Table 3 Restaurant and Wine Market sits quietly nestled in Green Hills, but a visit to this quaint French bistro is worth the traffic you might encounter to get there. While the menu and wine list read French brasserie, the vibe skews more “Cheers” because it seems here that everybody does know your name.
Flooded with regulars who are often greeted with hugs from owners Wendy Burch and Elise Loehr, even if you aren’t a familiar face at Table 3, you will feel like one. Wendy remembers a group gathered for a birthday lunch recently, and as soon as they started singing “Happy Birthday,” a lady at another table chimed in and sang along.
That lady was Reba McEntire.
The restaurant’s unassuming vibe and atmosphere permeate the menu, the staff and the bar at Table 3. Although the menu reads French, Wendy is quick to remind you that coq au vin is red wine-braised chicken and mashed potatoes. And cassoulet? Pretty much white bean stew just like your grandmother may have made, although tastier thanks to Executive Chef Joe Shaw’s perfectionist touch on everything he serves.
The eatery’s high-quality food served in a down-home setting is more historical than accidental.
“During the French Revolution in the late 1700s, a lot of chefs who worked for the aristocracy were put out of business, so they started their own restaurants in the towns and villages where they were from,” Chef Joe says. “That’s where bistro cooking came from. We are the same in that we are very much about our guests and our neighborhood.”
Interested in experiencing that vibe for yourself? Here are the top three reasons to check out Table 3.
Hands-down, the No. 1 reason to dine at Table 3 is the food. The ownership and staff here take the food very seriously and prepare and serve it beautifully. No detail is too small for the culinary team at Table 3. You might not notice that the stocks and sauces are all made from scratch, but you will notice that something about their entrées taste better than others you’ve tried. It’s that je ne sais quoi.
The culinary team even has a special way to prepare French fries that takes it down to a molecular level.
“We hand press and soak the potatoes in water for hours,” Joe said. “They are then blanched at 325 degrees for five minutes and put on a tray where they are allowed to cool. Then they go in the freezer, which causes the moisture in the cells to freeze. This ruptures the cell walls, which creates a creamy inside. We fry them to order, and the end result is a nice, creamy inside with a crisp outside.”
All breads from hamburger buns to baguettes are made in-house. Table 3 offers an extensive pastry program, also made in-house, and their chicken rub consists of 11 spices; yet one of the most popular items on the menu is the duck burger.
“While much of our food can take days to make and has a detailed process, the food itself is not fanciful,” Wendy says. “It’s great comfort food that we know you are going to love.”
The Wine Selection and Market
Elise is not only co-owner of the business, but she is also the house sommelier who has gone to great lengths to keep the Table 3 wine list and pairing suggestions simple and affordable. Wendy jokes that customers shouldn’t worry if they can’t pronounce the names of the French wines.
“Not all of us can pronounce all the wine on the list either,” she says. “Elise can, and Tess, one of our bartenders, who grew up in France.”
For the restaurant’s wine selections, Elise says she wanted them to follow the theme of the restaurant.
“We created the restaurant to be a twist on a classic brasserie or bistro with regional French comfort food,” Elise shares. “We serve well-known French traditional dishes. They are comfortable and approachable. So the beverages needed to be in tandem with that. I wanted to have great beers and a diverse selection of prices and regions with our wine list.”
Wendy says every single drink selection in the restaurant has been given a stamp of approval by Elise.
“She has literally tasted every wine, beer and spirit in the house. From the house wine to the most expensive wine on the list — it would not be on there if she didn’t think it was worth it. Everything is selected with integrity.”
In November of this year, Elise and Wendy converted the patisserie adjacent to the restaurant into The Wine Market, a boutique retail shop that specializes in concierge-style service and offers wine, spirits, beer, vintage stemware and bar enhancements. Elise says the market grew out of customers’ constant inquiries over the last 15 years asking where they can get the wines served at her restaurants.
“I offer a lot of selections that may not be typical for our area, so they aren’t always seen on wine shop shelves here,” Elise says. “Now I can offer them, in addition to a wide variety of other unique items. I can guarantee they will get great personalized service.”
There are wines on the market shelves priced at $8. Elise even has wines in a can that are perfect to take to the pool or to be thrown into your purse for a mid-movie sip (shh)!
“I don’t put anything in The Wine Market that I don’t feel confident about,” Elise says.
Wendy and Elise attribute much of the success of Table 3 to their employees. They have a young, eager kitchen staff being educated by Joe, who is a veteran in the kitchen. Also, some of their managers are former servers, and the bar staff ensures that each visit to the bar turns into an experience.
“We have such a great team. Everyone really takes care of each other,” Wendy says. “It’s a great neighborhood restaurant. We have a lot of personalities but at the end of the day, we have an amazing staff. You can’t do what we do without people who care about what they do.”
Table 3 is located at 3821 Green Hills Village Drive, Nashville, TN 37215. Hours are: Lunch — Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Dinner — Sunday & Monday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Late Night — Friday & Saturday, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Brunch — Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This article originally appeared in StyleBlueprint