Last fall, Michael Smith moved on from his position at Marigold Catering, where he had worked for nearly a decade. Since then he’s launched his own catering company, taken the wheel of the popular Krav food truck and is now preparing to open the doors to his first restaurant, Thyme Table
(583 Dover Ctr., 440-781-3025) in Bay Village.
The restaurant opens tonight in the former home of 583 Bistro, a white tablecloth restaurant that did not survive. In preparation for the changeover, Smith and company have painted the walls an attractive forest green, installed a tin ceiling, added copper accents and yanked off the tablecloths to reveal warm wood tables.
Smith describes his restaurant as an upscale tavern, a comfortable place to enjoy good drink, great food and close friends.
“To survive these days, you can’t be a special occasion place,” he says. “Where we are, we have to be the kind of place you can afford to go to twice a week, but still have something on the menu so people can celebrate if they want to.”
Smith’s experience as a chef for a fashionable caterer provides him with a broad and deep inventory of dishes from which to choose for the restaurant, he notes.
“Everything we’ve done over the years has been custom so I’ve had the opportunity to cook pretty much every style of food that you can imagine,” he explains. “So when it came time to write the restaurant menu, it was fairly easy to pull things from the repertoire.”
On the menu are tempting-sounding snacks and starters like fresh-baked pretzels with beer cheese, crispy fried oysters with remoulade, flaming Greek cheese served with pita, and crispy tater tots capped with lobster, cheese and bacon.
There are handful of fresh, seasonal salads, sandwiches and burgers, and a concise selection of main courses. On the roster are beer-braised short ribs with cheddar grits and broccolini, peppercorn-crusted tuna with sticky black rice, roasted spring vegetable risotto, and grilled hangar steak with hazelnut romesco sauce and asparagus.
In addition to the 32-seat dining room, Thyme Table has a 14-seat bar and 60-seat patio. That bar offers a great selection of classic and not-so-classic cocktails, draft and bottled beers, and more than a dozen wines by the glass.
Beginning tonight, Thyme Table will be open for dinner nightly except Mondays.
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