Table Fifty-Two: A welcome addition to the Gold Coast

August 08 2007 - 1:56 PM

My fiancee and I were walking down the street when we noticed that an old neighbor of hers had opened a restaurant on Elm Street, which he told us about a while back.  The restaurant, Table Fifty-Two, is a small, homey restaurant paying homage to the chef’s Southern roots.   In a place open just three days, we wanted to beat the potentially-forthcoming hype and the crowds.

To start out, we were pleasantly surprised the restaurant was BYOB (we were told only for a week, though), so I quickly rushed to my fiancee’s place and grabbed a bottle of fine.  We were given a gratis treat of yummy goat cheese biscuits to start out.

For our appetizers we had a twist on a southern treat, fried green
tomatoes Napoleon with goat cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, and tomato
and olive tapanede.  The fried tomatoes were neither greasy nor heavy,
and it came with deviled eggs as well, which I skipped because it’s the
one thing I cannot eat.

Next, I ordered shrimp served on a bed of stone-ground grits mixed
with cheese.  There’s a huge difference in texture from regular grits,
I realized, not having had this variety before, and it hands down is
far superior to the bland, mild, store-bought variety.

For the main course I had lamb chops, cooked medium rare (which slid
nicely off the knife) and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette and served
on a bed of cooked Swiss chard and collard greens.   My fiancée ordered
the arugula salad (the moist farmers’ market fresh variety, not company
cafeteria salad bar crap) with grilled peaches, and it was served with
a delicious dressing, which was succulent and bursting with flavor,
though it was maybe just a tiny bit overdone.   It was served with a
decadent, although not too heavy, three-cheese side macaroni (or
rather, penne) and cheese.

Even though we were both already bursting at the seams, we split
what was called hummingbird cake, which was a white cake with a sort of
sour-cream frosting that included pineapples, bananas, and coconut and
served with ice cream.   It was amazingly moist and delicious for a
cake, and even though we thought we would have a few bites and take it
home we ate the whole thing. 

The atmosphere was relaxing and not crowded when we were there, with
a copper ceiling with beige walls and a fireplace, and a few times Art
Smith, the chef, walked around to us and all the other tables asking
how everything was going.  This is a great place for noveau Southern
cuisine and it is a wonderful way to stuff yourself silly.

Table Fifty-Two
52 W. Elm St.
312-573-4000

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