THE ULTIMATE BYOB – A FEAST OF FOOD AND WINE – TALULA’S TABLE, KENNETT SQUARE, PA
Conde Nast Magazine called Talula’s Table “the toughest restaurant reservation in America”. It is ranked #3 in difficulty by GRUB Magazine; ahead of the prestigious French Laundry in Napa, CA. It is without question the toughest BYOB to reserve and more importantly, it is worth the effort. Talula’s Table is a world-class dining experience.
It’s been 8 months now since our November 7th, 2008 dinner but the memory lingers on and I wanted to get my thoughts on paper before age began to color them. Before I tell you how I managed to get a reservation let me give you some background on Talula’s Table.
First of all, it is just what it’s name says it is, a table, a single table that seats 12 people. It is located in the back of a store selling gourmet specialty foods such as cheeses, sausages, fresh pastries, home-made salads, breads and olive oils. They can make you a quick lunch or you can order entire meals to go. At 7PM the store closes and attention is focused on the lone dining table in the rear. Chef/owners/friends/lovers/spouses Brian Sikura and Aimee Olexy who previously owned the super- popular Philly hot spot, Django are responsible for this culinary wonderland. The food and presentation are top notch. The menu is seasonal and changes about every 6 weeks.
When we dined there on November 7th of last year my wife Kathy and I were joined by five other couples, some from PA and some from NJ. For us Jersey residents it was almost a 90 minute trek out to Kennett Square. I did not make notes on either the food or the wine but I have recently noticed that a gentleman named David McDuff who publishes a blog titled “McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail” dined at Talula’s a few days after we did and posted an excellent review of the meal, which featured the exact same menu as ours. It makes for an interesting read. I do remember we had some nice German Rieslings (Spatlese), A few Pinot Noirs from Oregon, O’Reilly’s was one of them and the Chateau Souverain Cabernet. All of them complimented the meal nicely. We spent a good four hours enjoying the 8 course menu, each dish enthusiastically explained by the knowledgeable server. The total bill, with tax and gratuity was $125.00 per person. It was well worth the cost and all of us look forward to one day duplicating what was a thoroughly wonderful dining experience.
Here is how our reservation came about. I had called Talula’s in the summer of 2007 and was told they were booked for the rest of the year but would resume taking reservations on the first working day of January of 2008. On January 3rd, 2008 I came home from work at 5:30 AM and stayed up until the 7AM stated time when they would accept calls. I began dialing, and dialing and hitting re-dial while almost falling asleep, saved only by the irritating sound of the busy signal as I competed against other insane “foodies”. I was about to give up when an actual female voice said “Thank you for calling Talula’s”. My first response to her was “I have to be nuts to be doing this.”. She laughed and said “Nooooo..you will really enjoy the dinner, trust me.” I then received the next earliest opening which was over 10 months away. It was worth the wait. Hmmmmmm..it’s almost 7AM, I wonder if I called today…..that meal was really good….