The much-hyped — at least, through word of mouth — opening of Elon’s newest restaurant, the Town Table, inspired many to try out the so-called “gastro pub.”
To owner Chris Russell, that means duck and a lot of it. There is almost nothing you can’t get without duck in or on it. Salad? Yes. Pizza? Sure. Nachos? Not exactly nachos, per se, but yes.
The beguilingly named duck “nachos” involve barbeque duck smothered in sauce and extra-sharp cheddar, dolloped on waffle-cut sweet potato fries. The combination of flavors is interesting, to say the least. Everything was good separately, but together the bold tastes overpowered one another and didn’t meld. But, the fries were crispy and the barbeque sauce is mild and sweet.
Bold and unusual flavors are the other themes of the Town Table, besides duck. With a chipotle burger, expect the requisite peppers but also brace yourself for a smattering of orange marmalade. When ordering pizza, make sure to expect robust, homemade sauce that could easily stand alone from the toppings instead of boring Ragu. Not to say that the exciting flavors are a bad thing, but they might be a bit much for students used to dining hall and Acorn meals.
Salads and fish, for lighter fare, also make an appearance. The spinach salad, served as-is or with a protein topping, is a knockout with creamy bacon dressing and a still-warm sliced boiled egg. The fish tacos, lightly spiced but served with incredibly fresh pico de gallo and cilantro sauce, also stand out as winners.
Though only a small sample of pasta was tried, it didn’t seem to live up to its bold companions. The alfredo was less cheesy than one might like, but the pasta was not too soft, a problem at some of Elon University’s dining establishments.
Nothing tops more than $12 for a single item, and some entrees are as low as $5 or $7, making the Town Table ideal for college students. Exercising taste buds never hurt anyone, so don’t be afraid to try anything and everything on the menu. If all else fails, the Town Table serves the same tomato soup as Acorn does on Fridays.