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Friday, August 17, 2012

Rich Table's Sardine Chips: Bet You Can't Eat Just One

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge Rich Table's sardine chips with whipped horseradish creme fraiche and pepper cress. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Rich Table's sardine chips with whipped horseradish creme fraiche and pepper cress.

Rich Table might want to patent the idea of infusing healthy Omega 3 fatty acids into one of America's favorite junk food indulgences. Sardine chips ($7) make for a good starter snack for dinner or a smart counterbalance to a drink at the restaurant's bar.

Two slits are made in round slices of potato, a sardine is placed through the slits, and the whole bundle is deep fried to a crisp that's heavier than Lay's but lighter than a kettle chip. In concert with a whipped horseradish crème fraîche for dunking, it delivers fierce doses of umami and salt that real chip junkies crave.

There are other dishes to recommend at this new restaurant, which has been open for about four weeks, but the mercurial nature of the menu means that nothing sticks around for long. Handmade pastas, salads, and main courses showcase simple but novel flavor combinations that work, as the sardine chips vividly illustrates.

Chef/proprietor Evan Rich, who runs the restaurant with his wife Sarah, estimates that they changed the menu 17 times in the first 14 days. This demonstrates how they're really sticking to the philosophy that they want to take cues from their farmers market shopping and cook whatever is best and freshest every day. They want Rich Table to be a neighborhood restaurant where people are comfortable becoming a regular, and part of that means always offering new menu ideas to explore.

The sardine chips have been on the menu since opening, but it's not likely to last much longer. The annual local sardine season ends when a certain quota is filled, and it always seems notoriously short, so don't be surprised if this dish disappears or is modified soon.

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Tamara Palmer

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