Derek Bray, chef of University Place’s Grassi’s Ristorante, will open his own restaurant this summer in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood. The Table will open at 2715 Sixth Ave., next door to Marrow.
Bray’s new space previously was occupied by Southern Exposure, which had a six-month tenure in 2014.
Bray will finish his job at Grassi’s this month. He was the opening chef at the Italian restaurant founded by Ken and Kim Grassi, who operate the restaurant with daughter Melanie.
Bray also cooked for two years at Tacoma’s Adriatic Grill, which is why I wondered if his menu would encompass the Mediterranean fare for which he’s become known.
His new 74-seat restaurant will be closer to “New American,” said Bray in a phone interview last week.
He just took possession of the space, but already has demolished a wall at the rear of the restaurant. The Table is named after the showpiece of the restaurant, a long 20-seat wooden table that will span the length of the dining room. Bray intends to use the table for communal seating. The remainder of the seating will be more conventional: Bench seating will run along the shared wall with Marrow, with tables for parties of two or four. Larger booths will be placed up front near the windows.
He selected the restaurant’s name to convey a few ideas to diners. “The Table, you can look at it as that it’s artistic and fun. The table is where community happens, where you invite family over and bring your friends.”
Here’s what else Bray has planned:
“If you want a heavy starch or a full starch, they’ll be quasi a la carte. It fits with the food trend, lots of people are moving away from starches. I feel like you’re getting more flavor for your food dollar if you leave off the starch and you’re able to do a more elegant garnish or a little more thought in the additions to your protein.”