In my post about Craft Cocktails in Asheville I mention The Imperial Life above Table and how I knew I would like this place when I walked up and saw a sign featuring a pig with a top hat and monocle dangling from a window out front.
Chef Jacob Sessorns’ menu is American, maybe a tad Southern, but there are lots of additional global influences in the dishes he creates using food from regional purveyors.
The restaurant is tiny, so make reservations and don’t plan any super serious conversations, unless you want to share them with your neighbors at tables placed just far enough away for a server to squeeze through. Despite the lack of space, the dim lighting and big, glittering windows still manage to give Table an intimate, romantic feel.
On our visit I started with a couple of raw oysters—surprise, surprise—and of course they were delicious, but the mignonette really stood out—I actually insisted on keeping it to dip my bread in. We also went for the bone marrow with grapefruit marmalade, celery, shallot and toast. Okay, bone marrow is another dish I have trouble resisting, but the grapefruit marmalade made this dish sing—the sweet, tart citrus flavors were a delicious pairing for the buttery marrow.
Not to skimp on appetizers, we chose the Coddled Duck Egg as well. A little ramekin arrived at our table and it was stuffed with the egg, collard greens, beech mushrooms, buffalo cheese, then topped with pan grattato (fancy word for bread crumbs). The textures and creamy flavors sung here—all kinds of crunchy, creamy, chewy, and very rich. It disappeared waaaay to quickly.
For entrees—yes we ordered entrees after all that—we went with the gnocchi topped with rutabaga fonduta, blood orange, pecan, fennel and collards. Again here, the fun with flavors and textures is what stood out—creamy, sweet, crunchy, tart, savory… even my boyfriend who normally isn’t too excited about meat-free food loved this dish.
And then, the piece de resistance—lamb shank for two. Since it was Valentine’s Day weekend, there a few dishes designed for couples and this one did not disappoint. Perfectly falling off the bone lamb was accompanied by Southwestern-spiced Brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes and corn cakes. It was an enormous amount of food and we took some home.
Overall, we were impressed with the range and quality of the cuisine. I’d definitely suggest sampling the distinctive, creative menu.