The two restaurants reviewed in today’s TOC dining section, OTOM and TABLE fifty-two have a lot in common: they both serve variants of haute comfort food, they both overuse the majuscule, and they’re both associated with large institutions (MOTO and Oprah, respectively). And in case the point wasn’t already driven home enough, both reviews feature photos of mac and cheese! OTOM’s appetizer portion features Andouille sausage and anise for $14, while TABLE’s three cheese macaroni is $9 side.
Despite the similarities, the establishments have fairly divergent narratives. OTOM, as Heather Shouse reports, is drawing a high-yuppie crowd for its contemporarified comfort food, which can end up looking fairly dim next to the bright start of MOTO. In a slick setting with high prices, comfort food ought not be boring, but that seems to be an issue here. On the other hand, David Tamarkin finds TABLE to be attracting middle-aged Oprah starf*ckers who are missing the point of Art Smith’s wonderfully rich, very well-prepared modern Southern food (although to be fair, the food here is also occasionally boring). OTOM seems to be the winner on atmosphere and decor, but TABLE has the edge on food.
• A go-getting young chef talks about his new high-end suburban restaurant
• Paramount Room, a new pub/gastropub (eye-roll) opening in River West
• Farmers market blueberry honey combines two hot-right-now ingredients
• Pops for Champagne has a peach bellini pitcher for $22