Both lunch and dinner begin with a palate-cleansing citrus sorbet delivered shortly after being seated. Appetizers range from chicken and eggplant crepes ($10) and lump crab cakes ($10 at lunch, $11 for dinner) to shrimp cocktail ($12) and fresh mozzarella and tomatoes with toasted pine nuts and pesto ($10).
However, better options exist in the soup and salad choices. The apple, pecan and goat cheese salad ($9) was a delicious mix of shaved apples and spicy pecans over greens dressed with a Utah honey vinegar. A generous dollop of creamy goat cheese finished the dish nicely.
The baby romaine wedge salad ($9) could easily serve as a meal at lunchtime, particularly with the addition of grilled chicken, which comes at the rather steep price of $16. Hearts of romaine are studded with grape tomatoes and smoky bacon crumbles then topped with chunky gorgonzola dressing.
Chef's Table excels at the art of soup making. The cool gazpacho ($9 lunch, $10 dinner) highlighted a shrimp ceviche and avocado tower delivering bright flavors. Hot soups are beautifully presented in white porcelain soup tureens. A roasted corn bisque ($6) dotted with herb dumplings was thick and delicious while the asparagus soup featured a delicate creaminess offset with crispy prosciutto.
My biggest complaint about Chef's Table is meat temperature. On two occasions, I ordered medium rare and both times was served meat firmly in the medium category. Fortunately, neither dish was a complete loss, but my filet mignon medallion stroganoff ($16 lunch, $30 dinner) would have been more enjoyable if the beef juices could have comingled with the wild mushroom sauce.
The New York sirloin with the steak frites ($16 lunch, $26 dinner) was delivered at the requested medium-rare temperature, yet accompanied by appetizing Parmesan-truffle fries that needed further crisping.
The wide range of entrees, including seafood and pasta from diver scallops ($26) to miso cod ($26) as well as a crispy-skinned duck breast with peaches and duck-confit ravioli ($28), Ballard Farms pork chop ($27), lamb chops ($34) and pasta should satisfy nearly every taste.
But you'll want to save room for dessert. Macadamia nut-crusted cheesecake ($8), apple and almond tart ($8), Tahitian vanilla crème brulee ($7) and even bananas foster ($9) are available in portions fit for sharing.
Chef's Table seems to put guests' needs and desires at the forefront, unlike some other restaurants. Servers are prompt and friendly, offering suggestions and explanation when needed. Refills are immediate, plates are cleared effortlessly, and courses are paced appropriately. Reservations are handled professionally and special requests noted.
The overall impression is that everyone is welcome at the Chef's Table just as it should be.
Overall • HHj
Food • HHj
Mood • HHj
Service • HHj
Noise • bb
Chef's Table delivers artfully presented American classics, served gracefully, in a welcoming setting in Utah County. Getting the meat cooked right will help elevate an already strong fine dining restaurant.
Location • 2005 S. State St., Orem; 801-235-9111
Online • www.chefstable.net
Hours • Monday to Thursday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5–9 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5–10 p.m.; and Saturday 5–10 p.m.
Prices • $$-$$$
Children's menu • No
Liquor • Yes
Corkage • $12.50
Reservations • Yes
Takeout • No
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • No
Onsite parking • Yes
Credit cards • All major