Table for Whom?

La Table

Unfortunately, the evening soon ground to a halt. One of the distinct qualities about fancy French places is the long march toward the check, in which you eat and sit and eat some more. But this night, we just sat. And sat. When our main courses finally arrived, they were lukewarm. My Columbia River sturgeon survived the best, mainly because the white bean purée with garlic-roasted snails was such a hearty accompaniment. The venison's potato crust felt cold and chewy, while the meat was rare instead of the requested medium-rare; the glazed sweetbreads came rubbery and blandly seasoned with cardamom and cinnamon.

Hoping to cleanse the palate, we selected several desserts, including one that our waiter described as "kick-ass." Happily, he was right, as we couldn't get enough of the hazelnut and praline quenelles -- two slightly chilled, whipped lumps of heavenly, nutty sweetness.

Table Talk: The formal dining room in La Table du 
Chef, with its lily pad paintings and lush aura, is far 
more inviting than the bistro-style La Table.
Anthony Pidgeon
Table Talk: The formal dining room in La Table du Chef, with its lily pad paintings and lush aura, is far more inviting than the bistro-style La Table.

Details

Frisée salad with braised oxtail $7.50

Halibut with lemon compote $17

Beef cheeks $16

Chocolate tartelette $6

La Table du Chef
Pumpkin velouté $9.50

Columbia River sturgeon $24

Hazelnut and praline quenelles $6

345-8600

La Table is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

La Table du Chef is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Reservations accepted

Wheelchair accessible

Parking: moderately difficult

Muni: 1

Noise level: low

3640 Sacramento (at Locust)

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Trying to sort out all the mixed messages of La Table and La Table du Chef, I thought of the wicker basket filled with small loaves of bread by the restaurant's entrance. Following our first visit, the host readily handed one to each of us as we left, but after our second trip, the maitre d' seemed hesitant to part with the bread, until he noticed us staring down at the basket. La Table certainly has potential, but until it sweats the details, it'll be as nondescript as the neighborhood it resides in.

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