Keep Dallas Observer Free

Mike Smith, The Common Table's Newish Chef, Is Reshaping a Once-Doomed Menu

"Good Beer, Uncommonly Poor Food." The headline did not leave a lot to be desired when Hanna Raskin penned a scathing review of the gastro pub last summer. Browning lettuce in salads and greasy stringy pork crowned a menu described as ranging from unpleasant to horrific.

Owner Corey Pond undoubtedly read the review. This March he hired Mike Smith, and tasked him with bringing the menu up to the same level as the beer selection, which has been universally lauded.

Smith previously ran kitchens at Thomas Avenue Beverage Company and 2900 (since closed). A job cooking at McKesson Pharmaceutical called to him with the arrival of his first child, but while Smith loved the hours, serving breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, he hated the environment.

"There was no room for creativity," he told me. He jumped on the opportunity to rehash the Common Table's food.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

"There were some good ideas but there was really bad execution," Smith said, pointing to a lack of kitchen management. "There was no cross utilization of ingredients." Smith completely reworked the menu while focusing on kitchen dynamics and getting his staff to work together like a team.

Smith says he's most impressed with his chicken and dumplings dish. I've tried the deviled eggs and a handful of sandwiches and found them all to be fairly well executed.

While I haven't had enough experience with Smith's cooking to issue a re-review, it's apparent that what's being offered now at the Common Table isn't at as lousy as it was when Hanna reviewed it. If you're a hop head who was previously turned off by terrible food, the new menu warrants a second look.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.