Table 31 Review: A Second Helping

Table 31’s reinvention has good Italian food but plenty of service snafus

At the height of 2009’s unlikely mid-recession steakhouse boom, Chris Scarduzio, executive chef and co-owner of Table 31, pulled out of the game. Table 31 would no longer be a steakhouse, he declared. It would henceforth be an Italian restaurant. The steakhouse market was suddenly oversaturated, and the closing of Brasserie Perrier meant he had nowhere to really cook. “Broiling a steak and slapping it on a plate isn’t very creative,” says Scarduzio.

[sidebar]And thus affordable pastas are now fixtures on his menu. But for what sounded like a dramatic about-face, the bi-level behemoth at the base of the Comcast Center hasn’t gotten much of a makeover. You can order cannoli for dessert. The $58 cowboy steak and five other steaks are still on offer.

The food, in large part, is as good as before. Highlights include tender octopus dressed with capers, lemon and olive oil, and handmade chicken-and-wild-mushroom tortelloni. Even the “Luxury for Less” menu, a weekday three-course $35 prix fixe, features well-executed fare like a flavorful flat-iron steak and a perfectly roasted chicken breast.

Service, on the other hand, is the restaurant’s Achilles’ heel. Waiters are sneaky about up-selling; when they offer a choice between garlic bread and sourdough, they won’t always tell you that while the sourdough is complimentary, the garlic bread is not. Your waiter also may or may not make you aware of the specials — on one visit, neighboring tables heard about a foie gras dish that wasn’t offered to me — and if you’d like the prix fixe, you won’t necessarily be told it’s available. I even had staff refuse my request to move to a more comfortable table, claiming that the other tables were reserved, though several desirable ones remained vacant throughout my meal. A magnet for business meetings and VIPs who often prize service over cuisine, Table 31 must do better than this to thrive.

The new Table 31 isn’t all that transformed, but it’s good to see Scarduzio uphold the standards for quality cooking he set for himself at Brasserie Perrier. Regardless of how good the food may be, service like this leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

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  • Laura

    As a regular patron of table 31. I was a bit surprised by this review. I am sorry to hear of Ms. Manning's service issues, none of which I have encountered during any of my visits, which have become quite frequent thanks to the $35 dollar menu. And for the record my $35 menu gets presented with my dinner menu. No sneakiness there.

  • Sirius

    Oh Laura, that is just so transparent, you need to write with much more clever deft to disguise your affiliation to a restaurant with a dissenting opinion of the reviewer. There are nutty restaurant critics out there but it ain't Joy Manning, if she was pissed it must have been pretty bad kinda like Julie Andrews doing a drive by shooting while singing "the hills are alive with the sound of music".
    Obviously a Table 31 employee.

  • jason

    Why would you assume Laura has an affiliation to Table 31? She simply said the she enjoys the restaurant. Plus, should someone with the grammatical skills of a 3rd grader really be posting comments online?