bits and pieces

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reviews: Table 10, Regina

Table 10 is the new incarnation of what used to be The Crushed Grape, a wine bar located in the heart of the Cathedral neighbourhood.  Despite good intentions, Table 10 is more accurately a Table 4. Location and potential are its strengths, while bland gastronomical offerings, an uninspired wine list, and candied cocktails are its weaknesses.

Prior to its demise, I had only gone to The Crushed Grape maybe twice, but I had generally nice feelings towards it. Furthermore, there were some scandalous rumours as to its demise that I found charming. Love, betrayal, trysts... all in a wine bar. Like a tiny, Regina based Melrose Place.



Melodrama aside, was Table 10 the best wine bar I had ever been to? Not by a long shot. Was it a bad wine bar? Nah not really. It was FINE but like most trendy/sophisticated/novel things in Regina it was a bit overpriced. Mediocrity is somewhat forgivable when compared to overpriced mediocrity. However, as noted, it wasn't bad.

There had been some generally favourable rumblings in reference to Table 10 and so last week I suggested it as a possible dinner venue for myself and two companions. It was a Saturday night and we didn't have reservations, but "hey," I thought, "this is Regina!". Much to my surprise, Table 10 was very nearly packed when we first arrived. The crowd ranged from early twenties to early sixties, with a few committed stalwarts drinking and gesticulating at the tiny bar.

We took to the patio with our cocktails to await a table. Unfortunately, the drink menu left a great deal to be desired. This is a common complaint I have with restaurants in Regina in general, however, for a bistro which promotes it's wine list, having a martini menu that doesn't feature a single classic drink on it is unforgivable in my books. While some of the cocktails looked interesting (to say the least) and a few even looked appetizing, the lack of standard, classic beverages was notable. Catering to the lowest common denominator with kool-aid blend, uber sweetened cocktails does not make you a grown-up restaurant. I settled on a gin martini, while my comrades made due with a mojito and a horseradish caesar. The martini was OK, however, the glass - like much of my Table 10 experience - was half empty. Literally. A 7$ gin martini made with Beefeaters should be more than half empty in my books. It should be at least half full. The mojito was mixed with Chambord, which while tasty, made the drink taste more like a Shirley Temple than anything. The caesar however, was excellent.

The food came next, and with it a move indoors. I ordered a glass of pinot grigio, and my companions ordered beer. The server recommended a different wine, and while I was skeptical of her recommendation, it was excellent. The wine list at Table 10 is not extensive nor is it particularly creative. The majority of wines are familiar. As the heir to The Crushed Grape in both location and clientele, if Table 10 is not attempting to position itself as a bistro cum wine bar, then more thought and attention should be given to the restaurant concept and brand.

The food itself was mediocre and was not nearly enough to distract from the evidently unfinished repairs and patchily painted ceiling. Overall, the menu itself is uninspired, and on par with more efficient and industrial locales such as the Freehouse.   There is some promise, most evident in the appetizer selection, and the salads also showed flair, both on the menu and in presentation.

Bistro flair? Not quite yet.
The food itself was at best mediocre. Steak served with potatoes and roasted vegetables is about as standard as they come. To make an entree so expected worth its while, at least one if not all elements need to shine in ingredient quality, preparation, and plating. Dishes sampled included the roasted vegetables with buckwheat risotto and the blue cheese and prosciutto stuffed beef burger with a horseradish whiskey sauce. The vegetable dish featured poorly seasoned and grilled vegetables, and a tasteless and soggy risotto as its stars. The burger fared moderately better, although the prosciutto and horseradish whiskey sauce were either missing or so scantily included that they went unnoticed. The burger itself was not revelatory enough to stand alone successfully.

Overall, Table 10 shows potential as they appear to have captured a niche of individuals desperate for an upscale but low key dinner location, however, poor execution of dishes and identity plague this small bistro. Focusing on ingredients, menu cohesion, and culinary execution could send Table 10 in the right direction. Save the creative cocktails, and standard offerings for the occasional table d'hôte or chef's special. Table 10's  positives appears to be their steady brunch crowd and knowledgeable staff.

Dinner and drinks for 3 came to approximately $160 including tax and tip.

Food - 2/5
Wine list - 2.5/5
Service - 4/5
Value - 2/5

In sum? On a Friday night skip Table 10, go to the aforementioned Freehouse, save your money, get better food, worse service, and order the 20$ bottle of prosecco.

Table 10 Restaurant is located at 2118 Robinson St., Regina, Saskatchewan or http://www.table10restaurant.com

3 comments:

  1. I agree with you about Table 10. Pretty generic and uninteresting. We only went for apps and pre-dinner drinks and were fairly underwhelmed.

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  2. Our office party of six ate a fabulous meal with great service on December 13th! Unfortunately the evening ended on a sour note and I will no longer recommend this restaurant to friends or family. Our booth seated five comfortably plus one chair. I suffer from back pain and was sitting on the chair. As we were finishing up our dessert a man (I assumed the manager) came up to me and said he was a chair short for another party and could he take mine. I was dumbfounded and gave it up without thinking. After 5 minutes on the bench I realized I couldn't stay as it was too uncomfortable. I went over to the man behind the bar and told him how unprofessional, inconsiderate and unkind his request was. He mumbled some apology as I walked away. I have frequented this restaurant several times and every visit was special. I am sad it had to end on this note.

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  3. Ugh that sounds AWFUL.

    I've never had an astonishingly BAD time there, however, it's always been decidedly mediocre. I will confess - I do like their brunch quite a bit, and it seems like Regina restaurants are just clueing into the fact that PEOPLE LOVE BRUNCH.

    But like I said, I've always had an 'ehhh' time, and for the amount of money they charge - I expect better. If the dishes were $3-5 less expensive, I'd probably feel less upset about a mediocre meal. But paying $30/person for something bland? I'd honestly rather go to Bonzinis and eat deep fried pickles :D

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