Table 40 is probably the most affordable table d’hote in the city. It’s 35$ per person for 3 courses. Not only that but it’s A LOT of food. you aren’t even supposed to be able to finish it, and when you don’t (you won’t) they’ll pack it up and send you home.
The idea is family-style meals. Harvest tables and food sharing. You will share a table with strangers, and you’ll share your food with your friends.
I thought you would actually share your food with strangers and I was ok with that, but turns out Ottawa isn’t ready for that (I assume) so you only share with the people you arrive with.
Table 40 is located next door to Fraser Cafe and the whole space is filled with 4 tables (one long table along one wall, and three shorter tables sticking out from the other wall. There’s a small bar at the back with about 4 seats.
In the entrance way there is a small lounge area, and we got our first taste of communal meals while we were sitting waiting for our table, and another group joined us on the couch. They obviously weren’t shy either and three of us squished onto the small couch.
Although we didn’t end up eating with the other group we had a nice chat. It really set the mood of the evening, with a casual and friendly atmosphere.
The place was bustling and we weren’t seen immediately however it was all good since we were in good company and comfortable (if squishily) seated.
The first course was an asparagus soup. It came in a copper pot on a plank. we were each given a bowl with peas and croutons in it, and there were pea shoots served on the side. Serve yourself/build your own soup, and it as excellent.
Our server was very friendly as were all the waitstaff that came by our table.
Our main was also served on a plank and was huge. The idea is actually that you won’t finish it, and we didn’t so we left with a doggy bag. The main was supposed to be ribs but we actually got brisket and and pulled pork. Both were excellent and hte onion rings were to die for. I actually wasn’t able to eat any of the bean salad that was served with it but had some the next day and it was really well balanced, with corn adding texture and sweetness.
Dessert was a strawberry crisp. All strawberries, juicy and flavorful. It’s great to be able to actually taste the fruit instead of just tasting water on those GMOs that we get from Cali.
The whole experience was excellent. And although it seems people in Ottawa are afraid of sharing tables, I hope this catches on. Although we were sharing a table with another couple, the table is large enough that you really didn’t intrude on each other’s conversations (although you could if you wanted to). And they seemed to be in the habit of always leaving one seat empty between each group, so you actually have more space than you would if you were at some restaurants in the city (at the Manx the tables actually touch each other sometimes, and in Boston at Aquitaine I sat at a table where I had to go sideways and lift my butt up above the table to get in, and I’m only 130lbs – luckily no one was at the next table to get a butt in their face)
the one thing I will say, is that in my family the TV was off at dinner (actually we didn’t even have a TV most of the time but if we did, it wouldn’t have been on during meals). I realize that Family dinner in America has gone downhill and that they wanted a casual atmosphere but the food network is really distracting and it’s hard to watch without volume. I say lose the TV’s.
Great experience, try it out!