Last night I went to dinner with my friend at Table Fifty-Two. I first heard about the restaurant while reading an article in Food & Wine Magazine and then noticed that recommendations for this restaurant kept popping up in other magazines and websites as well. I had been trying to go there since last fall - but every time I called they were booked. So in January I finally called and got the next available reservation - March 26th. I took it and added it to my calendar. Two days ago they called me to confirm the reservation and told me if I did not call back to confirm then they would assume I was not coming and I would loose the reservation. I was so glad I checked my voice mail!
So after all this I was really wondering what all the hype was about. This restaurant is owned by Chef Art Smith who is best know for being Oprah's chef. The restaurant is small and probably only has about thirty tables. But we had a great experience here. The restaurant is in what used to be a coach house - behind the old Chez Paul. It is very cutely decorated - homey and intimate. There are candles all over the place, flowers on each table, and you can see the wood-burning oven behind the bar.
At the beginning of our meal we received a deviled egg topped with pickled okra and some cheesy biscuits. For starters we ordered a salad and flat bread. The duck flat bread was SO GOOD and it was a perfect combo of salty, sweet, greasy and crunchy. For dinner my friend ordered the sea bass special of the day and I ordered the chicken which the waiter informed me was their most popular dish. We were happy with it all.
Chef Art Smith popped out of the kitchen a few times during the evening to greet guests. He checked on us only one time but I saw him giving copies of his cookbooks to a few special visitors.
After dinner we each had tea and the teapot and matching cups was the perfect touch to the homey atmosphere.
It was pretty pricey for good old southern food. But this type of food is unique to a city like Chicago. I not sure if I would bring my friends from out of town here - especially if they live in the South. But if they are from another country, I would definitely bring them here to give them a taste of good (and healthy) American food!