Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mission Table

Mission Table, on the Old Mission Peninsula just outside of Traverse City, MI, is the ideal mix of class and local fare.

There are some food experiences that travel beyond a simple meal with varied flavors.  These experiences bring you into a world of outstanding cuisine combined with a completely engrossing atmosphere.  THIS is fine dining.  THIS is excellent food and drink, made even more so by the company.  This is Mission Table.

A relaxed, elegant atmosphere awaits you at one of Traverse City's finest food destinations.

My lovely Lisa and I recently celebrated her birthday at Mission Table.  Present were her parents and a few of our closest friends.

I had heard little about this restaurant.  It yet remains somewhat of a mystery to the average Traverse Citian.  It is a bit removed from TC, but not too far as to be completely inaccessible, it is adjacent to Jolly Pumpkin afterall.

For those of you not yet familiar with Jolly Pumpkin or its location, both that restaurant (a fun place, but be careful with the beer) and Mission Table occupy the old Bower's Harbor Inn and The Bowery mansion about 15-20 minutes from TC on Old Mission Peninsula.

A "limited menu" is certainly anything but at Mission Table in Traverse City.

As just mentioned, at Jolly Pumpkin (as you can see in my review, linked above) I caution people on the beer selection.  It is certainly an acquired taste.  And, as is to be expected, Mission Table does share a bar with Jolly Pumpkin.  So, again, perhaps you should taste your selection before ordering a full pint.

However, the lovely, crisp beer, 129 I believe was its name......perhaps 159......something along those lines, is completely perfect.  A slight buttery first hit to the palette with a refreshing, slightly spicing afterward.  This is instantly one of my favorite beers.

Mission Table's offerings will instantly win you over.

The bar is the only thing shared by the two restaurants.  The atmosphere of Mission Table is wholly different from Jolly Pumpkin.  There is a relaxed class to the place, a sophisticated aire that does not seem forced or put on, but natural and comfortable.  There are no stuffed shirts, fake waitstaff or pretentious ideals here.  There is no show.  This restaurant is fine dining simply for the fact that it is all those things AND it allows the "fine" aspect to come through by way of its exquisite cuisine.

Many Traverse City restaurants attempt, and fail, to pull off what seems to come so effortlessly to the kitchen and staff at Mission Table.

Pictured above is the birthday girl's meal; grilled loin of lamb, French lentils, mustard sauce and seasonal vegetables.  Above that picture, you'll find my meal; filet mignon with roasted fingerling potatoes, seasonal vegetables in a red wine reduction.  Both plates were simply perfect, in every way.

If you're looking for a restaurant that offers a true escape, Mission Table is the place for you!

Our meals began with a pork belly dish and a scallop dish as well.  These were, as expected, delicious.

As it was her birthday, we brought along a cake, made by Katie, the pastry queen at Centre Street Cafe, a friend to Lisa and a couple of others gathered at the table.

Even birthdays are better at Mission Table!
What is it about a restaurant that can bring friends together and offer a simply superb experience?  There truly is something completely special about a place that can bring so many elements into line to make for such a perfect evening.  On its surface, a restaurant full of happy consumers, tinkling glasses, wonderful waiters and waitresses and packed dining rooms seems like such a simple thing.  This misconception has doomed many an establishment.  It is most certainly NOT an easy thing to bring perfection into the dining realm.  Mission Table, with its outstanding LOCAL fare, its unique and charming waitstaff and its all encompassing atmosphere of relaxed sophistication and elegance has certainly discovered that ever elusive equation which amounts to an amazing evening, one that patrons will seek to recreate time and time again.

In short, we loved it!  Mission Table's focus on local, sustainable foods sourced from local farmers at the height of their varied seasons is something that captures my loyalty instantly.  The magic that they work with these local meats and veggies holds that loyalty quite well!  I will heartily recommend this establishment to anyone and everyone.

Wishes certainly come true at Mission Table in Traverse City!

For anyone seeking a truly perfect evening amongst friends and loved ones, look no further than Mission Table, a place where your every food wish will certainly be granted!  (Like that?  She's blowing out her candle and I worked that "wish" thing in to the closing!  Brilliant!  Or, at least it would be if I hadn't written all of this....hmmm....note for the future I suppose.  Don't point out your segways, got it.)

Oh, and watch out for those ghosts!

One more thing:  The joint's supposedly haunted by the widow of the man who owned the mansion.  Hung herself in the elevator shaft, it seems.  The waitstaff would be happy to fill you in  on the tale, all you need do is ask! (I went for a small ghost hunt there and, just as in the Congress Hotel in Chicago, I found zero ghosts, sigh, oh well).

(All photos by Lisa Kelly and Brooks Vanderbush)