Hudson valley foie gras//Photos by Steve Legato.
At just 750 square feet and with only 24 seats, Tara Buzan and Alex Hardy’s At the Table is one of the smaller full-service restaurants in the area—a nano-storefront tucked amid quiet Louella Court. Buzan is a successful caterer who ran A Taste of Britain for seven years, while Hardy helped bolster the reputations of Phoenixville’s Majolica and Philadelphia’s Pumpkin. Partners in life and work, the duo crafts a nightly tasting menu of sophisticated culinary constructs, all with Hardy’s heroes in mind.
“We have Michelin-star aspirations, and we strive for French Laundry-style execution,” says Hardy, who admits that he’s a big fan of acclaimed Napa Valley chef Thomas Keller.
From Left: The simple, intimate dining area; Alex Hardy preps another piece of culinary art
Within the cozy, shadowed confines of the two-toned slate-gray dining room, the staff guides patrons as they decide on either five courses ($65) or eight ($95). There’s also an à la carte menu of intriguing shareables.
Our garden salad far outshined its unassuming name by artfully incorporating 25 delicately placed ingredients. Foremost among them were beets, chèvre, carrots, cucumbers and pecans. A Berkshire pork belly and apricot-kissed diver scallop embraced winter with maple hollandaise sauce, and a substantive Wagyu strip steak was topped with a rich cognac-peppercorn cream sauce and frizzled onions.
Another seasonal standout was the potato, Parmesan and truffle soup. Less impressive was my risotto, which was heavy on rice, light on crab, and too salty.
From Left: At the Table’s braised octopus; Herb-encrusted lamb loin
At dessert, our request to substitute the orange-cream bar for the chocolate ganache with crumbled ginger snaps was gladly accommodated by our server, who even provided complimentary glasses of sparkling wine to one couple who’d forgotten a bottle.
Later, Buzan visited with each guest, accentuating this culinary delight’s maximum finesse, its heightened attention to service, and the rarity of dining in such an intimate environment.
A final tip: Decide on your number of courses prior to ordering, and book your reservation well in advance.
Co-owner Alex Hardy works in the open kitchen with sous chef David Maldonado.
At The Table
11 Louella Court, Wayne, (610) 964-9700.
Cuisine: American and international.
Cost: Five courses, $65; eight courses, $95; prix-fixe Sunday supper, $45.
Attire: Date-night casual.
Atmosphere: The sparsely decorated space is conducive to small parties.
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; prix-fixe Sunday supper, 5-9 p.m.
Extras: BYOB; $2 corkage fee per person.