Table 40, A Rare Find

The most exclusive table in town just sprouted up in Downtown Miami. The Intercontinental Hotel launched Table 40, a chef's table concept, in honor of its Executive Chef Alexander Feher. The place celebrates Chef Feher's fortieth anniversary with the Intercontinental Hotel brand. It's also the only Chef's Table in downtown. Available by reservation only, Table 40 provides special, one-on-one treatment from the executive chef. Whether it is a power lunch or an elaborate feast, Feher caters to each guest's desires.

A collaboration between Intercontinental and Robert Mondavi wines, the glass-enclosed room, capable of seating 12, is located right in the middle of the hotel's main kitchen. The entrance is through a side door in the lobby. Finding Table 40 is like being n a top secret mission since you have to sneak into the hotel kitchen through an unmarked door à la Kevin Costner in Bodyguard. Dining in the middle of the hustle and bustle of staff with the clanging of pots and the sound of sizzling pans in the background, makes for a unique culinary experience.. It clearly doesn't get any closer to the action than this.

Recently, Short Order had the opportunity to give Table 40 a whirl during a press event. Eager to show off the Mondavi collaboration, Chef Feher and General Manager Robert Hill proudly shook hands and chit-chatted with media, who enjoyed a five-course degustation menu paired with a selection of the wines. Dinner was tasty, nothing too crazy or overly exciting. Butfresh and local ingredients stole the show, and cooking techniques were spot on. The best item of the evening was a wild flower honeycomb straight from Homestead; it was lightly aromatic and subtle in its flavor.

Everyone around the table left content; it was nearly impossible to be otherwise, with bellies full of lobster, short rib and cheese. Who's to complain? My only criticism is that the dishes lacked an element of surprise -- no play on textures or nuanced layering of flavors and spices. Although the cuisine will surely be a crowd pleaser and the service at the Intercontinental will wow, it just isn't for those who possess an adventurous dining spirit.

What would make for a perfect evening at Table 40? Get a group of friends or loved ones together for dinner and a show. Start with champagne and canapes, followed by dinner, 3, 4, 5 or as many courses you desire. But hold off on dessert. It's show time! A stretch limo appears, thanks to the hotel concierge, to whisk you to Cirque du Soleil. As the show finishes, the limo pulls up, scooping up your group for a return to Table 40. When you sit, dessert and moscato await as the grand finale of the evening.

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Aniece Meinhold