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Monday, August 6, 2012

Peachy Picks Table d'Hote Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

Executive Chef and Owner Bill Knapp

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One step inside Table d'Hote, and you're immediately aware you have embarked upon a journey of culinary bliss where not one detail is overlooked.  Executive Chef and Owner Bill Knapp, who is a total peach, has got a winner of a menu where you can't go wrong with any choice from the pan seared crab cake which literally lit up Peachy's tastebuds to the strong wine selection.  Besides that, if you are dining at Table d'Hote you are also just plain lucky because there are only ten tables and 26 seats total, and in a city as big as New York, you're in a pretty small statistic if you are the one eating there on any given night.  Table d'Hote was first featured in Tasty Tidbits:
and we are pleased to announce it has joined the ranks of Peachy's Picks.
Wine is available by the glass and bottle, and Peachy began with the Domaine Des Marinelles Crozes Hermitage '09 from France.  It was a deep, lush red that was not too sweet and welcomed her into the lovely decor, perhaps reminiscent of the French countryside.  Though Table d'Hote was owned by a couple for 33 years, on September 15, 2011 it was acquired by Bill Knapp and the rest is history.  It has been totally revamped by this 1993 CIA graduate and it's totally professional.  The steak is grass-fed and aged for 29 days and the fish is from the same place that Thomas Keller (of course you all know him though we have yet to work with Per Se...Peachy did meet him at a Bloomberg book signing of The French Laundry Cookbook ages ago) gets his fish from.  Everything but the bread is made on premises.  Andrea was our server and was a stellar one all night.  And, we still like her glasses.
We were delighted to sit near "the bar" and you'll notice at Table d'Hote that everything is just ship-shape not only because people like Bill and Andrea the waitress have their act together but also because it's about the size of a ship!  Bill seems to be most comfortable in the kitchen but if you're lucky he'll come out and say hello.  Be sure to commend him on winning a Halloween trophy which is behind the lamp here.  Though he may seem quiet and unassuming, it is clear that  he is genuinely interested in being a great corporate citizen of the Upper East side.
There is a certain charm exuded by a quaint spot like Table d'Hote with its handwritten chalkboard.  Don't worry if you can't see that far; of course you'll also be handed a menu.
The moment when this sight of pure beauty was placed in front of Peachy and she began to taste it, the world stood still.  We are nearly at 170 posts on dinner reviews now, and you know she always orders crabcakes.  This is among the best she's ever had.  
The crab was incredibly succulent.  The breading aspect was minimal (applause!).  The sauce was perfectly flavored and was in the right quantity-lesser places can put too much sauce to mask their inferior overly-breaded cake.  If Goldilocks Peachy was going through her recent crabcake memory bank, this would be the third one that is JUST RIGHT as the story goes, and she ate it all.  Also, the dining panelist could tell from Peachy's facial expression when she began eating it that it was a true winner.  This person has been watching Peachy eat for a long, long time.  The thinly sliced salad was lovely as well, but you know the star of this plate is on the left.
The appetizer hit parade continued with a bonus course of Bouchot mussels, Saffron, Rouille.  You can see from the bright hues in the photo alone how fresh these ingredients are.  The mussels were terribly flavorful and the saffron added a tremendous kick that spelled summer!  Do not miss these.
With such a strong wine list, Peachy decided to try another and this one was even better.  The Chateau Falfas Bordeaux '08 was another great summer selection, not being too overbearing in the heat for a red.  It had a nice finish, and is a wine Peachy felt was ideal for her entree....drum roll please!
Almost better than the crabcake, and excellent as well in its own right was the Grass Fed Dry Aged Sirloin, Pommes Puree, Grilled Asparagus and Bordelaise Sauce, also joined some delicate and flavorful mushrooms.  
The best steak Peachy has had recently was this one.  The flavor was incredible, the texture was perfect, and everything you'd want to have in a steak was present.  The vegetable assortment was lovely, and the steak was sliced perfectly as well.  
Though Bill has worked at the Gramercy Tavern, Craft and the Boathouse (one of our first reviews), there is something about the warm intimacy of Table d'Hote that absolutely trumps them all because of the unique personal experience and level of attention to detail and excellence.  For dessert, Peachy opted to go her traditional summer berry route:
You must try the Blueberry Peach tart bursting with citrus berry sauce and flavor.  This combination is both refreshing and delicious and with an added dollop of blueberry creme to the left, is absolutely divine.  There is absolutely nothing to find fault with at Table d'Hote and we can't wait to go back.  They even had daises in the loo for all the Farmington graduates reading-clearly Bill is reading too.  If you haven't been to Table d'Hote, you should stop depriving yourself of true culinary excellence.
Our esteemed panelist adds:
Tucked away on a tiny serene block on east 92nd Street, Table d’Hôte is truly a unique dining experience in Manhattan. Sitting in the cozy 10 table restaurant with a French Country décor, I truly felt that I was no longer in the city and was ready to relax and enjoy a wonderful meal. Chef Bill Knapp has taken his years of experience at Grammercy Tavern and Craft and set out on his own, and 7 days a week he is in the kitchen, running this fine restaurant. This meal is one of the most memorable of 2012!
Our waitress Andrea was so knowledgeable and pleasant and she gave great advice about wine and the menu. I started with one of the specials, heirloom tomatoes with homemade mozzarella. Bill tells us he goes to the farmer’s market for the freshest vegetables, and the multi-colored tomatoes stood on their own, full of flavor and health, with a great mozzarella to balance the dish. 
 The Foie Gras was perfectly smooth, tasty and a bit sweet, and the rhubarb chutney on the side was a true highlight as well, with a lovely crunch and both a tart and fruity bite. I could have had this as an appetizer on its own. Andrea helped me choose well for my main dish of the Braised Lamb Shank. 
 The lamb, which must have been slowly tended to in Bill’s kitchen, was amazingly tender and really came right off of the bone. The homemade Spaetzle was incredible as well, in a flavorful broth with perfectly cooked spinach. I would highly recommend this dish and if I returned would be tempted to have it again. After I described what type of red wine I prefer, Andrea led me to the Pagos de Quintana Riber Del Duero from Spain; it was smooth with a lovely ruby color and just a touch of spiciness.
For dessert I tried the Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake. Any fresh strawberries with Chantilly Crème will usually call my name, but the wonderful Rhubarb Scone was just the right texture to balance the dessert. For something on the lighter side, I am still thinking about the Watermelon Lime Granita. Perfect for a summer night and after a substantial meal, this specialty was so refreshing with cool watermelon cubes, delightfully lime-tinged crushed ice bits with orange blossom syrup.
At Table d’Hôte both the menu and the space are small, but everything is incredibly well executed. This attention to every detail, which unfortunately is sometimes lost in larger establishments, is a reason to plan a visit to this gem!

Peachy Picks Table d'Hote!
Table d'Hote is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

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