Stuffing My Face: Table, Donkey and Stick

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Table, Donkey and Stick chef/partner Scott Manley

Table, Donkey and Stick chef/partner Scott Manley

Opened just under three years now, Table, Donkey and Stick is an honest-to-goodness gem stuffed inside of a cozy little slab of Logan Square real estate. With lovable chef Scott Manley running the kitchen, TDS (switching to an acronym for most of this – I ain’t writing that shit over and over again…) has been impressing diners with Manley’s “Alpine-influenced” menu since it took over the former Michelin-starred Bonsoiree space from Shin Thompson. NOTE: For what it’s worth, TDS is the recipient of a Michelin bib gourmand.

Full disclosure: I have known Scott for awhile now and have been promising him I’d stop in to eat the food I’ve reported on repeatedly. I began to feel guilty saying that every time I saw him, so the last time I did, when he was at Cochon’s BBQ a couple of weeks ago, I decided that would be my last. I was in Logan visiting my friend Danielle Human on her first night working at Aldo Zaninotto‘s Osteria Langhe, which is right down the street from TDS, so I figured, why the hell not?

I walked over and seated myself right in full view of the kitchen. I needed to give myself the element of surprise, so I didn’t warn Scott I was coming. He was working the line and had sous chef Ryan Brosseau expediting so it took some time before he spotted me.

Things started with a beer on tap. I can’t remember what it was but it was on the light side and it was good. I’m sure they’re all good. Just order one.

I chose conservatively, for budget reasons and for filling up. I ordered the Carrot Soup ($11, with blue crab, semolina dumplings, pickled fennel, tarragon and chive), along with the Alpine Burger ($15, grass fed, pretzel bun – the first I’ve ever had I liked, btw – take that Kuma’s – aged brick, onion marmalade, latkes, horseradish, apple mostarda).

Once Scott spotted me and after he came over to shoot the shit for a few minutes, a couple of other things floated my way, something I still get a kick out of happening despite being 7 years into this writing about food thing.

The carrot soup came first and this was a real good opener. The blue crab was plentiful and the viscosity of the carrot soup itself was perfect in my mind (I’m not a critic).

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Carrot Soup

The surprise of braunschweiger was next and it had this terrific, velvety texture that was welcome. The strong taste of liver was cut significantly by the plum jam. I would suggest a skosh more plum jam, but it’s a minor quibble. The sunflower oat toast its served with was also an eye opener. All in all, a very good dish.

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Braunschweiger

 

Next my server dropped my Alpine Burger and another surprise dish on me, one that proved to be my absolute favorite of the evening.

Alpine Burger

Alpine Burger

First that burger. A very well put together, perfectly medium rare Nicki Minaj-ass like burger. Loved it. If you want a TDS burger on the cheap, head over on Monday nights for their $5 version and other specials with cheap canned beer. You’re welcome.

But the surprise dish of roasted summer squash was positively revelatory. I know more was done to it than what I’m going to say, but all I could think about was how soft the squash’s interior was along with that blistered skin that was drizzled with a perfect amount of chili oil. For me, one of the best dishes I’ve had all year. I want it again.

Roasted Summer Squash

Roasted Summer Squash

I had dessert and enjoyed it, that much I remember. There was chocolate mousse, some sort of ice cream. Oh hell, it was good. But sweet jeebus, how much prattling on about food can one man do, anyway? See below.

dessert

dessert

Manley discussed wanting to do more “schwenking” (no, it’s not something perverted, see here) over the open fire on the patio, but isn’t 100% sure about that. He also talked about cooking a pork shoulder in clay 3 different times for Cochon, praying on the third time that it would work (it did). Then there’s the upcoming Halloween offal dinner the restaurant will hold (see the menu on their site).

Dinner at Table, Donkey and Stick is really good. Go over there and put a whole mess of it into your face hole. And drink a bunch of beer. And say hi to Scott and his crew. They’re awesome people. Go now!

 

Official Table, Donkey and Stick Website

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