A group of chefs in town has created a collaborative, creative, unique dinner club concept called Ten Tables that started last December. With a new menu featured each week, the chefs present an eight-course meal of their choosing, with an amuse (a single bite-size appetizer), salad, soup, two appetizers, two entrées and a dessert.
We recently had the opportunity to attend a Ten Tables dinner, which is not the easiest seat to get, as you’ll read below. And while typically one or two courses are cooked by each chef, the night we attended, there were six chefs and eight courses. Here’s a recap of the fun Ten Tables experience we had, as well as everything you need to know to score a seat at the table.
Getting a Seat at the Table
Diners are chosen from a lottery system. The Ten Tables guys announce the dinner on their Facebook page, and fans reply that they would like to attend and include the number of people in their party. Selected folks are chosen at random to attend the dinner. Every Monday at a different venue, 40 lucky diners fill Ten Tables (we ate at Loop 22), and have the opportunity to enjoy a professionally prepared, eight-course meal. Dinner begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. with a short cocktail time before.
If snagging a seat at one of the 10 tables is up your alley, here are 10 things to know about the Ten Tables experience. The images below showcase our eight-course meal in all its glory and in chronological order.
1. It’s a $75 prix-fixe menu. There is also an accompanying $40 wine or beer flight. But do the math. If you are not up to drinking eight glasses of wine or beer on a Monday night, I suggest not doing the flight and instead just ordering by the glass. That being said, ours was the only table to NOT get the flights.
2. You see all kinds here. We were definitely on the older side, but each Monday brings a different random group of people. The one thing everyone had in common was a love of food. And for our table, a love of not having to cook dinner on a Monday night.
3. Do NOT eat your course until the chef comes out to introduce it. We learned that one the hard way with the “amuse” course. We were licking our plates when the chef came out to talk about what he had made. Oops.
4. Monday was a perfect night to do this. Contrary to logic, it was the least busy night on all of our calendars, and we were so grateful to go.
5. Chefs all pick their assigned course(s) the previous Monday. By the end of our Ten Tables dinner, they were already picking their course selection out of a hat for the next dinner.
6. There is no rhyme, reason, or rules for the courses. They are truly chef’s whim. They usually start their planning the Thursday before the dinner (on Monday). Our week was an overwhelmingly Asian theme, and none of them had planned or collaborated on it.
7. The chefs are all friends and are all connected somehow through their restaurants. Dustin Staggers is the owner of and executive chef at Roux, and the owner of Rumplings and the soon-to-be-opened Diner America. Griffin Paulin is Dustin Staggers’ partner at Rumplings. Chip Hartley works at Rumplings. Adam Burress owns Game, Hammerheads and Loop 22. Eric Morris is a partner and the executive chef at Loop 22. Ethan Ray works at both Roux and Rumplings, and will be the chef de cuisine at Roux, once Diner America opens. Got it? There will be a test on this later.
8. The meal seems impromptu, but the entire night is carefully planned. Once you commit to attending, you cannot cancel or you will still have to pay the $75. They are buying food for a certain number of people and they need that number to show up for dinner.
9. No picky eaters. No special requests. If you have a lot of dietary restrictions, this is not the place for you.
10. We’d do it again. In fact, we all would go back in a second, and possibly every Monday if we were selected. We loved going over each course, talking about the things we liked and just generally being so impressed with every aspect of the meal.
Want to try out some of the restaurants where these chefs work? Here’s where to go:
- Roux, 1325 Bardstown Road, Louisville • (502) 530-0531
- Rumplings Slop Shop, 2009 Highland, Louisville (No phone number listed)
- Game, 2295 Lexington Road, Louisville • (502) 618-1712
- Hammerheads, 921 Swan St., Louisville • (502) 365-1112
- Loop 22, 2222 Dundee Road, Louisville • (502) 802-3279
Let us know if you are chosen as one of the lucky 40 diners to experience Ten Tables. I know I’ll be putting my name back in the lottery soon. May the odds be ever in your favor!