So now that we are familiar with its environment and key players, let's explore The Table Orlando's raison d'être.
After an extended sparkling-infused reception, we were invited to take our seats at "the table." With a game of musical chairs concluded, and post Loren welcoming us into "this extension of her home kitchen," we settled in to enjoy the fruits of our chefs labors.
A dinner at the restaurant is generally a five-course affair but, for this evening, six courses were served. More value for money. The menus were distributed at this time. They were printed on cream-colored, high-quality stock which was tri-folded and secured with a brown wax seal embossed with an archaic-looking letter T in its center. The courses and pairings were as shown below.
Course 1: Foie Gras Panna Cotta with Shaved Black Summer Truffle, Roasted Calamyrnia and Grissini for "dip dip". Paired with Billecart-Salmon NV "Brut Reserve, Mareuil-Sur-Ay, Champagne
Course 2: Poached Sweetbreads, Herbed Pappardelle, Apple Daikon Salad. Paired with Verget 2009 "Grand Elevage" (Chardonnay), Macon-Villages, Burgundy
Course 3: Bouillabaisse. Local Sheephead, Lobster, Clams, Calamari, Classic Rouille. Paired with Lafon Rochet 2009 "Lafon-Roset" Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Estephe
Course 4: Wagyu Strip Loin "Tartar" with Lake Meadow "Egg Custard," Purple Peruvian, Royal Trumpets "Ragu", Fresh Black Truffles. Paired with Valter Scarbolo 2006 "Campo del Viotto" (Merlot), Venezia Giulia.
Cheese Course: Homemade Goat Crackers, Thomasville Tomme, 5-year-aged Gouda, Fromage D'Affinois, Petite Salad Champagne Grapes. Paired with La Follette 2009 "Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Course 6: Flan and Pavlova, Peach, Blackberries. Paired with Rancho de Oro Puro Vineyards 2005 Napa Valley Late Harvest
This was a classic lesson in food preparation and presentation and marrying it with the appropriate wines. The Bouillabaisse, for example, provided great contrasts between the color, texture, and mouthfeel of the lobster and the same characteristics of the calamari yet they were both harmoniously accommodated by the Lafon Rochet, a Cabernet Sauvignon Rose with an earthy, peppery feel. The Wagyu Strip Loin and the Merlot was also a great pairing as the Merlot did not impress much when it stood alone. But when paired with the meat (which had been cooked for 4 hours yet retained the tartare look, feel, and flavor) and egg (which itself had been cooked for 1 hour), the wine shone.
This was an excellent experience overall. The atmosphere, food, wine, and service were special. There were adequate pauses between courses that lent to unhurried clearing of the plates from the most recent course, conversation with table mates between courses, and delivery of the plates associated with the upcoming course. The wait staff was kind, caring, courteous, and equipped with ready smiles. In addition to supplying guests with ample amounts of wine, staff were always ready to pour water into your glass, water which is carbonated in-house using a seven-stage reverse osmosis process. Fidel hovered continuously in the background, answering questions and pouring wine. The chefs (Loren especially) spent a considerable amount of time with us: welcoming us initially; introducing the courses; and then conversing with each of us individually at the culmination of the meal (itself a long and languid process as we sat around reveling in what we had just experienced).
We had each of us brought wines to have after the official dinner (remember, there is only one seating per night) but we were so complete that we took them all back home. After four-and-a-half hours of great food and wine we were spent. Thanks for the experience The Table Orlando.
According to Loren, the target audience for the restaurant is "people who are passionate about food and wine" and it is hoped that, after experiencing what The Table has to offer, they will pass the word on. The restaurant is open to the public on Friday and Saturday and closed for private events Tuesday through Thursday. The cost for the dining experience is $100 per person, an excellent value in my estimation. The goal, according to Loren, is to have a different menu from Friday to Saturday in order to ensure a completely different experience for someone choosing to dine at the restaurant on both days.
You will not regret a decision to try this establishment. I enjoyed the experience so much that I am going back this Saturday.