The table is set for Top Chef contestant Carl Dooley's newest venture. The innovative chef, previously of Craigie on Main, teamed up with industry veteran Robert Harris to develop a new concept: The Table at Season to Taste, which they will unveil to the public on January 12. (Season to Taste is Harris' Cambridge-based catering company.)
Dinner at The Table will feature contemporary French cuisine in a rotating, four-course prix fixe menu for $65, with three savory dishes and a dessert that will leave guests feeling satisfied.
"For each course, there will be two options," Dooley said. He and Harris plan to offer a separate vegetarian menu, which will give guests a range of options.
The restaurant seats about 20 people, and Dooley said they aim to serve 40 to 45 people each night, keeping the operation small and focused. He said that that was one of the things that really attracted him to the project.
"It allows us the flexibility to change things on a whim," he said.
Four courses may seem extensive, but Dooley said they have specifically crafted the portion size to serve their needs.
"From a business perspective, the size of the operation is going to allow us to do that," he said.
Dooley left Craigie on Main in the spring, then filmed Top Chef over the summer. (The season is currently airing, and over the course of the first three episodes, Dooley comes out of the gate as a strong competitor.) When he returned to Cambridge, he worked some private events and did some catering.
"I was looking for something to kind of sink my teeth into," he said, when he was set up with Harris, who previously worked at Rialto, East Coast Grill, and more. Once Dooley saw the space Harris had at Season to Taste (2447 Massachusetts Ave.), he said he got really excited.
"It reminded me a lot of restaurants I worked at in Brooklyn. It felt like a cool opportunity to do something that was smaller and funkier," he said.
Before Dooley came along, Harris was running his catering company and holding private events and dinners out of the space. In preparation for opening The Table, Dooley and Harris made some renovations to the interior, which are now complete, and they have been holding private dinners in the restaurant.
"There were already a bunch of parties booked," Dooley said. "We wanted to honor those. Hopefully it gives us a bit of cushion," he said, allowing them to test some menu options ahead of the January 12 opening, for which they are already accepting reservations on their website.
"We wanted to give the guests a wide variety of flavors but not have it be a tasting menu format," Dooley said. "I don't really like long tasting menus. You sort of get fatigued," Dooley said, noting that everywhere he's worked has been a bit of a combination, so The Table "is sort of a happy medium."
Dooley said he was ready to "put some cool stuff on the plate" for guests. It's not fancy, "but you're going to get as good food as possible."