Save This Table 8

Eateries in Montclair come and go like the rain it seems. When we were out of the country for a couple weeks this fall it seemed at least four places closed and another five opened while we were gone. This isn’t good or bad. It just keeps you on your culinary toes.

We had the good fortune a few weeks ago to get a seat at Table 8 which is a little more than a year old making it a quasi-veteran of the scene. Perhaps it’s the location just before the Bloomfield Ave. slope that keeps this place on the down-low but it certainly should not be the food.

The restaurant is named after it’s large front window table, which like the name implies seats 8 and it’s kept for walk-ins only. The dining room does a lot with a small space, which is one of the drawbacks (I’ll get to that in a moment), solid wood tables with high backed reddish-orange chairs make for a dramatic scene but because the dining hall is soo small and the room gets too packed don’t be fooled by appearances this is not a place for romantic talk. Table 8 is quite possibly one of the noisiest restaurants in Montclair proper. However, you won’t have to talk much because the food really is that good.

 

Exceedingly fresh is perhaps the best way to describe it. Me and C both had salads to start. I went with the warm goat cheese salad off the menu while my darling wife noshed on a special, which had pears and nuts. Very leafy, very crunchy on both ends.

 

Dinner was even better. I’ve probability had better Monkfish but that was my bad for not being creative in my dinning call. The couscous underneath the Monkfish was superb. C made the better dinner choice going with the Gnocci, which is almost, I repeat, almost as good as Fascinos across town.

 

We splurged on desserts with C opting for the assorted ice cream plate, good. Better was the espresso cheesecake, which came broken up in a glass I had the pleasure of trying. Very creative, very delicious.

 

Food aside what really sets Table 8 apart is its service, a lost art form for many a Montclair eatery, many eateries in general. Table 8 has a young friendly staff that’s attentive but knows when to leave you alone. Despite a busy night our waiter took more than one stab at taking a picture of us with our digital camera and when we accidentally brought a dessert wine from home our hostess promptly brought over two glasses of Merlot on the house.

 

The staff isn’t afraid to sit down and have a drink with you and not in a Hooters kind of way and they aren’t afraid to chat and let you know you are amongst friends.

 

Alas, the one knock I must give them is they did not have our table ready for our reservation time. A common fault among Montclair establishments, as Jerry Seinfeld would say they can take the reservation but can they hold it. However, to Table 8’s credit after about a 5 minute wait we were seated at a nice large table in the middle of the restaurant and they didn’t try to cram another couple in at the other end. Very nice touch, indeed.

 

Table 8’s been a nice addition to the Montclair eats scene and if the city’s population can somehow creep above 40,000 we hear they will make a strong bid for the new liquor license. If that happens there’s no telling how big the table might get for this ballsy, little joint.

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