Table in Gallery Restaurant & Bar quietly grand-opened a week or so ago, replacing a tattoo parlor adjoining the tiny park at First Avenue and Yesler Way. This tiny park, triangular in shape, is confusingly named Pioneer Square Park; the actual square in Pioneer Square, a few blocks to the south, is called Occidental Square Park. By way of confusion reduction, Table in Gallery (also a confusing name, but a relatively accurate one) is on the park that is home to the pergola, the elaborate Victorian wrought-iron-and-glass canopy that a novice truck driver smashed his 18-wheeler into at the dawn of the new millennium. The restoration of the pergola was so meticulously carried out as to merit the Valerie Sivinski Award for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Projects; it now stands as perfectly elegant as it was upon its unveiling in 1909. Then it functioned as the entrance to what was called "the finest underground restroom in the United States."
The rehabilitation of the tattoo parlor, also meticulous, appears to have been a costly one: Table in Gallery is itself perfectly elegant, a long room with one exposed brick wall, a low and lovely ceiling of embracing beams, dark wood floors and chairs. Tables wear white tablecloths, and art hangs gallery-style (it's from New York and Los Angeles and Korea, and while not currently for sale, soon to be).
Amid Table in Gallery's understated décor, two things stand out: the sparkly lampshades made of butterfly-shaped paperclips above the marble-topped bar and the amazing restrooms. One wall of each restroom is made of one-way glass; from one stall in the women's room, you are afforded a startlingly full tableau of Table in Gallery—black-clad servers moving to and fro, a table seemingly close enough to touch. Superimposed on that: an also startlingly full reflection of self and toilet. The sinks, bizarre modernist sculptures, have flying-saucer-shaped faucets with sliver joystick controls in their centers. Impressive floods of water pour into transparent glass sink-bowls.
Table in Gallery's $3.45 happy-hour food offerings are outstanding only in their oddity. Lackluster efforts at "global fusion" included a grilled-chicken salad with mixed greens, preshredded cheese, and a sweet dressing with the slightest taste of wasabi; a Table burrito, much like the salad rolled up in a tortilla, presented in sections on a long white plate with a dish of ranch dressing; more chicken stir-fried with bell peppers in lettuce cups; and a sizzling platter of tiny shrimp and whole white button mushrooms. The soy-based sauce for the platter seems to be the same as for the stir-fry, only more reduced and thus, if possible, even saltier.
A smooth jazz XM Radio soundtrack and a lack of other patrons on a recent evening lent Table in Gallery a surreal quality. Inexpensive wines by the glass filled to the rim contributed mightily.
Table in Gallery, 614 First Ave, 332-0844