has been open for several months now. They are hitting their stride as far as attracting an affluent customer base who may or may not know anything about food. I really don't don't think that their food is all that great, although they are constantly packed, so maybe this is what their customer wants?
I don't believe the things I've read in other local publications about the food. They are not in any way a farm-to-table restaurant as their name suggests. Urban Table's menu reads as if they locally source their ingredients. I don't think that anything is really freshly picked at local farms.
The same holds true at the bar. They have a trendy looking cocktail menu, yet the drink concoctions seem to be chosen mostly for color and sweetness more than the interplay of flavors. There is a heavy emphasis on Martini-style drinks and some sugary-sweet concoctions involving coffee-flavored Patron Tequila, espresso and a sugar rim is aimed at 20-somethings out for their first drink ever. Their Key Lime Martini with pear vodka, licor 43 and lime with a graham cracker crusted rim is just not going to go past my lips. The BLTini with muddled basil and arugula with a bacon flavored vodka, tomato juice and (strangely spelled on the menu) Tobasco sauce is just wrong and best left out in the garden for more inspiration.
So, as I found, unfortunately, their bar is aimed at a young crowd who are still in the Malibu rum and coke phase of their drinking careers.
I gazed at their cocktail menu and saw that they have a Bacon Bloody Mary for $10. Interesting sounding, it was described as having a bacon flavored vodka, but according to Patrick, my well meaning bartender, unavailable because of the recent power failure.
I settled for a regular house Bloody Mary.
The Bloody Mary at Urban Table is plagued by the weakness (Read: cheapness) of the ingredients. Patrick, after gripping my hand (was he shaking my hand because I didn't order a more complicated drink?) served it in a nice 8 oz. glass that was only 1/4 filled with smallish sized ice cubes. The drink was pale red from the quality of the tomato juice. Their tomato juice is not a very high quality, it tasted of a metal can.
Patrick explained that even in the "house" pour Bloody Mary they use a special brand of vodka that he thinks is pretty good, one I hadn't to this point even heard of.
I'm pretty familiar with most of the brands and having spent a week surrounded by many obscure brands in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail, I thought I'd seen it all. I think it was named Samsonoff, yet I couldn't find any information on this vodka on the internet. Is this brand made in Jersey City in a factory? I wonder. This cloyingly bitter vodka instead of enhancing the drink was weighing it down.
The ingredients of my cocktail were almost sour, not at all what I was expecting. I asked for some more horseradish and some hot sauce to bring up the missing flavors that were more akin to dry white bread, nearly flavorless. The horseradish made the drink uncomfortably sharp and metallic and the hot sauce was neither hot, nor sauce.
I think the brand was Cholula, a common commercial brand that just happens to be made in Mexico. It is seen mostly at restaurants that cater to the gringos. It really doesn't have any kick to it, the flavor is uninspiring and overly salty.
If they want to make their Bloody Mary cocktail spicy, they should get some El Yucateco. This hot sauce will open the sweat glands to eyes wide open with deeply aromatic flavor! And as far as the horseradish goes, a bottle of Gold's goes a long way. You'll never use all of it in a week, unless you start using good ingredients, then who knows? Urban Table may sell more than one or two a week.
There was a green olive and a small hunk of freshly-cut lime on a bamboo skewer, that and the correct sized glass get two stars. This cheap-tasting olive was the source of much of the bitterness and salty profile of the drink. It seemed to be from a jar, an olive much more appropriate for a Martini, and only if that Martini is made from Gin.
I'd skip the olive instead they should offer a slice of plum tomato or perhaps a celery stalk.
The price? It was right: $8.29. The quality of that cocktail was worth no more. OK, I'll give them an extra 1/2 star for the price.
Finally, to Urban Table management ... is it OK if I don't shake your hand when I leave?