C-S-E News Staff
FORT PLAIN — Comfort food made with fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared on premises. That’s what Fort Plain resident Aaron Katovitch — a Johnson and Wales-educated chef and the owner of Fort Plain’s newest restaurant — plans to serve patrons at his 70 Canal Street eatery, The Table at Fort Plain.
The restaurant opened for dinner Thursday night.
Among the items on the menu last week included beer-battered cheese bites, escarole and bib lettuce salad, a flavorful roasted celery root and potato soup, chicken braised with leek and mustard, pork “flat-iron” steak in maple-cider marinade, grilled bistro steak with porcini butter, roast chicken breast, steak-and-Guinness pie, butter-poached salmon with parsley-orange gremolata, and beer-battered haddock.
Desserts included flourless dark chocolate cake, toasted pound cake with honey and orange, and pomme en cage (that is, apple in pastry with caramel), which also featured raisins and a rich and flavorful cream sauce.
He said patrons shouldn’t be intimidated by unfamiliar menu labels. “We may use words you don’t know, but really it’s just ‘roast chicken and vegetables,’” he said.
“I hope you’ll find things that [are] fun and unexpected” — and affordable, he said of the restaurant’s offerings.
Consisting of a cozy bar area, a medium-sized front dining room with a separate rear dining section, and an intimate conference room that can comfortably seat up to 12 people for birthdays, anniversaries and other special events, the space is imbued with a warm and inviting atmosphere, boasts wood tables and floors, and is decorated in earth-tones: deep browns, rustic golds, cream-colored whites, and burgundy-hued reds.
There’s not a lot of clutter in the design — a conscious decision by Aaron, who wanted to create a “comforting environment,” a space where you won’t feel “out of place.”
What you won’t find are white tablecloths.
Aaron said he wants The Table to be a place where people feel comfortable just going for a glass of wine or beer with friends or for dinner, appetizers, items from the upcoming bar menu, or desserts.
A Fort Plain High School graduate who grew up in the community, Aaron said it’s exciting to be home again.
Following his graduation from the College of Culinary Arts and from Cornell University, where he subsequently acquired a management degree, Aaron owned and operated a deli with offsite catering in Philadelphia. He’s had culinary experiences ranging from the fine dining experience of Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham, Massachusetts, to Applebee’s casual dining.
After five years in business in Philadelphia, his mother, Eileen, said Aaron sold the deli almost two years ago and “decided to come up here to see what’s going on.”
She said, “Whenever he was at home, we always had a group of people over and he would [prepare] something, and then we did a couple Christmas parties.”
Family friend Peg Rose said, “It was always unique, fun, exciting food.”
Eileen said the family’s friends encouraged Aaron to open a restaurant here. He was overheard on opening night noting that the kernel for the project germinated a year and a half ago.
Aaron’s father, James, said the establishment underwent extensive renovations including the installation of a brand new kitchen, the construction of a new roof over a rear addition, and the complete renovation of a former banquet hall. In the more-distant past, the space also served as an auto parts store and a fitness center (Trim, Tan and Tone).
Currently, The Table at Fort Plain, located at 70 Canal St., is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday nights from 4 to 10 p.m. Aaron is soon hoping to open for lunch.