After a long hiatus, Laurie and Wes Kendrick are back in the restaurant business at Table 34, formerly Wild Sage Café. Their many local fans couldn't be happier.
The restaurant is now larger and more attractive than ever (the redesign is by well-known local architect Roger Thomas), and the kitchen, always top-notch, rarely misses a beat.
The design includes travertine tables and hard wooden chairs, a simulated hardwood floor and an abundance of earthy colors. What used to be an outdoor patio has been enclosed under the roof and is now a sit-down bar.
At lunch, the chef does terrific sandwiches and pizzas to go along with his homey soups, opulent salads and indulgent entrées. Wes Kendrick is a protégé of Wolfgang Puck, and the thin-crusted, creatively topped pizzas Spago are famous for obviously influenced him. Purists might prefer the pizza with mozzarella with fresh tomatoes and basil, but an Italian sausage pizza with roasted peppers and garlic is good enough to convert anyone but a die-hard vegetarian to its conceit. A lunch favorite is a BLT, made with the added pleasures of avocado and watercress between thick slices of lightly toasted sourdough bread.
For dinner, the menu takes a fancier turn, to fare such as smoked oysters with barbecue sauce, caramelized shallots and crostini or house smoked salmon on potato galette with parsley shallot cream, a page from the house of Puck but nonetheless worthy. Soups such as apple-butternut squash purée and New England clam chowder are rustic and filling, while salads, such as the Riesling poached pear with Belgian endive and a walnut oil vinaigrette, manage to be creative and tasteful: nice, light set pieces that entice the palate for what follows.
The entrées include the chef's oven-roasted half duckling with wild rice pilaf and port wine-cherry reduction, classic rack of lamb with potato-fennel gallette and brandy peppercorn sauce and the herb-roasted chicken with apple-sage dressing. Another entrée worth a try is braised beef pot roast with herb spaetzle and bordelaise sauce.
Every dessert is made on the premises, and all of them are completely delicious. Try the house lime tart, a wedge with a Graham-cracker pecan crust and a light filling reminiscent of Grandma's custard. The fluffy lemon cheesecake and a vanilla bean crème brûlée are not to be missed, either. You can start that diet tomorrow.