Table X @ Home – Salt Lake City, UT
Updated: Feb 23, 2021
One of the cooler trends we've been seeing emerge during the pandemic from restaurants are take-home, heat-and-eat style dinners. These take the fuss out of meal planning and also are an important source of income for restaurants offering such services. I hadn't had the chance to try such a thing yet, instead preferring to resort to things like Postmates or Uber Eats when I didn't feel like cooking.
When I proposed to Melia and JR, my dear friends in Salt Lake City, that we meet up at their place for brunch mimosas during my Valentine's weekend trip, they countered that instead of just mimosas I join in their take-home feast from Table X, one of the most exciting restaurants in Salt Lake City right now, which dubbed their take-home meal offering "Table X @ Home." The kitchen staff of Table X (they don't seem to have a centralized "Chef" as much as a team of chefs) reached the semifinals for the Mountain region of the James Beard Award this year, and they've now won one of Salt Lake Magazine's VERY reliable "Best Restaurants" awards three years running, so it seems the accolades are steadily building since they opened a few years ago.
I dined at Table X a couple of summers ago when it was brand new and had a wonderful time enjoying their nine-course tasting menu, and have since been looking forward to the opportunity to return to indulge in one of their wonderful tasting menus (the only bona fide tasting menu in Utah, I believe, and the first regular tasting menu in SLC since Forage shuttered years ago... I still weep). But, with the pandemic doing what it's doing, in a cold-weather city where you can't dine outdoors in February, I preferred to taste Table X's new offerings at "home" with trustworthy friends who had been isolated for months rather than in a dining room full of strangers.
Sunday morning delivered the snowy roads and icy car I was promised, but I managed wrestle myself away from my Valentine and dig out the car to make my way down to Melia and JR's cozy house in the Millcreek neighborhood armed with a couple bottles of bubbly. First up was a Grand Cru Champagne from Roland Champion that I saved for Valentine's Eve but didn't get to the night before; this version was 100% Chardonnay––a clean, aromatic, and green and yellow fruit-driven expression that went down a little too easy given my empty stomach! A killer deal for a Grand Cru Champagne, too. We then enjoyed prosecco-based mimosas with fresh-squeezed juice of blood oranges, which are currently in season!
Table X's take-home package includes a helpful card with the menu and instructions for preparation. The first item was a salad of glorious mixed greens from a local farm complete with a blood orange vinaigrette, citrus-marinated olives, burrata cheese, orange rind, and a burnt blood orange slice to squeeze over the top of each salad before serving. Salad is a natural choice for a make-at-home sort of menu, and the greens were plenteous and elements delicious. A great way to highlight several different flavor profiles that can be included in a salad, such as tang, sweetness, salinity, and even umami.
Along with the meal was a gorgeous loaf of sourdough served with house butter. They instructed us to keep the butter at room temp and heat the bread in the oven for just a few minutes before serving dinner. The bread was fantastic, and having a slice of warm bread really did make it feel like we were being served right from the restaurant kitchen!
JR has been digging deeper into the wine world lately and actually called to ask the chefs at Table X what wine they would recommend with their take-home entrée. The chefs were apparently delighted to be asked, and they recommended a native grape variety from Spain that is a relative of tempranillo. Utah, despite its draconian liquor laws, actually does a pretty good job curating its wine selection in state liquor stores, and this red was loaded with red fruit and floral notes, but had a good amount of structure yet a silky mouthfeel that complemented the main course perfectly.
I have to say I was a bit skeptical that you could produce restaurant-quality food through reheating; I am happy to say I was proven wrong. After 25 minutes in the oven, melty pieces of slow-cooked short rib Bourguignon were just as tender and flavorful as when they'd first been cooked, and accompanied by root veg, cabbage, and a mouthwatering sauce that was particularly good when sopped up by the provided bread. Absolutely wonderful, and something I now want to try my hand at cooking on a chilly day!
Dessert was, of course, also included in Table X's little "@ Home" package––two little chocolate ganache tarts (since the meal was for two) with banana caramel and hazelnut cream. JR and Melia were kind enough to give me one whole tart as a guest and split the other. The tart was delicious and required little prep, and actually worked fairly nicely with the few leftover splashes of wine (and look at these gorgeous designer plates Melia has!).
After dinner, Melia made me a pair of her incredible "botanical G and T" concoctions, complete with Beehive Gin from Utah and all manner of delicious floral things, like Crème de Violette, rose water, and a fragrant bubbly peach cider. After two of them and all the wine we'd had earlier, I was feeling pretty grand but wasn't really looking forward to the overnight flight home!
We should support restaurants in whatever way we can––the livelihoods of so many depend on our help. This is especially true of local, bespoke places. Don't order from Olive Garden; they're fine and they'll still be around when this is over. Find that family-owned Italian place that has takeout, or the little hole-in-the-wall sushi counter. Take-home meals like this can be the lifeblood of restaurants and key to their survival in this difficult time. If you're in Salt Lake, check out Table X (and other local spots), or if you're elsewhere, see if your favorite local restaurant is offering comparable options.
I am so happy I got to spend an afternoon with good friends; all of us had negative tests or had been isolated at home, so we felt comfortable being around each other for just a jolt of social recharge. Much needed, and the take-home meal kit was a wonderful vehicle for the experience!