SIOUX CITY -- When co-owner Scott Salem was developing a new fall/winter menu for Table 32, he didn't know if he wanted to concentrate on trendy, upscale fare or comfort food favorites.
To settle the debate, he came up with a menu that had plenty of both.
"Our customers want a variety of foods in a comfortable setting," Salem said, inside the dining room of the restaurant at 100 Virginia St. that he and business partner Jesse Miller opened less than a year ago. "Sometimes, they're in the mood for something gourmet and, sometimes, they're in the mood for something familiar. We're here to satisfy each appetite."
Salem and Miller, both veterans of the former Bev's on the River, wanted their restaurant to appeal to people who want upscale meals in a decidedly unstuffy atmosphere.
"We loved Bev's but it acquired a reputation for being a special occasion restaurant," Miller said. "We knew Table 32 would succeed only if it had much broader appeal."
This "something for everybody" approach can be found in the restaurant's menu.
While diners can indulge in such meaty Midwestern meals as a 12-ounce Open Prairie Natural Angus ribeye steak that is served with smashed potatoes and roasted asparagus, they can also achieve Zen with Table 32's new Poke Bowl, which has ahi tuna, sesame seeds, scallions, rice noodles and a spring mix that's served with a house-made marinade.
In addition, diners can order sear-roasted duck that is served with roasted figs and a honey-soy pan sauce over a bed of risotto or they can discover something much decadent, like the restaurant's new Chicken and Waffles.
"It has been a surprise hit for us," Miller said. "It consists of a crispy chicken breast, a cornbread waffle, andouille sausage, jalapenos, bell peppers, buttermilk gravy and a bourbon-bacon caramel sauce."
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"That's definitely a head-turner," Salem said. "Want to order something that will draws plenty of oohs and aahs? Chicken and waffles will do it every time."
Indeed, the restaurant that is housed inside of a completely refurbished, century-old building also gets plenty of oohs and aahs.
Miller said they were immediately intrigued at the prospect of opening Table 32 in Virginia Square, which is part of Ho-Chunk Inc.'s $30 million effort to transform a group of aging industrial buildings into a thriving downtown residential and commercial district.
"The space was located downtown and it had plenty of character," he said. "That was important to us."
So was creating a restaurant that appealed to younger and older patrons as well as a large families or urban workers wanting a night out on the town.
"When people ask us about the market we're going after, we tell 'em Table 32 is going after anyone who wants delicious food in a fun setting," Salem said.
This includes people who may want a Korean BBQ Strip Steak (8-ounce New York Strip, a house dry rub, eel sauce and an Asian cucumber salad) one night or the Animal (one-half pound burger, basil aioli, caramelized onions, mushrooms, white cheddar and an egg) the next night.
"There's nothing wrong with mixing things up a bit," Salem said.