I was treated to a fancy schmancy dinner this evening. I, along with a few of my fellow co-workers, were invited to dinner as a thank you through work. It was only six of us at dinner so we were able to enjoy each other's company and have great conversation.
We ate at a fairly new restaurant in Columbia, The Oak Table. The Oak Table serves "modern American cuisine," in their words. In my words, they serve southern food with an elegant twist. For real, not even kidding. That's how I would put it.
So, I'm not even going to pretend to be a food critic. I probably have the least sophisticated palate of any adult. Now, five year olds I can take the cake, without a doubt. I know my happy meals and ice cream sundaes. But, what I can bring to this review of sorts, is to give some insight to my fellow picky eaters. I know I'm not the only one. I can't be. Not possible.
Our table ordered an appetizer, the Ricotta Gnudi - pulled from their menu, "Beaufort shrimp, Edisto Island chanterelles, cherry tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, City Roots long beans, lemon extra virgin olive oil."
To my surprise, I tried this and I liked it. Yes, I meant to put that sentence together in that order. I was very surprised that I tried it. It was very good, but I couldn't have eaten more than a spoonful. The texture was incredibly soft and smooth and would have just made me shiver after more than one tablespoon or so. Keeping it real here y'all.
Now, had I been eating with my best friend, I would have ordered a bunch of sides - french fries (aka duck fat truffled frites), mac and cheese, and potatoes. But, I was not with my bff.
I had to branch out. I ordered the Carolina Heritage Farms Pork Chop.
The pork chop is served with "sweet corn dinner grits, Rawl Family Farms collard greens, cherry tomatoes, Granny Smith apple gastrique." The Granny Smith apple gastrique is totally what pulled me in. I love some granny smith apples. Now of course I didn't get the collards because, those are green, and I don't eat green things. I ordered the Oak Table Baked Mac because it sounded heavenly - "gorganzola, sharp cheddar, fontina, mascarpone, smoked gouda, goat cheese, Taleggio, and fresh cavatelli."
First the pork chop - the presentation was gorgeous. The pork chop was very good. It was very tender and cooked a perfect medium. But, the sweet corn from the grits over-powered the gastrique. I really didn't care for the grits at all. The sweet corn added to the grits (hello, that's already corn!) was just too much. [I prefer Paul's insanely amazing secret recipe grits. Just sayin.]
The baked mac & cheese was, how do I say this, a let down. I am a mac & cheese expert. (remember? five year old palate) The first bite had me. I even said "this is amazing," but after the first bite I wasn't impressed. You know how sometimes you are anticipating something to be so good that you just say it is before evaluating?? Yeah, that's what happened. I've had better mac & cheese before. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't great.
Overall, I had a lovely evening and really enjoyed the company. I love where I work and the people I work with. I especially love that we said a blessing, amongst colleagues.
This was my pleasedonttakethistooseriously review of The Oak Table.
Everyone at the table loved their food and it is all extremely well presented. Also! I almost forgot - the service was wonderful. Our server knew the menu very well and fit right in with our group. The atmosphere was great too. It felt very comfortable with the Southern charm I'd expect from a sister restaurant in Charleston.
If you're a foodie, I'd say go check out The Oak Table. As for me, I will stick with Chick-Fil-A.