Many of us have a favorite restaurant. I know I certainly have a few places that come to mind when I think of Lexington or other cities I frequent. That being said, part of the many reasons why people come back is what’s on the menu and knowing that when you sit down at your table, those dishes you know and love will still be there unchanged for your dining pleasure.
Then, there’s a restaurant like Table Three Ten, which proves that a little (or even a lot of ) change is a good thing as long as you’re doing it right.
Table Three Ten was set on 310 W. Short Street thanks to husband-and-wife owners Krim Boughalem and Andrea Sims. Each brings their own respective specialties in design and dining.
Sims’ aesthetic sensibilities and the historic space that once housed her father’s law office come together for something special. Décor, aside from a lovely mural, is minimal with perfect lighting inside and a full-windowed front giving you a nice view of the activity on the street. But the modern rejuvenation still keeps the spirit of the historic space, leaving the character of the original ceiling, floors and walls untouched. No wonder it won a Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation award.
While the space is arresting on its own, it’s what’s in your glass and on your plate -- along with Boughalem’s philosophy behind it -- that will sell you on Table Three Ten.
First, there’s its first-rate wine list, offering a literal world of selections that are either organic or biodynamic that you can try by the sample, glass, carafe or bottle. Plus, the bartenders will have no problem matching you up with a crisp white wine for your fromage and charcuterie plates or the perfect red come entrée time.
Some may characterize Table Three Ten as specializing in small plates. Sure, they do have almost two-dozen types of cheeses and a selection of cold cuts that will allow you to compare Spanish and Kentucky hams. But to Boughalem, there’s much more to it. Since opening last year, Table Three Ten has been a completely market-driven restaurant.
Whereas most restaurants may change their menu and some change it every season, Table Three Ten changes its main menu up to 12 times a year. The menu is small so that they can have the most control over the fresh ingredients that go into each dish, making almost everything in house down to the pickles and the mustard. Of course, this doesn’t include the blackboard menu at the front of the restaurant, which offers entrees that changes almost weekly, keeping the customer and exceptional kitchen staff on its toes.
This particular week, I was treated to two kinds of oysters to get things going, one being the Kusshi oysters from Washington state with their clean, classic flavor and some Island Creek oysters from Massachusetts, which got a unique treatment with some light grilling in the shell and a buffalo glaze, bring warmth and spice to this delicious dish that could win over your squeamish oyster detractor.
That wouldn’t be the first time my taste buds were caught off guard. The beet salad that followed, accompanied with pistachios, olive oil and arugula would have been delicious on its own, but the slivers of candied grapefruit on top provided tartness that was unexpected but certainly not unwelcome.
Then, there were some amazing entrees from the blackboard menu. The Asian-inspired and succulent pork belly was braised in ginger beer, served with a smear of burned miso and thin ribbons of carrots and sliced watermelon radishes tossed in a sesame ponzu vinaigrette. Then, there was a rabbit fricassee, a savory dish that would be a perfect meal as the temperature starts to drop.
Depending on whether you have an entrée or go the small-plate-and-glass-of-vino route may determine whether you have room for dessert. Regardless, you’d be a fool to pass it up. My night included a chocolate cheesecake custard with caramelized peanut butter. People, it’s not as good as it sounds. It’s better.
You will have a hard time topping Table Three Ten if you’re looking for one of the most unique restaurant experiences this city has to offer – not to mention one of the best. Needless to say, this Table needs to save me a seat for future visits.