Wanting to avoid the hordes of other mothers being celebrated this past Sunday (Mothers Day), I decided to take my girlfriend, Mellissa, out to eat Friday night.
The corporate strip on East State is only an option on nights when we dont mind eating mediocre, unauthentic food. And the downtown scene has either been exhausted, or is like the plague to my pocketbook.
Nestled awkwardly on Charles Street between these two locales is a little place that creates cuisine fit for the palette of a king, yet affordable to his subjects.
The KINGS Table Café and Catering is a must-add to Rockfords long list of undiscovered restaurant jewels. The owners, chef Kevin Seuring and his wife Robin, honed their kitchen skills working in high-end corporate hotels across the country for 25 years. Tired of the rat race and desperately needing an outlet for their culinary creativity, the Seurings opened the KINGS Table three and a half years ago.
One of only a handful of European-trained chefs operating in Rockford, Kevin has taken his vast knowledge of nutrition and healing foods and blended it with his training in the art of seasoning to create what he describes as conscientious cuisine.
The KINGS Table greatly defies the widely held notion that healthy food cant taste good. An entire menu full of non-processed, reduced fat, reduced sugar, and high fiber preparations not only give nourishment to the body, they also invigorate the taste buds and bring a peace of mind in the knowledge that as you lift your fork and enjoy the moment, there will be no later punishment.
My favorite part of dining at the KINGS Table, besides mercilessly devouring the food, came upon first entering its doors. The atmosphere is non-threatening in the sense that some restaurants can make you feel like youve walked though their doors out onto a theater stageno blank stares or full up and downs here. Quaint and inviting, on its surface the KINGS Table is a true café.
With only a couple of hired hands, youll be pleasantly surprised to find the Seurings laboring in the kitchen, bringing life to the menu right before your eyes. After being pleasantly greeted, Kevin facilitated a sampling of the days soup: spring vegetables and baby limas. The sampling did its job, and we both began with a bowl.
Scanning the menu, I was amazed both by the diversity of choices and by the complexity of each menu item. From the classic Old Fashioned Hamburger to the uniquely designed Southern Style Boca Burger, the KINGS Table accommodates to both the traditionalist and the adventurist.
After spotting the Falafel Sandwich, I was pleasantly struck with a bout of nostalgia. Ahh, I hadnt had falafel since living and eating in the culinary conscious city of San Francisco. A Mediterranean specialty of ground garbonzo beans, garlic, green onions, parsley and mint, KINGS Table falafel is grilled to golden brown instead of the usual deep fried, making it available to all you C.H.I.P.ers out there.
Served in a pita with fresh lettuce, tomato, and a minted cucumber sauce known as zatziki, this is a tastier and more satisfying falafel sandwich than its West Coast counterpart.
Mellissa settled on the sandwich special: roast beef, red pepper, and feta cheese on focaccia bread, layered with fresh spinach and finished with a lemon garlic tahini sauce. Tahini is a sesame seed paste thats common to Middle Eastern cuisine, and I wondered aloud how it had found a marriage with roast beef.
I just like how tahini tastes with roast beef, Kevin said, shrugging his shoulders.
Fair enough. I could tell by the look on Mellissas face and by how fast the food disappeared that this was perhaps the best roast beef sandwich she had ever eaten.
Although the KINGS Table is the only restaurant in Rockford that serves C.H.I.P.-approved desserts, Mellissa and I wrapped up our savory, healthy meal with a delightfully sinful cappucinno brownie. Not everything good in life can be good for you.
If you cant find the time in your hectic work-home schedule to make it to 4133 Charles St., dont fret, just call the KINGS Table at 227-4155 to custom cater your next business luncheon, fund-raiser, home dinner party, or wedding reception.