Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Deposit required for group reservations at Fable Kitchen

Fable Kitchen has added themselves to the Mealshare charity, and I decided to drive some business their way to appreciate their participation. Initially I had thought to make a late-seating reservation for 8 persons (second seating typically means no busy third seating behind you and you can take your time, especially if you are in a larger group). However, the restaurant policy has sort of thrown a wrench into things, with not just a group menu, but requiring deposits.

I should first say that I am not upset at the restaurant. Every restaurant has to contend with no-shows, and the busier the restaurant, the more upsetting it is for them since those seats could have been easily snapped up by another party or a few walk-ins.
Fable does have quite the comprehensive policy including deposits, which in turn means you really need to be able to count on your party to show up. That, sadly, is pretty hard to do with the dining club I am in. Over a year ago, I tried the buy-to-share Premeditated Gluttony option at Wildebeest and it was sort of a scheduling disaster. 12 persons were expected but only 6 from our dining group showed. Duh.

There are two options for parties of over six (6) guests. I've split up the information provided by them into the two options.

Option A: Four Course Group Menu - $45 +12% tax +18% gratuity = $58.50 per person
Parties of over 6 guests usually dine on our four course group menu (attached) so our small kitchen can run smoothly. It is $45/person plus tax & 18% gratuity. The menu is personal salad to start, family style appetizers from our popular choices, choice from four of our most popular entrees, and dessert served family style. Menu items do change as seasonal product does, and I know that Chef Bird and Chef Rogers may well make changes, but the 'bones' of it will remain the same. We have served this menu a number of times now, to rave reviews. We have no problem accommodating any special requests or dietary restrictions for any of your guests, please let us know of any of these in advance.
The sample menu provided (2014-Feb-8 version, apparently) was:

1st Course
Local Greens (Seasonal ingredients from our local farmers)

2nd Course (Served family style)
Chickpea Fritters (Pickled red onion, pea shoots, curry mayo)
Mussels (Chorizo broth, cream, apples)
Canned Tuna (“The best canned tuna”)

3rd Course (choose one)
Slow Cooked Steelhead Trout (Kale & mustard salad, mushrooms, carrot purée)
Free Range Chicken (Barley risotto, heirloom carrots, soubise sauce)
“Steak Frites” (Triple cooked potatoes, mushrooms, broccolini)
Roasted Vegetable Cassoulet (Beans, roasted winter vegetables)

Final Course
Assorted Desserts - determined by chef

Option B: Family Style Platter - $50 +12% tax +18% gratuity = $65 per person
We have a second option for groups. It is a 3 course meal which has the same appetizers and desserts served family style, but the main course is a family style meal, served on a platter (or platters) to the table. This meal has a great 'wow' factor, and has been extremely well received. The most popular of these has been pork 3/4 ways, but we have also done whole roast duck and whole roast fish. This meal is $50/person, plus tax & 18% gratuity. If this is of interest, please let me know which style of entrée you would be interested in so that I may consult with Chef Bird or Chef Rogers if it is expected to be available at the time of your booking.
If you are interested in making the reservation, we take a $10(four course)-$15(family style) per person deposit to hold the seats and for the advance preparation required, depending on the menu chosen. If all guests reserved for arrive the night of, or we receive at least 48 hours notice of a change in the numbers, the full deposit will be applied to your bill the night of your reservation. (Or refunded to you the night of if that is preferred.)
The group menus and fixed prices add up to a minimum spend per table (before drinks) of around $60 per person. If this looks daunting to you, you should try booking an 8-person table at Bistro Sakana -- $500 before-tax minimum spend was the quote last time I checked.

In the end, given that I generally can't rely on people to even give me 24-hour cancellation notice, I decided to ask instead for a 4-person table. We could, however, be sneaky and have a second person make a separate reservation (like we did at Hawksworth) for 4...

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