Reader Chris got our attention by posting a rave review of Around the Table on one of our restaurant comment pages that is linked from our Restaurant List. Around the Table is in Camas, Washington. We liked the look of the menu and also the place itself has an interesting look, being in an older building with unfinished brick walls and high ceilings.
The first hint that we were about to have an unsatisfactory evening came not in the form of food, but in temperature. The place was freezing. I’m kind of a big guy, and I’m the sort of person who is always too warm, so if I think a place is cold, it’s like a walk-in refrigerator. We both had the feeling that we were sitting under an air conditioner. When we complained to our waitress, she said that they would turn the heat up, but added the disclaimer that it would take a little while to come on because it was an old building. To be honest, we never felt any heat. If anything, it got colder. It must have been 50 in there.
Despite the temperature, we decided to press on. I ordered a cocktail, which wasn’t very good. The menu is in “small plate” format. So you can pick a bunch of different items. The menu is almost all gluten-free. They also have gluten-free bread so that you can eat their sandwiches. Appetizers are referred to as “really small plates” and give you a couple bites. We were told by our waitress that we could probably get a “really small plate” and then three or four “small plates” and that would be sufficient to feed two people.
Here’s what we sampled: Chorizo Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates, Curried Butternut Squash & Chickpeas, Pear & Gorgonzola Salad, Roasted Broccoli, and Our Famous Smoked Turkey Sandwich. For dessert we had to try the gluten-free Pear Tart.
The Chorizo Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates were good, but the Roasted Broccoli was a disaster. By disaster, I mean that someone had taken broccoli, burned it, refrigerated it, microwaved it until it was almost mush, and then left it to get room temperature before serving it. The Curried Butternut Squash & Chickpeas were also basically lukewarm and had also obviously been microwaved recently. The flavor was OK, but the texture was pretty weird. The yogurt on the squash was watery and strange.
The one thing going for the salad was that the greens were fresh. Otherwise, the dressing was uninspired, the pear slices came from a pear that wasn’t ripe and so they were rubbery and tasteless, and the roasted pecans were stale. Stale like stale popcorn.
I don’t know about anybody else, but when I go to a fancy restaurant and order a turkey sandwich, I don’t expect it to come with sliced processed turkey. There was bacon and a slice of apple in the sandwich, so you would expect it to be flavorful, but frankly, the sandwich was dull. The gluten-free bread was good.
At this point, we were expecting Gordon Ramsay to show up and pitch a fit. Since the dessert was unusually gluten-free, we decided to give it a try, even though by this time we were a bit worried about how it would be. What we got was a freezing cold, plated slice of what might have been an OK pear tart, although it would have been fairer to call it a cheese cake with pear slices.
Ignoring the cold, the atmosphere was kind of strange because they had music playing and something about the acoustics of the place made it sound like we were on top of a disco. Our waitress was kind of inattentive, and was either put off by our complaining about the temperature, or was just naturally frosty to match the temperature of the venue and the food, we couldn’t figure out which. On the plus side, she was helpful when talking to us about what was gluten-free on the menu.
Our experience at Around the Table was so singularly dissatisfying that we are still scratching our heads over it. I can think of only two other comparable experiences we’ve had: Dinner at Francis (which is now closed) and our Horrifying Valentines dinner at Wild Abandon. Sienna went on an Internet search to see what other reviewers were saying about it, and found strangely mixed reviews. People seem to either love the place or complain about how their entire meal had been murdered in a microwave. Maybe it depends on what night you go there? The bad news is that the place is expensive and thus not worth the gamble, at least in our book. Sorry Around the Table.
Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-free Friendly but Ask Questions!
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same.
Around the Table
316 NE Dallas Street, Camas WA / 360.834.0171
We want to know: Do you have a favorite gluten-free friendly sandwich in town? Have you been to Around the Table? Let us know in the comments!