In the old Pine 22 space, which was another victim of the eat today, gone tomorrow Orlando dining scene, there is a new restaurant on the corner of Orange and Pine called the Artisan's Table. An updated decor and calm blue walls gave off a more sophisticated feeling to this space, but I knew the proof would be in the cuisine to detect if we got an culinary upgrade or another dead restaurant walking. We decided to be early birds on a Friday evening and arrived around 6 p.m. When you enter, the small bar area is still there from the Pine 22 days, with the addition of a small lounge area with a couch and a few additional chairs. I had hoped they would have increased the bar area, but with the cost of rebuilding portions of an already functioning space I can understand taking it as is.
Besides a few people hanging out in the bar/lounge area the main dining room was empty, but I didn't give it a second thought since downtown doesn't get pops for dinner until later in the evening.
They had a decent beer and wine list along with some signature cocktails, of which I ordered "The Maverick"; hanger one vodka, lime, peach, orgeat, dom de canton ginger liquor, & black walnut bitters which I was told are made in house. Ian got a Jai Alai IPA beer.
For some reason that night my stomach was not being cooperative so I was hesitant to order a heavy dish for dinner, so I inquired about the soup of the day. My charming and attentive waiter informed me that it was a kale & sausage soup. It sounded safe so I ordered it and Ian ordered poached cod with quinoa.
Our food came out quickly and I was over the moon for my soup after the first spoonful. It was flavorful and had so much more going on in it besides the two main ingredients. Assorted vegetables, chick peas, a rich broth - everything I could have hoped for.
My eyes wandered to Ian's plate and I was surprised to see a bowl. His beautiful cod was sitting in a bowl of quinoa with large pieces of barely grilled half soggy bread. He seemed confused, but I did point out the menu explained it as "grilled bread salad", whatever that is. I took a small piece of his cod which was a little on the salty side, but otherwise very good. I then dug into the quinoa and "bread salad" and it was like I had just ingested a spoonful of salt. I couldn't understand what had been done to this dish! The fish was cooked so well, but it was basically marinating in a bowl of sodium. Needless to say I didn't bother him for a second bite.
I decided since my meal had only been a bowl of soup, there was no reason to say no to dessert. I chose the Hazelnut Affogato, and may have let a sort of pig squeal when the adorable tray was brought to me. This dessert delighted me for many reasons. Coffee + Ice Cream + Liqueur is a win. The presentation was very cute, and from a restaurant’s perspective the execution is simple and more than likely this is a low cost, high margin item. I slowly poured the hot espresso and frangelico in to my bowl and let the magic happen.
I was surprised to see that the Artisans Table was open for all day parts, so I am very interested in going back for breakfast. I would also like to see if they fill up for dinner service later in the evening.
A few cons for me would be the possible over use of salt (perhaps a fluke) and surprisingly the bathroom. For a restaurant of their size I would except there to be more than one stall in the women's bathroom, especially since the building is newer.
One additional pro was the dining room chairs! As someone who has a bad lower back I found the chairs really comfortable. Also, if I could purchase that soup by the vat I would. The wait staff was also very helpful and friendly. Overall our waiter seemed knowledgeable about the menu.
I'm excited to go back for breakfast and try more items when my stomach is more willing to accept my normal trough sized meal.
Check out the Artisan's Table menu here.