community table in washington, ct

I’ve been impatient all Spring. Waiting for the weekend when we’d have time for a road trip to Washington, CT. Community Table first appeared on my radar when Chef Joel Viehland was featured in Food + Wine magazine. I couldn’t help but be impressed by his resume in New Orleans, working with the ubiquitous Emeril Lagasse and chefs of Herbsaint and Stella. Our meal at Scott Boswell’s French Quarter restaurant was one of my favorites of 2010! After the Big Easy, Chef Viehland found work in the prestigious kitchen at Noma in Copenhagen. For the past 2 years, Noma has been ranked #1 in the world by S. Pellegrinos’s 50 Best Restaurants. When I realized Community Table was only 50 miles from our house, it went on my list of must-try restaurants. Really it was a bit more like straight to the top of my list.

Earlier this year I was also on a vacation planning hot streak. I’ve never been to Northern Europe and I wanted to visit a Scandinavian country. My passport has been gathering dust since our honeymoon (and our 5th anniversary is right around the corner).  This obsession was of course initiated by (and fueled with) photographs: Ditte Issager’s shots from the fantastically gorgeous Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine. An Anthropologie shoot in Sweden. A catalog of Norway fjord trips arrived in our mailbox and I read it cover-to-cover. When I found out this sales brochure had been thrown out, I rescued it from the recycling pile. I only mention my crazy travel fantasy so you can understand another reason why I was so excited to dine at Community Table.

Thanks to Peter Talbot Architects, there is a beautiful, but spare design aesthetic that feels perfectly in sync with the efforts of the kitchen.

From ingredients (locally grown and procured) to the signature communal table of 12 and its no reservations policy, this restaurant seeks to support and connect the various elements within a community. Everyone has an equal shot at dining here. If you know what it’s like to attempt a reservation at the latest ‘it’ restaurant in NYC, you can quickly appreciate this democratic opportunity.

I was hoping to try Bantam Bread Company, but I believe our selection was from Wave Hill Bread in Wilton, CT

Grilled Spring Vichyssoise
grilled ramp vinaigrette

Tempura Soft Shelled Crab
chili glaze, pea shoot, carrot, cucumber & herb salad

Emerson’s Jamaican Jerk Empanadas
beef, cumin, coriander, yogurt, chimichurri

Pan Roasted Trout
quinoa & pine nut salad, roasted red onion & preserved lemon relish

My appreciation of good food comes from my stepfather.  He is a no-nonsense gourmand and doesn’t appreciate a camera intruding on his plate. I can’t say I blame him. When his entree came out slightly behind everyone else’s, he wasn’t waiting around for me to get a shot of his duck. It may have been the birthday of his only child, but he wasn’t letting his food get cold. This was for the best. I like the bit of action in this shot.

Lola Duck
wild carrot, radish, musque de provence pumpkin, rhubarb gastrique

Skate Wing
grilled asparagus, sorrel, puttanesca vinaigrette

Grilled Flank Steak
roasted sunchokes, mushrooms, spinash, grilled ramps & blue cheese vinaigrette

Grilled Rhubarb with Birch
white chocolate yogurt sauce, woodruff meringues, peach sorbet

Selection of artisanal cheeses
Fresh Chevre (Beltane Farm | Lebanon, CT)
Black Ledge Blue (Cato Corners | Colchester, CT)
Ouray (Sprout Creek Farm | Poughkeepsie, NY)

Layered Chocolate Cake with Nut Feuilletine
walnut ice cream

Are we going to Norway, Sweden or Denmark in 2011? Nope. Conferences and family plans crept onto the calendar and suddenly there was not enough vacation time left to embark on the trip I had imagined. Instead, I’d be happy with another trip to Community Table.  We also eagerly await the August Outstanding in the Field event with Chefs Michel Nischan and Joel Viehland.

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1 Comment

  1. Also keep in mind, corkage fee is a very reasonable $8!

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