When I learned of the opening of the new bistro-style restaurant, Table 25 in Ogden, I was excited. In part, that’s because pretty much any new eatery to open – especially in the midst of a pandemic – is exciting. But also, it’s because the married couple who opened the restaurant – Jaimie and Justin Buehler – had most recently worked for a number of years at the Copper Onion in Salt Lake City. I’ve been a big fan of Ryan Lowder’s Copper Onion since it opened in 2010 and Lowder’s well-mentored employees have gone on to open a number of great eateries and bars of their own. And, it didn’t hurt that the Buehlers hired chef Baleigh Snoke, formerly of Avenues Proper and Tradition restaurant, to head up the Table 25 kitchen. It seems like a winning formula.
The name Table 25 has both practical and somewhat romantic origins. Most obvious, is that the restaurant – previously home to Jessie Jeans – is located on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street. But there’s more to the story behind Table 25. California-born Jamie Buehler was raised in Australia before moving back to California, which is where she met her future husband and Ogden native, Justin Buehler. They happened to be seated at table #25 in a restaurant, which is where they hatched the notion to eventually operate a restaurant of their own. It was also the beginning of their personal relationship. Now, with Table 25, that dream of operating their own restaurant has come to fruition.
I love the look of Table 25. There’s abundant outdoor sidewalk seating and an interior that is beautiful in its simplicity. The eatery is flooded with natural light from large windows facing 25th Street and the predominately white color scheme – white walls and white tablecloths – combined with rich, dark wood and iron seating, gives the restaurant an airy and inviting look. It’s classy without being constricting and contemporary without being pretentious or over the top.
Walking into Table 25, the first thing that catches your eye is the bar that dominates the center of the restaurant. It’s a great place to enjoy a beverage and a bite or an entire meal, for that matter. There’s a nice selection of (mostly) local beers to enjoy, a half-dozen or so signature and classic cocktails, around 20 wine choices, soft drinks, juices, coffee and tea.
The wine selection at Table 25 isn’t vast, but there are some interesting red, white and sparkling wine options. To wit, Gruet Sparkling Rosé from New Mexico, Justin Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, Spanish DaVide Albariño and Head High Pinot Noir from Sonoma are all solid wines that are good values. We chose to share a bottle of Meiomi Rosé ($10/glass or $42/bottle), which is a very versatile and food-friendly wine. I was happy (and surprised) that the bottle arrived at our table at the perfect sipping temperature. Almost every restaurant I eat in serves white and rosé wines too cold and reds too warm, so kudos to Table 25 for getting it right. In addition to wine temps, I was happy to see the owners – Jamie and Justin – so hands-on. They were helping to bus tables, making sure wine glasses were lint-free, and attending to the details that serious, caring restaurateurs ought to. I suspect that sort of service excellence was drilled into them by the aforementioned Mr. Lowder. And, since the couple and their two young twins live directly above the restaurant, there’s reason to think that the owners won’t ever be very far away. It’s a work commute most of us would envy.
Table 25 has only been open since early August, and so I should make clear that our visit – my wife’s and mine – serves as an early look at the new eatery. As expected, there was a glitch or two, but my overall impression is that this place is going to be an outstanding addition to the Ogden dining scene. It’s exactly the scale of restaurant that I love – one that isn’t trying to be everything to everyone. The menu, though it will probably grow, is manageable. There’s a handful of small plates and salads, a couple of pasta dishes, a trio of sandwiches, a half-dozen entrees and two desserts.
The Small Plates portion of the menu includes Fried Shrimp with Remoulade ($10), Herbed Biscuits with butter ($6), Local Green Beans with Garlic Soy Aioli ($8), Charcuterie (MP), and Mussels & Frites. More about those mussels in a bit. For salads, there is a Caesar ($9), Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes ($14), Roasted Beet Salad ($12), and a Summer Market Salad ($15).
There is a delicious-sounding risotto on the Table 25 menu, which I hope is still there on my next visit so I can try it. It’s risotto with asparagus, fresh peas, lemon-herb compound butter and parmesan ($14). However, I rarely pass up duck when it’s on a menu so I opted to order the Duck Ragu ($20) pasta dish as my entree. It was everything I’d hoped for: a rich-tasting, garlicky ragu of duck meat shreds and chunks in a traditional tomato sauce, served with a dollop of fresh ricotta. The flavor of the duck ragu was outstanding, but what really made this dish a success for me was the perfectly cooked al dente pappardelle that was made in-house. The pasta couldn’t have been better.
Entrees at Table 25 include a spectacular looking sesame-crusted Ahi Tuna ($24), an Airline Chicken Breast with mashed spuds and natural jus ($21); a Pork Chop with peach chutney and charred corn ($26), and others. My wife chose Sockeye Salmon ($28), which she absolutely loved. It was beautifully cooked, a nicely browned skin-on Sockeye salmon fillet on a bed or roasted carrots and asparagus, served with charred lemon on top, and with a pretty (and tasty) swirl on the plate of arugula pesto and Greek yogurt. Exceptional.
Now, I mentioned that Table 25 isn’t even two months old yet. And so, I don’t expect everything there to be perfect. However, I have to register my disappointment in the eatery’s Mussels & Frites ($16). This dish failed in at least a couple different ways. First, there was the issue of the cooked mussels. There were only eight mussels in the entire dish and only two – the ones on top – were completely open. I had to pry the remaining six shells apart to get to the mussel meat. Frankly, I was surprised that no one in the kitchen noticed the undercooked mussels before they piled a stack of French fries on top of the mollusks. Which brings me to my second complaint about the dish: Why on earth would they place excellent, perfectly cooked, crispy skin-on fries on top of a bowl of mussels and broth, assuring that within minutes they’d have settled into the broth and be limp and soggy? It’s a crime to spoil frites this good. I would have loved to enjoy the frites on the side and to be able to dip them into the excellent broth with chorizo, beurre blanc, tomato and smoked paprika, but didn’t want them swimming in it. Oh, and 16 bucks for eight mussels and a handful of fries? C’mon. Even the risotto I mentioned – a labor intensive dish – is priced considerably less than that.
And, not to beat a dead horse but I was disappointed with the restaurant’s reaction when I told both our server (who was pretty great overall, by the way) and Jamie that three quarters of the mussels weren’t open. The server apologized and the owner offered to replace the mussels with new ones. What they didn’t offer – and I think they should have – was to remove the offending mussels & frites from our bill. But, that didn’t seem to occur to anyone.
Mussels & Frites aside, I think that Table 25 has terrific potential and I really look forward to returning to try some more of the menu items. The pulled pork sandwich and Beehive Burger sound awfully good, for example. I love the vibe and look of this new eatery, the service was excellent, and I have little doubt that once a couple of kinks get worked out, Table 25 will be the go-to spot for an outstanding meal on Historic 25th Street. It’s already almost there.
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week:
“I adore seafood, especially saltwater taffy.” — Milton Berle
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.