At first glance, the new Table on Post Oak—a perfectly acceptable place to entertain business clients or take your parents for a quiet dinner—could seem a bit bland. The elegant dining room is decorated in various hues of beige and brown, and the menu reads like pretty much any trendy restaurant menu these days. Here is a salad of beets and goat cheese, a ceviche dish, some oysters, a couple of different steaks, your requisite salmon, a pork chop, a couple of vegetarian entrees, and a fancy burger. There's nothing threatening about the menu, though there's nothing quite that exciting either.
Table on Post Oak
1800 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 1600
At least until you get to the wine, that is.
General manager/sommelier Evan Turner's wine list—presented via iPad, as is apparently the new standard these days—is a gem. Where the food menu is fairly predictable, the wine list is dazzlingly different. It's an interesting parallel to the space's former tenant, whose sommelier—Vanessa Treviño Boyd, now at 60 Degrees Mastercrafted—was similarly intriguing for her unusual selections and deep well of wine knowledge.
With my appetizer of baked oysters (far too small, unfortunately), I enjoyed a stunning American Gewürztraminer from Teutonic Wines, a small-production vineyard in Oregon, that was frisky and fun and bore none of that cloying sweetness so often found in actual Teutonic Gewürztraminers. At only $9 a glass, it's a good bargain too.
With my lamb "lasagna," I ordered a glass of Carignan—an older Spanish/French wine grape that was once ubiquitous in California but is now considered a heritage varietal—from Lioco, which grows its Carignan grapes in Mendocino, California. It smelled like fine leather goods and lavender fields and dark fruits and was so captivating I drank it as slowly as possible. Like the Teutonic white, it was affordable at $11 a glass.
Other interesting by-the-glass choices Turner—who was previously at Vallone's Steakhouse—has on his current wine list included a bright, summery Grüner Veltliner from the Nikolaihof estate in the Wachau region of Austria, famed for its long tenure and organic farming practices (though a bit pricey at $16 a glass), as well as a $12 glass of Toscana Rosso from Mazzoni, in the Brunello di Montalcino region of Italy. A so-called "Super Tuscan," it presented an acidity that tones down the big berry and balsamic vinegar flavors into something structured and elegant.
It's tempting to enjoy Turner's wines downstairs in the dedicated wine bar—which hasn't changed much since Table's owners converted the restaurant from its previous incarnation as Philippe—but I'd recommend heading upstairs, especially in the evening. That's where the best views are of the ever-growing Galleria skyline, which shimmers with steely blue-greens and pink granite at sunset, adding a burst of color to the dining room through Table's immense plate-glass windows.
While I'd like to see the same personality in Table's menu as in its wine list, for now I'm content just to keep exploring Turner's wine selections, where I feel like I'll always find something new.