Table X opened in Fall 2016, instantly creating buzz in the Salt Lake City restaurant scene. The New American cuisine and focus on local ingredients were nothing new, but the three chefs were — at least new to Utah. Even the building, on 1457 East 3350 South, seemingly appeared out of nowhere despite being there since the 1930s.
But more than all that, it was the food getting most of the attention.
Chefs and co-owners Mike Blocher, Nick Fahs, and David Barboza all recently relocated to Utah from the east coast, bringing worldwide culinary experience (literally) to the table. All three have a passion for local ingredients and eating in-season, hence the on-site garden and constantly evolving menu.
Their focus for Table X is honest food without the fussiness of fine dining. Some people might argue with the fine dining aspect based on the prices, but the atmosphere of the restaurant is refreshingly casual. The space is open, yet intimate, and I appreciated that it was bright and welcoming. (There’s nothing worse than eating in the dark!)
As with everything in life, it’s all about the details. And Table X knows how to get them right.
It’s all in the details at Table X in Salt Lake City
Table X’s menu changes almost daily (each menu edition is numbered at the bottom — cue cute detail alert). It’s split into three sections — Snacks, Appetizers, and Entrees — that can be ordered traditionally or small plates style. A 5-course Tasting Menu is available for a shockingly affordable $55/person. We were tempted by the tasting, but wanted to try some dishes not included in it, so instead ordered a bunch of small plates to start, followed by entrees.
Table X is certainly not unique in serving bread to start the meal, but the bread itself is definitely different. Baked on-site by Chef Blocher, the bread is the kind of mind-blowing loaf that makes you question every other bread you’ve eaten. Honestly I would have been happy eating six more pieces and calling it a night. :)
I like the idea of smaller appetizer options in addition to regular-sized appetizers. It gives the menu a sort of mix-and-match kind of quality. We did just that, picking a snack alongside an appetizer. We ordered the Smoked Octopus Tacos ($10) with celeriac, lime, and jalapeño. It was the perfect combination of flavor and texture.
As tempting as the Morgan Valley Lamb Tartare ($12) sounded, we went for the Mint-Nettle Gnocchi ($14). Shiitake mushrooms, roasted shallot, and dried olive crumb enhanced the gnocchi, creating a wonderful flavor that really went well together. Probably my favorite dish, despite its simplicity.
We also ordered the Vegetable Steak ($22) to split for the table out of pure curiosity. Listed under entrees, the vegetarian dish consisted of parsnips, rutabaga and potato rolled into a “steak,” served with pickled shallots and greens on a bean curd puree. It was surprisingly flavorful and everyone liked it, but it would have been disappointingly small for an entree.
Because I’m a sucker for pork chops, I ordered the Christensen Farm Berkshire Pork ($32), served with slow-roasted celeriac and a side of red cabbage sauce. It was probably my least favorite dish of the night.
I’ve heard several people gush about the scallops at Table X and luckily they are still on the menu. That night the scallops ($28) were served with spring greens, barley, fava bean, and pork consommé.
Despite being unbelievably full, we had to try the desserts. Two, to be exact. The Dark Chocolate Mousse ($9) with ginger, chocolate crumb, and coconut ice cream, was lovely and light. (Plus it was so pretty!) The Olive Oil Cake ($9) with hazelnut tuile, thyme, and gorgonzola custard was heavy on the savory side, leaving me wishing the the custard was a bit sweeter.
Of all the details at Table X that were on point, the most memorial were those that don’t show up in pictures. Mostly, the atmosphere at Table X is what will entice me to return more than anything. The way everyone in the restaurant was laughing and having a good time — both guests and staff. How all three chefs made an appearance at our table to say hello. How the service was excellent, and how the food tasted like it was prepared with love.
The smaller plates stole the show for me, so next time I’ll be trying the tasting menu or combining the snacks and appetizers to create a shareable meal. But I’ll definitely be back!