Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps; Kung Pao Calamari; Crab Toasties; Grilled Trout Salad; Guinea Hen Fricassee; Wild Boar Ragu; Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake; Kahlua Brownie
Fit for a King
Table Five 08
508 State St., Salem, OR 97301
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.; Sunday – closed
Owners: Brothers Jason and Steven Freeburg
Atmosphere: Located at the corner of State and High streets — the spot formerly occupied by La Capitale — this lively gastropub gets a lot of natural light, even on rainy days. An open kitchen gives the dining room a bustling, cosmopolitan feel.
Clientele: Willamette law school professors, businessmen in pressed suits reading the Wall Street Journal, state senators, lobbyists and businesswomen going through financial statements.
Most popular: Burgers, accompanied by a side of crisp rosemary sea-salt fries. Other favorites include the miso broth ramen — served with poached egg, pickled vegetables, nori and your choice of pork belly, chicken or portobello mushrooms; the BLA sandwich (spice-rubbed bacon, lettuce, avocado on whole wheat).
Best seat in the house: When the weather heats up, sit at an outdoor table on leafy State Street. Indoors, the best places to see and be seen are one of the two-tops in the front dining room.
Danger zone: The cornmeal cake with lemon-rosemary glaze, the Kahlua brownie sundae with housemade buttermilk ice cream and whatever seasonal fruit pie is on the menu.
Inside dope: Long time Salem residents have fond memories of shopping for cards and stickers at Razzle Dazzle, which was located in this location for many years.
Overheard: “They live in Anchorage and come down once a month and spend the night,” said one woman, speaking to her lunch-time companion. Two other women ordered cocktails with their lunches. “Red and Fluffy has elderflower in it — and I love elderflower!” said one, while perusing the cocktail menu. Later, after popping some vitamins, she said, “I take it, like, five times a day when I’m sick.”
Solidarity: “Everybody shares duties here,” says bartender Rob Melton. “Jason is the executive chef. He develops recipes, and they go into the kitchen and everyone is trained. One week, it’ll be Mike, then it’ll be Christie or Alfred.”