News & Features

Pop-Up Eats in Evanston

September 10 2013 - 9:00 AM

Under The Table, a new pop up restaurant located in Evanston, is serving up more than five course brunches and dinners; they’re serving up an experience.  The intimate 18-seat dining room is situated inside an unmarked storefront on Chicago avenue and is run by three suburban 22-year-olds: Chikoo Patel, Anthony Scardino, and Max Mora. Service is currently limited to weekends only, with brunch and dinner seatings offered via an online ticketing system. I recently had the chance to check out the brunch service on a lovely Sunday morning.

Under the Table Dining Room

Each menu’s course was served to all diners simultaneously, while the chef who prepared the dish explained its preparation. The intimate seating allows for discussion of the dishes and the interesting way in which they are plated. You definitely have to be comfortable getting to know the people around you. The close contact with other diners also allowed you to compare the plating of your dish with others’. Portion sizes during brunch tended to differ from plate-to-plate.

Brunch courses included a take on shrimp and grits with blue cheese, which had a great cheesy flavor but was overly salted. Another reinvented brunch dish was the perfectly crispy fried frog leg with yogurt and brioche. Dinner courses include oysters with bacon, egg, and lemon and a lobster dish with Old Bay and tarragon. Both brunch and dinner end on the same sweet note with a mango upside down cake topped with eggnog poured over it table side.

Beverage options at brunch included French press coffee and mimosas, as well as a selection of wine and beer. At the dinner seating, guests have the option of adding a wine pairing or sampling one of four craft cocktails. All beverages are an added cost on top of the ticket price.

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Brunch tickets are $35 for five courses, and dinner tickets are $55. I can only speak to the value of the brunch menu but I felt the price was right. Yes, each course is fairly small, but they add up. You’re paying for the unique experience, the added interaction with chefs, and the semi-exclusivity. At $55 for five courses, I’m not sure dinner would be as good of a value, depending on portion sizes. Did I leave hungry? No. Would I have like a larger slice of that mango cake? Absolutely.

Weekend brunch and dinner seatings will continue through September,  so be sure to check it out soon. For more information, visit Under the Table’s website.

Have you ever dined at a pop up restaurant? If so, what was the best part of the experience?

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