Our final stop for the culinary tour of Columbia was immediately across the street from Bourbon (and the South Carolina State House!) at the amazing Oak Table. Upon walking in for our time together, their staff offered up some of the most delicious and beautiful food and drink we could have imagined. Beverage Director, Jordan Moore, kept the cocktails coming. She knew the way to my heart with gin cocktails, and came up with a twist on the French 75 that was even better, more local (as in... herbs from their patio!), and incredibly gorgeous. With basil, fennel, mint, sage, tarragon and thyme from The Oak Table’s garden, lemon juice, sugar, green chartreuse, gin and bubbles, this herby twist on a French 75 is delightfully refreshing and pretty, like a little garden in your glass.
Executive Chef Todd Woods dreamed up a Maine Scallop Crudo to start for us featuring Holy Basil, heirloom tomato water, basil seed, local cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. The sweet, smooth texture of the scallops was an amazing complement to the refreshing tomato water, and basil. Not to mention, the dish looked like a work of art! Chef Woods’ presentation definitely impressed!
Focusing on local ingredients and farm fresh produce, the Tartine of Roasted Local Vegetables is quite possibly one of my favorite things I’ve eaten in a while. A perfectly charred piece of bread topped with herbed ricotta, Johnston County ham, fava beans, and a variety of roasted vegetables, this small plate was absolutely gorgeous and so full of flavor. Flavor continued with equally as striking and tasty entrees of the Carolina Heritage Pork Chop and the Handrolled Trofie Pasta. The Pork Chop was on top local Congaree Milling red corn grits, a Cabin Branch Farm cherry tomatoes and compressed peach salad, and a basil vinaigrette. Then the pasta with Cabin Branch Farm basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, South Carolina chanterelles, a pine nut crumble, and grana Padano with a soft egg, was amazing to experience and learn that it can be made vegetarian or vegan! For those not afraid of a runny yolk (yum), imagine breaking into the soft egg to create the most delicious sauce alongside the basil pesto.
We couldn’t close our tour of Columbia without one more dessert, so Chef Woods offered us multiple options, and naturally, we took them all. The goat milk cheesecake with blueberry-balsamic-thyme gel, almond streusel, and sugared blueberries was about as delicious as it looks. The tangy goat cheese cheesecake and balsamic flavors were an ideal contrast to the sweet blueberry and streusel, and Chef’s creativity was much appreciated. Speaking of creativity... Chef Woods doesn't shy away from incorporating local... and unique... flavors in his signature ice creams! They change with the seasons and the dreams of the team, but peach basil ricotta with grilled Watsonia Farms peaches, smoked cinnamon, and blueberry chamomile finished out our meal. Plus, one last surprise - I can’t forget about the most unlikely and delicious of them all: French fry ice cream! It’s exactly as you imagine: sweet, salty, creamy perfection. Picture Wendy's vanilla frosty & fries but 10 times better. Ask for the flavors of the day to see if anything strikes your fancy! Needless to say, we were FULL when we left.