Table Mesa Bistro has held three nights of sneak previews in preparation for the restaurants official opening Monday.
Depending on the restaurant staffs abilities after their sneak preview Friday night, Table Mesa might open for a late dinner on Saturday before its official opening, said restaurant owner Carl Garrett.
Garrett describes his menu as modern Latin cuisine with a twist, and his decor as classic old world charm with modern touches.
Garrett and his family are originally from Seattle. When they migrated from the northwest, they brought with them a fresh fish menu with an emphases on healthy food and scratch kitchen cuisine.
Scratch kitchen restaurants do not use any ready prepared foods. Everything is homemade in the restaurant’s kitchen.
"The Latin side provides the bold, citrus spiciness and rich flavors that people really enjoy, and then we get to incorporate those methods with salmon, ahi tuna and beef," Garrett said.
Originally the name of the restaurant was going to be Table, but when Latin and Spanish style cuisine came into play, the Spanish translation of table or Mesa was added.
The name enables the restaurant to appeal to different appetites.
"With Table we can put a burger on the menu or a Reuben, some fun things that you like, and the Mesa side enables us to do the Latin fare, so we can fit in any marketplace and fit the needs of many people," Garrett said.
The Table Mesa brand is owned solely by Garrett in Bentonville and Fayetteville as well as Joplin, Mo. Garrett says he has no plans of franchising the restaurants to ensure quality control.
Future plans include a farm to table concept in Rogers where Garrett plans to form relationships with regional, national and international farmers to bring back a time when farm foods were a persons core diet.
Garrett said the inspiration for his Latin cuisine comes from the ideals of Christopher Columbus discovering the new world.
Columbus comes to America bringing old stuff like meat, salt and fish, but he discovers things like lemons, limes and grapefruit as well as other unique spices as he makes his way toward Mexico, Garrett said.
"To take some of those foods and incorporate it with the old world... that’s our inspiration," he said.
Garrett’s favorite item on the menu is the Miso Salmon dish. The fish is cooked on a plank of cedar with a homemade miso sauce paired with Asian vegetables in a white wine, garlic butter sauce.
"Everything we do from stables of rice and beans - all of it has to have a particular focus to make the whole meal good," Garrett said. "You can’t do a great job with the fish and forget about the stables. They’re just as important."
Garrett says if you’re looking for a cheap lunch, you’re not going to find it at Table Mesa because the restaurant takes a hit on its cost for the quality of its food.
An average lunch will cost about $15, Garrett said, but this will include a mango iced tea made with fresh fruit versus a syrup that is typically used at other restaurants. As well as a Kobe beef burger with a side.
"People don’t mind trading their dollars up for a little bit more, and feel good about what their spending," he said. "I think they’ll find that we’re very affordable especially when with the quality of food that we have we can contend with most major fine dining restaurants with a lot less price."
For those who enjoy the storefront bar, Garrett said, though there won’t be a time for discounted drinks, the tapas menu will be offered at half price for a few hours to give people a chance to sample the fare.
The restaurant’s rooftop will be used for private bookings where customers can enjoy Table Mesa foods through dinner parties on the roof, he said.
The bar is chef driven specializing in margaritas with fresh lime and agave, and mojitos with fresh herbs and homemade syrups.
"There’s a cult following of mojitos in our restaurants," Garrett said. Between the Cheap Dates appetizer made with smoked bacon, cream cheese and Gorgonzola, and the signature cocktails, Garrett anticipates a good experience.
Garrett said the restaurant’s true emphasis is on the quality ingredients of the food that he hopes can be something special to Downtown Conway.
Even though we were city slickers from Seattle, Garrett said, the people of Bentonville welcomed us with open arms and inspired us with Southern hospitality to be successful.
"I think that’s an Arkansas thing, and we’re feeling we’re going to get the same thing down here because people are genuine and sincere and we’re genuine and sincere and it will be a good match and relationship," he said.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)