Do you want an out-of-the-ordinary eating experience? A taste bud adventure? Community Table in Washington will deliver on this, along with their mission – to keep everything as local and as seasonable as possible. Naturally, ingredients are almost all locally sourced and even foraged in some cases, by Executive Chef Marcell Davidsen. They also do their own salting, smoking, pickling, drying, and curing.
Keeping it local from the start (6 years ago) Community Table was designed and built by a local architect and builder. A couple of the amazing tables inside were handcrafted by local woodworkers with local wood (including one huge black walnut community table). Kent Falls Brewing and Litchfield Distillery are available at the bar. Pre-tty cool.
After our fun morning in the kitchen and bar making dessert and Palomas – recipes here – we sat with the team for a little chit chat time.
We suggest a quick browse through the menu here.
Executive Chef Marcell Davidsen [left] Chef de Patisserie Matthew Neele [middle] and Mixologist/Bartender Jamie Monahan [right]
What sets Community Table apart from other restaurants?
Jamie Monahan – What I think is really interesting is that it’s not just farm to table. We’re doing a lot of local stuff too. It’s very experimental. I mean, Chef Marcell just added knotweed to the menu, which is a very invasive plant in New England.
UL – You can eat that??!
Matt Neele – Yes, once it’s cooked you can eat it. It tastes like cooked rhubarb.
UL – Really?! And you do the whole foraging thing don’t you, Marcell? How do you do that?
Marcell Davidsen – Just go out in the woods. Right now we have garlic mustard, ramps, trout lily, beechwood, and pine tips.
UL – Where did you learn to forage?
MD – Research, and seeing what other chefs are doing in Scandinavia. The new Nordic cuisine is very well known for finding everything in the woods. Our whole philosophy of Nordic cuisine is we were Vikings, living many, many years ago…there was no Whole Foods…where did we get all the stuff, power, and energy to sail across the ocean? They got it in nature. We have a bounty of all this super delicious stuff, and it’s the same here.
UL – Can people see the menu online?
MD – Yes, we show our seasonal menu online on our website, but we change the menu so frequently it can be hard to keep up with the day-to-day. A lot of things change, depending on what we get from the farm. Call ahead we can tell you the daily menu.
UL – Jamie, tell us about the cocktails at Community Table.
JM – It’s a really cool time for cocktails right now. There’s so much innovative stuff happening and people are getting more experimental and are willing to try something that maybe they wouldn’t have wanted before. They’ve gotten more excited about trying new things in drinks, not just in food. So that’s fun. You can do interesting things with bitters, or infusions. Really change up the classic cocktails, or just make something completely new entirely, and people are willing to try it.
UL – Are you constantly dreaming up new cocktails in your head?
JM – Yeah, I have a lot of ideas. Infusions, I think, are a quick way to change a cocktail. A lot of things have simple syrup but if you put basil in your simple syrup that really changes your cocktail.
UL – And what’s your favorite drink?
JM – That’s a tough question. As crazy as I like to get making cocktails, I really do like a great rye old-fashioned. That’s my favorite right now. I started my career in an Irish pub, so I drink mostly stouts and whiskey.
UL – Tell us about the wine list…
JM – Our wine list has recently been renovated by Todd, one of our servers. He’s incredible with wine. He’s really been bringing in a great selection of exciting and different wines. We also carry the classics.
UL – Matt, do you have a favorite dessert?
MN – That’s not a fair question. Desserts are just good in general. You should start dinner with dessert if you ask me. Crème Brûlée is my favorite.
UL – Do you have a happy hour? We’re asking for a friend…
JM – We do $4 drafts and $2 off cocktails. From 5:30 to 6:30, we also offer a small food selection.
UL – Ooooh! How do we find out about the specials you do here?
MD – Sign up for our newsletter – we send it out every Sunday. You can find out about all our promotions.
UL – We will! [click here to sign up too! www.communitytablect.com/contact]
223 Litchfield Turnpike
Washington, CT 06777
Words/Interview: Bev, Pics: Lora