Table Talk

Charcuterie emerges as early favorite at Table

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKNEWS
Sang Lakhani is a co-founder of Table at 21 E. Fifth Ave. in the Short North.
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Even Sang Lakhani is surprised by the popularity of charcuterie at the Table, her latest Short North venture.

Platters of cured meats, pate, rillettes and cheese served with wholegrain mustard, pickles and homemade bread have developed a dedicated following at the restaurant, which has been open just shy of two weeks at 21 E. Fifth Ave.

"This stuff is jamming," she said. "I've even had people coming in and ordering it for breakfast."

But it's also a work in progress, as the restaurant intends to make most of its own cured and smoked meats and cheeses in-house, including bacon, ham, chorizo and other sausages, Lakhani said. Some softer cheeses, such as ricotta and mozzarella, are house made.

Meanwhile, the place has two bakers -- Nina Hernandez and Perrie Wilkof -- and Terry Troster, a professional bread-maker.

"I really want everything to be made in-house," Lakhani said. "We still have a ways to go. I'm still buying ketchup."

The Table, opened by Lakhani and Jennifer Marlatt, is the latest attraction in the emerging area of the Short North, just south of campus, which includes Middle West Spirits, Brothers Drake Meadery, Out of the Closet and American Apparel.

"I love the Short North," said Lakhani, also one of the co-founders of hipster hangout Bodega, just down the street.

"There's nothing not to love about it," she said. "It draws amazing people."

The Table has been in the works for more than a year. As with most restaurants, it took longer to open than anticipated.

Lakhani said working with a building that's 100 years old -- and vacant for about 30 years -- presented interesting challenges.

"You just always think you have it figured out," she said.

The interior has a modern, industrial vibe, with a high ceiling, brick and concrete walls, repurposed wood fixtures, exposed ventilation and lacquered wooden floor.

The 2,800-square-foot restaurant has seating for 45 upstairs. A portion of the basement level is reserved for special events, whereas the remainder is used as a prep area.

The Table is open for breakfast, which offers many grab-and-go items, such as quiche, scones, coffee cake and various fresh breads.

The coffee is a proprietary blend supplied by local roaster Stauf's. Coffee drinks are limited to the simple: espresso, cappuccino, latte and the like.

There's also hot cider, hot chocolate and tea. The beverage list also includes select beers by the bottle, spirits and a small list of wine and sparklers.

Lakhani said she developed the menu herself. Customers can sup on such lunch dishes as a burger made from local farm-raised beef, kale and mushroom mac 'n' cheese and Parisienne gnocchi. At dinner, there's squash ravioli, pork goulash and lamb ragu. Nothing tops $18.

Dedicated parking, a rarity in the Short North, is available behind the restaurant off Mt. Pleasant Avenue, next to Middle West Spirits and in the Out of the Closet lot after 7 p.m.

The Table is open breakfast, lunch and dinner hours six days a week. It is closed Monday. For more information, call 614-291-4555.

 

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There's still time to grab a meal at Merlion.

The restaurant, specializing in Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines, is closing at the end of the business day Dec. 1.

Owner Ricky Chung cites health concerns as the reason for closing Merlion, 5320 N. High St., just south of the Worthington border.

Business is good, he said.

"That's why it's so painful to give up this restaurant," Chung said.

Merlion opened in April 2012. Since then, Chung has added many new dishes to the menu. He said he considered training another chef to take over temporarily but couldn't find "any cook who can cook my style."

Chung said he might entertain returning to the restaurant scene but wouldn't use the same name.

"I might be back but I don't know when," he said.

He said another Southeast Asian restaurant will replace Merlion, but he would not reveal the names of the owners.

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