X
    Categories: Eat & Drink

First Bite: Table X

I’d never even noticed this building before—the brick box off the corner of 1450 and 3300 S. used to be a cheese aging facility back in a day I was never part of. It’s not exactly dazzling and frankly, I enter new restaurants with a considerable trepidation, anyway.

But—designers from Parallel Lines and Andrea Beecher of M3LD design refinished the old birch floors, removed the dropped ceiling to reveal a barrel roof, used the reclaimed lumber to build a raised vegetable garden behind the building

and installed a gleaming open kitchen with a marble dining bar along with some cushy booths and stylish tables and chairs. Table X nails the point where industrial design meets comfort and the result is one of the best looking restaurants in Salt Lake City.

Then, seated at the counter, looking into the kitchen, we see cooks pulling small crusty loaves out of the oven and slicing them into chunks before putting them on boards and digging a lump of butter for each serving out of a crock.The daily bread schedule is printed on a whiteboard to our right. The milk from Rosehill Dairy is cultured into crème fraiche before it is churned into butter.

And at that point, my trepidation vanished and I could have been done. Because I think that bread and butter and wine are the epitome of man’s culinary achievement. And a kitchen that recognizes the possible perfection of a simple food like butter is rare and wonderful.

But we had been invited for a tasting menu, and there was lots more to come. An amuse: a pate of pork and chanterelles spread on a lightly sweet English-style biscuit.

“We get a whole pig and break it down ourselves,” says Mike Blocher, one of the three chef-owners. And then they use it all. This particular spread used meat from the head.

A server shows me the vegetable platter, which included chile-cured pumpkin along with popped sorgum; our next course was brined cauliflower in a smooth beet-coconut Thai curry puree. We swirled the cauliflorets in the magenta mixture and licked our beety fingers.

Smoked sunchoke nested in the bottom of a bowl smeared with a green paste of sunflower seeds and stems; the sweetness of a patty of raw Morgan Valley lamb was accentuated with a combination of brined and plumped dried carrots;

a square of seared trout over barbecued cannelli beans was covered with fermented peppers;

a cut of rare organic beef was sauced with black garlic.

Finally, a cake of dense Solstice chocolate was sandwiched with orange meringue two ways—fluffed and dried into an ethereally light sweet wafer balanced on top.

In short, I’m as excited about the food at Table X as I’ve ever been about a Salt Lake restaurant. All three chefs, Blocher, Nick Fahs and David Barboza have worked mostly in kitchens outside of Utah and together they bring a fresh perspective to the plate—reversing the old center-of-the-plate cliche by preparing fresh vegetables with such a layering of flavors and techniques that they become co-stars, not supporting players, to the protein.

The flatware was heavy and smooth in the hand, the forks and spoons made a lovely scrape against the hand-thrown pottery plates and bowls, our napkins were re-folded when we returned to the table and the wine, beer and cocktail list was considered, concise and well-priced—all civilized and proper details that make dining a complete experience, pleasant for all the senses.

I’m eager to hear about everyone else’s experience at Table X, and to eat what happens next.

 

Mary Brown Malouf :Mary Brown Malouf is the Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.