Written by Anita
June 25, 2009
First photo courtesy of Pfau Communications; Food photos courtesy of arugulafiles.comSummer is all about tasting the season’s bounty of fresh ingredients. Luckily for us, Planet Wine's new Farm Table gives us a fun and unique way to share the experience with friends or family. In the midst of its cozy interior, Planet Wine has added a handsome rustic table flanked by long wooden benches. Available 7 days a week for parties of 8 to 14, the Farm Table experience includes several menu options—carefully crafted by Executive Chef Will Artley of nearby Evening Star Cafe—based on available seasonal ingredients from local farmers and producers. Chef Artley’s philosophy?: “OHIO”—only handle it once. He showcases the quality of fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats through simple but delicious preparations. As Chef Artley proudly declared, “you’ll find no foams, froths, or spheres here.” Our dinner at the Farm Table started with several tasty canapés, including buttery, moist biscuits topped with thick Virginia ham and course housemade mustard followed by plump, briny Dragon Creek raw oysters served on the half shell. Next, we sampled a fried soft shell crab, crisp on the outside but juicy inside, atop a zesty salad of pickled ramps and asparagus dressed in a light lemon-basil vinaigrette. Our favorite dish of the evening was the housemade ricotta gnocchi—its pillowy texture enhanced by the sweetness of the glazed (almost caramelized) baby carrots, fava beans, and spring peas. Grilled corn-fed sirloin (from local purveyor Red Apron Butchery) bathed in a green peppercorn sauce and a pleasantly tart strawberry-rhubarb cobbler rounded out the meal. Planet Wine’s Farm Table offers a truly unique private dining experience. Nestled among hundreds of wine bottles (pick your own and pay only a $10 corkage fee), the table conveys both intimacy and informality. Large white pillar candles create a romantic mood; the occasional customer (dinner starts a little before the shop closes) makes you feel like you’re among the privileged few. But with multi-course menus (with a signature cocktail) ranging from $45 to $85 per person and no room rental charges, everyone can afford to have a seat at this table.* *For reservations, contact Clare Parker at 703-447-1757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.