- Cuisine: New American
- Scene: Smart casual, see-and-be-seen, small outdoor seating area, chic space
- Occasion: 1x1/small group dining, lite bites and drinks (pre party)
- Must try: Scallop crudo from the "salt bar"
- Price: Starters, all under $12; Entrees, all under $29
- Reservations: Via phone or opentable.com
- Phone: (212) 475-5700
- Website: http://www.thecoopersquarehotel.com/
- Location: 25 Cooper Sq, (at 5th St)
In order to access Table 8 from the street, one must walk through the restaurant’s modern library-themed bar en route to the hostess stand. Though different, the aesthetics of both the bar and the restaurant seemed to flow together like honey. Outfitted with massive floor to ceiling windows, gun-metal colored slate, splashes of onyx-shaded granite, and caramel wood accents, the space evoked a smart and refreshing sense of interior design.
Although arriving minutes shy of our 9:30pm reservation, our table was ready and we were seated immediately (there’s nothing worse than having to wait an additional 15-30 min’s for your reservation). I was pleased to note that the restaurant’s acoustics were forgiving, allowing for conversation; and that the service moved at a steady (neither hurried nor slow) pace. *Note that there is the option to dine alfresco on a beautiful patio.*
After having perused the menu, our waitress returned to take our orders. I chose to begin my meal with the scallop crudo, followed by the halibut. Within moments, our small bread plates were topped with a freshly baked and perfectly salted pretzel roll, which was almost the size of a tennis ball. Just as I began to spread butter on each half, our appetizers arrived. Served in a small black dish were three horizontally sliced pieces of raw scallop, swimming in a shallow milky broth topped with chopped kumquat and a light dusting of greens (forgive me, I’m guessing the “greens” were either cilantro or basil). When the delicate (and exquisitely fresh and firm) shellfish kissed the perky citrus (kumquat), a positively memorable flavor combination was born where no ingredient overpowered the other...Truly symphonic.
From appearances alone, my entrée was the most attractive plate in the room, consisting of an artistic display of the following: Thick halibut filet pan seared until golden brown, and topped with toasted bread; a side of green pureed ____ ; micro greens; stewed cherry and yellow tomatoes. While the fish was excellent (fresh, firm, seared to a buttery perfection), I couldn’t figure out why the hell it was topped with a thin slice of toasted bread, which had a thick spread of what I assumed to be some sort of chopped halibut schmear. To this minute, I’m still uncertain as to what the pureed mystery-side was. Green-dyed mashed potatoes/cauliflower, perhaps? All I do know is that it did not appeal to me whatsoever.
Overall, I found my experience at Table 8 to be very mediocre, as I felt that the kitchen was trying too hard to be innovative and eclectic. I whole heartedly welcome new ingredients and love trying different foods, but I just cannot get over the randomness of the menu. Besides my toast and green puree issue, Emily’s order of Grilled Baby Chicken was plated with beef short-rib hash. How do those two items even remotely go together?