by Alice Levitt
4807 Route 15, Jeffersonville 644-8920
Upscale comfort food is trendy. Jeffersonville is not. Most new restaurants which promise to deliver carefully crafted classics fail in execution. The Family Table does not.
Chef-owner John Raphael admits he's a picky eater, and it shows. His penne with wild mushroom pesto and spinach is al dente enough to satisfy Lidia Bastianich. Meats are brined for optimal flavor and moisture.
An open-faced hot turkey sandwich (pictured) doesn't ordinarily vary much from incarnation to incarnation, but the one at The Family Table is in its own class. The thick, succulent slabs of poultry are piled in layers of two or three over grilled bread — the tallest hot open sandwich I've ever seen. Though flavorful enough on its own, the meat is bathed in sage gravy and served with silken garlic mashed potatoes. The haricots verts on the side are cooked to perfection.
Buttermilk fried chicken soaks in salted water for three days before Raphael batters it in a coating worthy of the Colonel. There are two layers of the crisp exterior for a reason — the chicken drips lusciously with juice when you bite in. Delicately cut ribbons of fresh coleslaw complete the dish, along with gravy-topped chive mashed potatoes, every bit as good as the ones with the turkey. Variations of the creamy spuds are something of a specialty at The Family Table. There's even a bacon and onion variety with the grilled rib eye.
The menu is large and appealing. I can't decide if next time I need the maple and herb-brined pork chops, the lamb burger with tzatziki, feta and roasted red peppers or butternut squash ravioli with sage and pignoli in brown butter. One thing I do know, I will get the Chocolate Madness cake again. Though not made in-house, it is prepared specifically for the restaurant by a friend of the chef. Never before have I experienced so many textures in one piece of cake. The fudgy dessert has chunks of Heath bar, truffles, ganache and actual cake, if I remember correctly. If there's more don't blame me, I'm Chocolate Mad.