Social media-savvy chef Justin Beckett has had his work cut out for him in the renovation of Arcadia's old That's Italiano building, whose progress over the past several months he's frequently photographed, Tweeted, and posted on Facebook.
Just from the pictures alone, it's apparent that opening his own restaurant, Beckett's Table, has been a labor of love.
Now the former executive chef of Canal is about to open his casual neighborhood spot next Wednesday, October 27, along with his wife, Michelle, and longtime friends/co-owners Scott and Katie Stephens.
Beckett told me a while back that they want guests to feel like they're at a dinner party at his house. To that end, the restaurant will have an intimate, convivial atmosphere with an open kitchen, a cozy patio, and a community table made from a fallen black walnut tree.
The seasonal American menu is comforting, with a contemporary twist. Sweet corn fritters are embellished with lobster sauce and red pepper puree, while creamy grits are teamed with spicy Schreiner's sausage, arugula, and mustard jus. There's also "Gaga's matzo ball soup" -- a secret family recipe -- as well as salads and side dishes like bacon cheddar biscuits with apple honey butter.
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Nine entrees sound like the kind of food I start craving in late October: chicken and dumplings with herbed saffron cream, short ribs with mashed potatoes, bourguignon pot pie, local pork osso buco confit with butternut squash spaetzle, roasted vegetables and black pepper reduction, and a "B" burger on brioche, topped with Boursin cheese, bibb lettuce, bacon, beefsteak tomato, and basil aioli.
Appetizers range from $5 to $10, and entrees are $13 to $19.
Seven craft cocktails will add to the restaurant's community spirit, with names like the "Legend City" and "Palmaire." There will also be Four Peaks and three other beers on draft, as well as 25 wines by the glass, pichet, or bottle, eventually expanding to 50.
Beckett's Table will be open from 5 to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, at 3717 E. Indian School Road. Lunch service will start in 2011. Call 602-341-3004 for details. The website, www.beckettstable.com, will be live on Friday.