Posted by Tegan O'Neill
The main attraction at Elizabeth's Table is that you get to pay your bill with just a few taps to the screen of an iPad. Aside from that and a few exceptions, you could prepare and enjoy a superior meal in the comfort of your own home with relative ease, with the added benefit of not having to deal with awkward middlemen between the kitchen and the table.
Entering Elizabeth's Table, it only becomes obvious that seating is self-determined when no one bothers to come greet you after a lengthy wait. Options for seating vary, between cushioned benches for those who want a cozier spot, and large communal tables for groups that need more space. The layout is somewhat odd, considering the restaurant's space is long and spacious. In spite of these issues, the atmosphere generally doesn't feel intimidating.
Classic tunes stream through the airy dining room creating a relaxed vibe, one that might be a bit too relaxed considering the servers' general lack of enthusiasm towards the whole milieu. When asked what the day's selection of baked goods were, the servers were not equipped with answers. They could not say what flavors the cupcakes were, and, more embarrassingly, when asked what the petite apple tarte tatins were, the response I received was "an apple thing" followed by a blas?? "whatever."
The tarte tatin turned out to be a delicious creation which made it sad that the servers did not know the name of it. What was not to like about caramelized apple sandwiched between a light crust on the bottom and an airy buttercream on top?
Although the somewhat sloppy menu could have been written with more attention to aesthetics, it does offer a respectable array of familiar sweet and savory options. No items are way out there-nothing is crazily creative or overly decadent. The food is simple, modest and, thanks to quality ingredients, good.
The quinoa hash ($11) proved to be a hearty and satisfying choice. Mixed into the quinoa were chunks of sweet potato, slivers of onion and rounds of mushroom that gave the dish a well-rounded character that hit both the sweet and savory notes. This savory note is only punctuated further by the poached eggs that are broken atop the dish, allowing their yolks to ooze over the contents of the bowl. Eating this dish, it seemed as if egg yolks were made to be poured over the crunchy seeds of quinoa. It seems that the caliber of the french toast ($8) depends on the bread they use. Elizabeth's Table uses challah from Slice of Heaven Bakery, baked across the street at Temple Sinai. While this is indeed good bread, I regret not trusting my instinct to be wary of this bare bones french toast. The menu warned me that all the french toast would come with was a dusting of powdered sugar and local organic maple syrup and sure enough, that was all I got. Although it was not bad, it really needed a little something else to bring it to life. Syrup helped to make it less dry, but what would have been perfect was some fruit or a creamy cheese.
Elizabeth's Table feels somewhat unfinished, and there are definitely some kinks to be worked out. The service was disappointing, and the attitude of the restaurant did not seem to be one of enthusiasm or pride. I felt the meal was satisfying enough, with wholesome food and reasonable portions, but it was all food that I could have made at home without much effort. I suppose I would rather eat at my own table.