Magazine article Sunset

Dining: Table Talk

Magazine article Sunset

Dining: Table Talk

Article excerpt

Sometimes, half the fun in dining out is trying to overhear the conversation at the next table. Now this pleasure is going aboveground at communal tables in restaurants around the West. Places that have you rubbing elbows with fellow diners range from casual to haute, and the experience can be as solitary or social as you like. Michael Hebberoy, cofounder of Family Supper in Portland, says: "Some people walk away from our dinners with a few business cards; some walk away with friends for life."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

THE PLACE                THE VIBE      WHAT TO ORDER    THE CONVERSATION

BOULDER, CO              Friendly      Grass-fed lamb   A mix: You might
The Kitchen              rustic-urban  with mint raita  hear the
1039 Pearl St.           chic in an    or asparagus-    esoteric musings
303/544-5973             open-all-day  and-tarragon     of Greek
$$$                      space that's  orzo. Monday is  professors from
                         made for      Community        the nearby
                         lingering--   Night: $35 for   university or
                         use your      a big, family-   moms dishing
                         laptop with   style meal.      about
                         the                            motherhood.
                         restaurant's
                         Wi-Fi.
PORTLAND                 Like a        Each night the   A democratic
Family Supper            festive       chef chooses     interplay--
2240 N. Interstate Ave.  public        what "addresses  everyone from
503/235-2294             dinner party  the season--     Nike executives
Dinner Wed-Sat,          (three big    what's the one   to performance
reservations required    tables seat   perfect thing    artists--
$$$                      up to 50) or  to cook that     discussing when
                         "culinary     day," says       and through whom
                         happening,"   Hebberoy. You    they first came
                         says          might find       to dinner.
                         cofounder     shell-bean
                         Michael       ragout or
                         Hebberoy. It  chanterelle-
                         began as an   onion tart.
                         invitation-
                         only dinner,
                         via an email
                         list. … 
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