatively knowledgeable about wine (I’m decidedly not, other than to drink it) and after being smart enough to bring a taste of the Semillion we ordered because he thought we might not like it (we didn’t), he suggested a tasty Sanford (not And Son’s) that went down well.

Let’s talk about our waiter. He was dressed like an intellectual lumberjack, an interesting service attire. There is in fact no uniform at Tables, and while I appreciate people being able to express their individuality, I do like a good uniform to be able to identify my server. Plus I think it adds an air of professionalism to the experience. So, Mr Lumberjack was relatively efficient, made some good suggestions (which we asked for) and we generally took his advice. The big black mark against him, was that at the end of the evening, I was in the middle of telling a story, and was just about to hit the punch line, when he came over, and without pausing, blurted out the dessert specials, completely interrupting me. In my book, a server should never, ever interrupt a customer’s conversation unless the restaurant is burning down. You can stand there, sure. But don’t interrupt. I didn’t come to the restaurant to talk to you. If I did, you’d be seated at the table. At Tables. Haha.

Let’s move on to the food. Starters were mostly well received. The Tuna Tartar was particularly good, with just the right amount of spicy flavor to it. The Spinach Salad was apparently fresh and tasty, but the Beets weren’t. Besides the fact that Darian ate off all the Goat Cheese before any of us could taste it, the beet preparation was WAY too earthy (or “rustic” as Courtney nicely put it) for me, and I had to use the paper bread napkin to spit it out. And speaking of the bread – it was decidedly stale and stodgy, something they could vastly improve on. Nicely presented in a little tin bucket, but that didn’t make up for it’s poor quality. Bread sets the scene people!

Main courses: Darian’s Dill Salmon was well prepared and quite delicious, although the fingerling potatoes were dry and crumbly. Mike had the Pork special with accompanying polenta, which he and Courtney both said was delicious. Courtney and I opted for the lamb. I took the advice of the waiter, and chef, and had mine prepared medium rare, which after one bite I realized was way too rare. I’m not sure why the chef recommends it like that, but it was far more flavorful when it came back medium. My first bite I though that the outside of the meat tasted a little burnt or caught, but I guess I grew accustomed to the taste. It was pretty good lamb, served sliced, but I really didn’t care for the white bean and bacon puree. Thankfully the pieces of bacon were large enough to remove, but I thought that the combination just didn’t do the lamb justice. Quite unnecessary. Most everything tasted very fresh however.

Dessert, after being quite rudely interrupted by the waiter was vaguely uneventful and I’m not sure if it was worth the calories. I ordered the smores, and had envisioned something neat that I could put together. Instead it was a melted plate of marshmallow and chocolate over what was apparently homemade graham crackers. So really it was a plate of melted goo. I’m not partial to American chocolate as it is, but I though they could have used better chocolate to make the taste a little more interesting than the goopy mess it was. Mike had a “pina colada” which was a mush of something fruity and creamy in a glass. Not so spectacular.

We were brought the check before we were asked if we’d like coffee, and even though the restaurant was near empty by then, I would have appreciated being encouraged to complete our meal! I did order coffee in the end and it was quite ordinary.

I’d definitely try Tables again, to see if things improve, stay the same or entirely deteriorate. Quite a pleasant meal all around, but certainly isn’t going to be my favorite.

Comments

  1. Amy says:

    I am very sorry you did not enjoy Tables. We really pride ourselves on our menu, food preparation, service and atmosphere. I take your comments to heart, you certainly have the freedom of speech, but I must reply to a few things here.

    I never said the women at the community table were drunk

    The chairs are mismatched and if you were not comfortable, I would have been very happy to get you another

    It does get loud sometimes, it is a small space and really do apologize

    One of our wine lists is a captains list and many restaurants have them, at Tables they are wines that are only sold by the bottle

    In fact there is a uniform at Tables, plaid or patterned shirt, dark jeans, dark shoes and a black apron

    Sorry your “lumberjack” waiter interrupted your conversation, I am sure he did not mean to as he really wanted you to have a great dining experience

    The beets were fresh; they were delivered by one of our organic distributors Friday afternoon and were cooked and peeled at about 4 pm on Friday. Maybe they were a bit earthy for you, but they were fresh

    Our bread comes in everyday from a bakery called Red Mountain, they deliver at about 3:30 am, so I don’t know what to say about that, most really like our bread–and yes it does set the scene

    I also don’t know what to say about the potatoes being dry and crumbly, I tasted a few today and they were great, I didn’t have any yesterday, but they are from the same box as today’s and we roast them with a little s&p, oil and lemon

    I think the lamb was just a personal taste preference, I had someone on Thursday night tell me it was the best lamb they ever had (Bacon, white beans, lemon, mint…and lamb–the combinations really do go well together)

    I am also not a fan of American chocolate which is why we make our fuggy brownie with Callebaut Belgian Chocolate, and why we also use Callebaut to make our chocolate sauce

    I don’t know why your check was brought to you before you were able to have coffee and I will speak to the “lumberjack” about that

    Our coffee is Allegro coffee, an all natural coffee that Whole Foods found so good they just bought the entire company

    I am very surprised that you end your description with “Quite a pleasant meal all around,” it really sounds like it was just horrible. I just you would have let me know about your experience while you were dining with us, I don’t know if I could have made you any happier, but I sure would have tried.

  2. baciamille says:

    I am absolutely delighted that my tiny blog should illicit such a robust response from the owner of Tables on Kearney. But I think that the purpose of writing these things is, as a customer, to express how I feel about the meal. Yes, Amy, it was quite a pleasant meal. Perhaps you overlooked the positives in my post. Look for the words delicious, good and fresh. And yes, it’s entirely personal preference, which is what, each customer who eats in your restaurant experiences. Was the meal perfection? No. Were there things I didn’t like? Yes. Do I personally like bacon with my lamb. No.

