Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tray Chic: Lunch at Jean Robert’s Table

The afternoon lunch rush just got a little more chic. Jean Robert’s Table recently began serving a tray lunch Monday through Friday – a $14 meal including a soup, salad, savory dish and dessert. No substitutions allowed and no reservations necessary.

The tray program is promoted as a quicker, more efficient way to have a full meal without overextending your lunch hour. With all four courses served at once you’re free to set your own pace once the tray has arrived. It’s the water slide rather than the lazy river.

Don’t be fooled though, as with any meal at Table, careful prep and excellent ingredients make up each dish. If it’s truly speed that you need, grab a sack of coneys from down the street. But if you have a full lunch hour to spare, a seat at the Table bar is waiting for you.

I stopped in on a work-from-home day this week. I may have been there a little bit late in the lunch time frame, and it was a rainy afternoon, but everyone around me seemed to be lingering rather than rushing back to the office. I probably spent a full hour in the restaurant from the time I took my seat at the bar to my exit back to the cold, drizzly sidewalk. I wasn’t in a hurry.

As promised, four courses arrived at once – a mushroom soup, salmon salad, duck confit and a small square of flourless chocolate cake with a pillow of white chocolate mousse propping up two slivers of strawberry on either side.

What do the French do to potatoes that makes them so much better than potatoes? I have my suspicions.

I started at the soup and worked my way counter-clockwise to dessert. Portions were just right, and my petite dessert was a perfect way to end my meal without sending me careening toward a 3:30 sugar-induced nap. I left completely satisfied and just $14 poorer – for a weekday lunch, it’s a great fine dining option without the fuss.

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