If you have long admired the kitchen and dining merchandise at Crate & Barrel, you are likely to especially enjoy the contemporary culinary delights at The Table at Crate.
Opened in 2019 as a partnership between the retailer and Cornerstone Restaurant Group, the in-store restaurant at Oakbrook Center offers elevated cuisine from noted Chef Bill Kim in a setting that reflects the seasons and the times.
As one might expect, some of the table settings are in sync with Crate & Barrel’s seasonal merchandise, down to the plates, flatware and linens. The mood depends on your visit: during pandemic restrictions, heat lamps and string lights lend charm and coziness to the covered but well-ventilated outdoor patio. If you’re in need of some personal pampering, savor a meal in a corner vignette with upholstered couches and chairs strewn with decorative pillows. On a sunny summer day, feel the breeze sweep in while kicking back with a citrus-y cocktail against a backdrop of sky-blue fixtures, gleaming white surfaces and verdant potted plants.
When large gatherings are happening, you can find patrons making the most of the eatery’s namesake and centerpiece long table. Of course, there’s ample people-watching, too, since the store and restaurant are located on a busy corner within the open-air mall.
Chef Kim, acclaimed for the cuisine at his Urbanbelly restaurant in Chicago, brings a fresh, flavorful flair to the menu at The Table at Crate. The lunch and dinner menus include bright and healthy dishes spanning salads, bowls and pastas, many of which showcase a range of produce and light proteins, often sourced from local family farms. There’s heartier fare as well, including a stacked burger and a generous lemon chicken entrée.
Given the focus on aesthetics that bridge the store and restaurant, the plating here is decidedly Instagrammable. Whether it’s a vibrant tartine layered with mashed avocado, watermelon relish, pumpkin seed and an oozy fried egg, a shared plate of crispy edamame dumplings, or a shrimp poke bowl that’s a culinary and visual tapestry of ingredients, you might spend a little time gazing at your order before you dive in.
Thanks to the chef’s deft touch, the basics at The Table at Crate are likewise well above the ordinary. A case in point are the waffle fries with aioli, more than worth the $8 price once you try the potato bites seasoned with madras curry salt and paired with a tasty condiment.
In addition to lunch and dinner — which are also available for home delivery via DoorDash — Table at Crate offers creative desserts and includes a separate coffee and pastry bar with buttery croissants, scones and cookies. This winter, Chef Kim is creating signature ramen and dumplings as part of a delivery-only, pop-up version of his CBK Ramen Bar.
No table is complete without drinks, of course, and this Table offers plenty of inventive cocktails. Part of the entertainment is choosing between cleverly-named seasonal specials like 4Sweater Weather and Brown Derby and browsing the eclectic beer, cider and wine lists.
On a final note, if you fall in love with the tableware as you’re dining, there’s no doggy bag for it, but you can find the pieces in the adjacent Crate & Barrel store.