Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The local dining scene is getting better all the time.

East Cobb, for aeons the province of popular chains and far too many Chinese and Mexican restaurants, now has a real Destination Eatery.

Meanwhile, Roswell - just on the other side of the Fulton County line - has always had a handful of decent restaurants to go with its artsy downtown area. Now, however, they’re starting to move beyond “decent” and into “super duper” territory.

Last night we joined a few friends for dinner at Table & Main, one of the newer establishments in the heart of Roswell. It’s best described as New Southern with a continental touch, with a menu featuring items like sushi-grade ahi tuna and grits, venison shank osso buco, and - yes - fried chicken. And hanger steak, which may not be strictly Southern (unless you’re talking about the south of France), but really, who gives a crap? ’Cause it’s all good.

Charleston She-Crab Soup
Charleston She-Crab Soup with a drizzle of chili oil. Charlestonians wish they had soup this good.

There’s an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and a refreshing degree of focus... by which I mean, the kitchen and bar don’t try to be all things to all people. The bar, for example, zeroes in on American whiskeys: bourbon, rye, and their native brethren, including a few unusual items such as High West Western Oat Whiskey. (Next time I order it, I’m gonna ask for it in a Martini glass, garnished with a few raisins on a toothpick.)

High West Whiskeys
A tasty assortment of High West craft whiskeys from Park City, Utah.  Recommended by the Mormon Tipplenacle Choir.

The food was good. Really good. One of the small plates - Meatloaf Meatballs - consisted of three meatballs with a sweet and sour ketchup-based glaze. Stupendous. If I could get my hands on an entire meatloaf made of that stuff, I’d eat myself silly. Side dishes such as fried green tomatoes with a smoked tomato coulis, beets with Sweetgrass Dairy Li’l Moo and sherry vinaigrette, and Swiss chard with onion and garlic were all expertly prepared and composed - you could easily construct a meal from them.

This is the kind of place where you want to go with friends so you can trade bites and sample several different dishes... yet you won’t want to give away too many tastes of whatever is on your plate. The Southern fried chicken - I snagged a bite from Gary - was huge, perfectly prepared, and very flavorful, with a delightfully crunchy crust. Seared diver scallops had just the right briny sweetness. The venison shank was a bit dry in spots and could have used less salt, but these minor defects were offset by the creamy grits that accompanied it.

I normally try to avoid eating dessert after a meal of such face-stuffing magnitude, but I will confess to having inveigled Gary into sharing an order of the remarkably mousse-like chocolate pudding. Chocolatey but not overly dense, it was a fine coda to an excellent meal.

Did I mention the service? Our server, Susan, was helpful and utterly charming... and Ryan Pernice, the owner, stopped by to chat with me about some of the exotic whiskey selections in which I had evinced an interest.

Table & Main is a most welcome addition to the Roswell dining scene. We’ll be back for more.


Kevin Kim said...

I like how the soup has a fork next to it. Out-of-the-box thinking.

"A fork? Really?"

"Yes: you're supposed to eat the soup using the fork's handle, with the tines in your palm-- while using your other hand to stroke the scalp of the person sitting next to you. Some customers have figured out a way to do all this while also singing."

Elisson said...

There was a spoon, too, Kevin - and it was already in my eager hand.

Kevin Kim said...

When I finally build my avant-garde Restaurant to End All Restaurants, I'll be having my customers eat their various soups with implements ranging from chopsticks to shovels.