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Chef de Pue and his team at work in the exposed kitchen [Photographs: Brian Oh]

Inside Chef Frederik de Pue's recently opened Table in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C., you'll find a minimally decorated converted garage where chef de Pue and his staff work in full view of diners in an exposed kitchen that runs the length of the space. Those that enjoy the theater of cooking should claim one of the kitchen-side chef's tables.

Table is an interactive restaurant with hand-written menus incorporating French and Belgian cuisine with seasonality. At about 50 seats, Table's relatively small size is something de Pue counts as an advantage. "We're not large enough to need to have a consistent menu and have the freedom to be flexible."

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"Chef's Eggs" - a giant poached goose egg over a bed of mushrooms; for scale reference, that's a full sized cast iron skillet

Take, for instance, an intermittently featured poached goose egg dish that de Pue facetiously refers to as "Chef's Eggs.". He only receives 12 goose eggs every two weeks that are up to his standards, and he only makes as many egg dishes as he has eggs (so, not too many). Poached and served on a bed of chanterelle and beech mushrooms and a few pieces of crisp, buttery grilled toast, the giant goose eggs coat the already buttery mushrooms in more savory richness.

It's a dish that demonstrates de Pue's desire to "take familiar dishes, but make them unique by combining the flavors of many different ingredients." From a Burgundy snails dish served with a spinach flan to a dorade with soy marinated vegetables, it's easy to see de Pue's subtle, but inspired touches throughout the menu. There's also an extensive by-the-glass wine list.

Table has been off to a strong start since opening and to follow it up, de Pue will be opening Azur later in April. Billed as an "upscale casual contemporary" seafood spot that will open in Penn Quarter that will draw inspiration from American and Belgian cuisine.

Table
903 N St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 (map)
202-588-5200; tabledc.com

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