"So, what would you call this cuisine?" someone asked me while we dined at Elliot's Table, the new concept from Elliot Roddy of the pop-up Family Meal HTX.
Trying to come up with a tagline, I said "global with a Southern twist," and then cursed myself for coming up with a tagline. I mean, anything can be boiled down to a tagline, but Elliot's Table deserves more words than that. It showcases a wide range of flavors in items that would look familiar to Southern diners, but some of those flavors are nuanced, at times exciting. We'll need a longer look.
Elliot's Table is part of an evolution for Roddy, who was throwing Monday evening "family meals" at his home, much like the tradition in the food industry in which restaurant staff is fed a unique feast before service. When the chef, formerly of Pinkerton's BBQ, decided to strike out on his own, he opted to expand on that concept.
Thus, the restaurant—a tight and cozy spot at T.C. Jester near I-10—feels like a big family meal (which can be a plus or a minus depending on what dining experience you like). Sit at one end of the dining room and listen to conversations happening at the other end. Some tables are so close together that you can practically share dinner with your neighbor. And some plates are so attractive that you would want to do just that.
Menu starters include braised chicken with mole de Oaxaca, a steakhouse-style lettuce wedge, deviled eggs with a hot sauce gastrique, and St. Louis pork ribs cooked in a Thai chili sauce. The latter brought flavorful heat, but I couldn't get over the tenderness of the meat. Roddy's Pinkerton's experience clearly shines with this dish.
There are only a few entrees at Elliot's Table, a move that seems driven to accentuate the sharing possibilities. To wit, the shrimp and grits feature whole prawns and a generous amount of heavy, mushier grits in a rich, seafood broth. It would be more than fair to let some friends in on it. Also on the list: a 44 Farms strip with fries, and a 44 Farms ribeye with Brussels sprouts and macaroni and cheese. I had the mac with a 44 Farms short rib, slow cooked for more than 72 hours.
That dish was a rotating special (get it if it's on offer), and it looks as if these kinds of items will be part of the game here, much in the spirit of restaurant family meals. There's a diverse wine list, along with local beers available. The menu also includes a burger and a turkey club sandwich, and the dessert list is small and comes from local producers (a chocolate cake from JodyCakes and Fat Cat ice cream).
Elliot's Table looks like the kind of restaurant where you can bring a few friends and nearly order the whole menu. But it's a small place, so plan ahead to snag a table.