Community Table, the Washington, CT restaurant that should be on every serious gourmand’s bucket list, debuted a stunning new dining room and bar this week, kicking off its high summer season with its signature rustic modern style.
The four-year old restaurant continues to set itself apart by a seasonally-driven New Nordic-inspired menu. Its talented team, led by James Beard-nominated Executive Chef Joel Viehland, has helped to establish Community Table as one of the region’s best restaurants.
The new dining room and bar, designed by architect Peter Talblot working closely with owner Peggy Anderson on the design vision, is anchored by a U-shaped walnut bar, increasing its capacity to 64 seats, up from 39. Black walnut, sleek pendant lighting, steel beams, and the bold yet rustic imagery of Josef Frank wallpaper compromise the new dining room’s modern palette, a seamless and elegant extension of the existing restaurant. This enlarged space is great news for diners during the restaurant's busiest summer months.
Perhaps most exciting, is Community Table's new bar program led by the talented and highly sought-after bartender Jason "Buffalo" LoGrasso. An alum of the San Francisco bar scene, LoGrasso worked at The Alembic, Bourbon & Branch, Saison, Quince, Cotogna, and Rich Table, before returning to the East Coast most recently at New York City's Del Posto.
I visited the restaurant during their soft opening to chat with Chef Viehland, taste a couple of cocktails, and take a spin around what is one of the most warmly modern and beautifully designed restaurants in Connecticut.
Executive Chef Joel Viehland
The new dining room is stunning, and blends so seamlessly with its original footprint. How important was this to achieve and who was the designer/architect behind it? Peter Talbot of Washington carried out the design vision of owner Peggy Anderson. It was very important to create a space that was an obvious different room that had its own character and vibe, but was still similar in style and design enough to be a 'darker more seductive twin.'
What are the materials used?There is a beautiful spectrum of woods used throughout. What is it? The wood is Black Walnut that was procured and made by Alfie Brown of Warren. The wallpaper was selected by Peggy Anderson, the owner. The wallpaper artist is Josef Frank.
The light fixture above the bar entrance, seems to match the other entrance, where is that from? Good question it's from a lighting company in Massachusetts called Birch and Willow.
New Dining Room & Bar at Community Table
Buffalo, Community Table's New Bartender
What are you most excited about with the new space?
The new bartender.
Tell me about your new bartender, Buffalo? He mentioned he was from some great spots in San Fran. How did you come to find him?
Jason 'buffalo' Lograsso is originally from Buffalo New York, he was most recently at Del Posto in NYC , he received most of his training in San Fran. He ran the bar program at quince, and started the program at Cotogna and helped open Saison's bar.
How will the cocktail menu reflect your menu and kitchen?
We will be using the same seasonal approach and will both use wild plants as well.
How many cocktails do you imagine you will rotate on the menu?
8-10 drinks. 4-5 original creations and 4-5 classic favorites.
CT Martini: English Cucumber Gin, Vermouth "Duet," Celery Ribbon
Community Table's New Bar-Side Entrance
The outdoor seating is thoughtful and minimally well-designed, how do you envision that space being used? Enjoying a cocktail outside is nice to have a little second space in a bar is important I think people get bored quick and a little variety like being able to enjoy a drink on the deck and while the sunsets or the cool evening winds down is always nice.
The new space extends the dining room, how many square feet or seats have you expanded to? Have you nearly doubled your dining space?
We are increasing the seating by 25 including the bar stool seats so we original had 39 seats. Now we have 64 seats.
Any changes to the menu this season? We'll add a few bar friendly items but mostly it will stay the same. And we are offering a tasting menu which one can get in the main dining room.
I spied a bee hive and were those compost bins out back? What else you got going on outside?Yes we have bees! Those are raised garden beds not compost. And we harvest the extra honey that the bees make for our honey in the restaurant.
Blood & Sand: Blended Scotch, Cherry Heering, OJ, Punt e Mes
Outdoor Bar Seating
Community Table is located at 223 Litchfield Turnpike (Route 202) Washington, CT. Reservations and information at 860.868.9354 or visit http://communitytablect.com/