    It’s really funny, because we were going to eat at Tables last weekend but opted for somewhere else. Oh yes, we actually chose Jing because we could book through opentable.com – a convenience that I really like. But the other comments that we read on Citysearch.com had a couple of similar things to our Tables experience, including people commenting on the atmosphere and feeling like they were being rushed out of there. Not being offered coffee made me feel like that, and I just confirmed with my husband that the check was just brought to us without us asking. That says they want me out!

    Oh, and just a comment on the beets – I think that I wrote that sentence badly – the beets were entirely fresh, just too earthy for me.

    And I didn’t have the Fuggy Brownie for dessert, it was the Smores.

    And finally, if there was anything about the restaurant that really did make my experience horrible, you can bet that I would have said something. The reason that I’m using my blog as a forum is so that I can have a voice as a diner. And I think that if restaurant owners want to get defensive, they may, and if they want to use it as constructive criticism, they may do so too. I don’t have a dog in the race people. I’m not a food critic. I’m not a culinary professional. I’m just a gal who eats out in restaurants and is entitled to her own opinion, no ifs ands or buts about it!

  3. baciamille says:

    Final comment after breakfast discussion with husband Darian:

    He absolutely says there was a brownie in the dessert, but thought that the chocolate sauce was Hershey’s sauce out of the bottle!

    He also says he’d eat there again.

  4. Amy says:

    Please, don’t be delighted that your blog has me writing to you, our restaurant is our baby and there is nothing funny about this, –of course of It is for you to express how you felt about your meal, as I said, freedom of speech, but…

    I just feel that someone who is not a food critic or professional in this area, should just let people know it IS more about you expressing how you feel about the meal, and not to say it WAS or it WAS not with out having or knowing all the facts. You stated things that just are not true–we do have a uniform, I never said the ladies were drunk, the brownie is the smores and does not use American chocolate, the bacon and white beans are not pureed, the beets are fresh, the bread is not of poor quality. Also, I did not see one comment on city search about feeling rushed…

    Please remember the power of words; you use yours very loosely without full research and knowledge. It is your choice, but remember people read print and see it as fact. Please, I am not being defensive, by any means; I want everyone to have a great experience. My husband and I have put much love and work into our restaurant and please, please be factual

  5. baciamille says:

    Now that’s just silly! This is a blog! Written by an individual! And yes, I am delighted that you read my review and responded. Not laughing. Or joking. Or being funny. Or doing anything other than expressing my opinion. Which you say, twice, that freedom of speech allows me to do. But apparently not when it’s not what you want to hear! Ooh lady, now you’re pushing my buttons. You don’t want me to have freedom of speech, you want me to say nice things about your restaurant!! And I did. READ BACK AND LOOK FOR THE WORDS EXCELLENT AND GOOD. And believe it or not, until your very silly comments, we ENTIRELY INTENDED TO COME BACK!! I said nice things about the parts I enjoyed, and was completely open and honest about the parts I didn’t. If you don’t want to hear what a customer has to say about your restaurant, then don’t read it. This is my blog madam!! I am not purporting to be a “food critic or professional” in any manner. Why do I need “full research and knowledge” to eat in your restaurant? I didn’t realize that I needed an education to be a patron in your establishment. What a silly thing to say! How odd, I thought that restaurants were supposed to cater to the customer. I don’t need facts. I need to express my opinion. Yes, you’re quite correct. The white beans weren’t pureed. My mistake. But I was 100% factual about my experience. 100%. And this was my experience. I don’t have to love your restaurant! And I am entitled to say what I think.

    Lecturing me on how or what I write on my blog is not the right thing to do in this situation. Especially when we quite clearly said that we had intended to try you again. The rap over my knuckles kind of changes that, doesn’t it? In my opinion, of course. Freedom of speech and all, right? And so, ladies and gentlemen, the comments by owner Amy successfully puts paid to us ever going to Tables again.

    And if you’re interested, I copied this directly off CitySearch. It’s entitled “bummer”. One of the 23 comments on your restaurant. I suppose you’re going to contact them immediately too since I don’t think they’re a food critic…

    “08/01/2007 Posted by jowa212

    this restaurant has a strange atmosphere. although the service was good the food was sub par, the dining room was far, far, from intimate, and the owner’s behavior was bizarre to say the least. i couldn’t help but notice that the owner continuously peered over my shoulder, and other guests shoulders to examine how our entrees were cooked. my salmon was way over cooked but i didn’t like the feeling of being spied on while i ate. the dining room setting and sound level would be better fitting in a bar or saloon. we were seated way to close to the people next to us. the final thing which was quite unsettling was the way we were rushed out of their. all in all the experience was uncomfortable and strange and i wouldn’t suggest this “restaurant” to anyone.”

  6. Amy says:

    I don’t just want you to say nice things about my restaurant, once again–something stated that is not true.

    Wow!!! you are one rude mama. Yes this is your blog and I am just commenting about your blog–am I not entitled my opinion?

    Please try and be happy

  7. Noel says:

    Sheez A,

    Maybe you should write some smack about Babbo or Per Se, and get Mario on yo ass.

    GREAT writing, go 1st amendment Lex!!!!

    See ya when we back from the SA.

    Noel.

  8. sylvie says:

    hahahahahah i so want to go there.

  9. robs says:

    What the restaurant should have said is simply ” Sorry, we’ll try harder next time.” Defending themselves like this only makes them seem that they really don’t put their customer first.
    She had a not-such-a–great experience at your restaurant. Deal with it, take it as constructive. And A, keep blogging. I think your comments are as valid as any critic, after all it’s the average Jo or Jill that keeps these people in business.