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Chef’s Table offers homey feel, seasonal eats

By: Teresa O'Hanlon, Placer Herald Correspondent
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For more photos: A Chef's Table offers affordable fare

Chef David Hill is known for putting a modern twist on both classic and must-have comfort foods.
Those in his business call him “earthy European.” Hill said he also likes to keep things local and create new dishes inspired by fresh produce of the season.
Imagine pancetta-wrapped grilled peaches or polenta grilled shrimp with spring onion salsa.
So it was no surprise to friends and neighbors when Hill opened The Chef’s Table in Rocklin last June — a bistro just a block away from his own home.
“Everything here feels like you’re at home,” said Hunter McGillivray, who remembers Chef Hill from the Horseshoe Bar Grill in Loomis and Winchester Country Club in Meadow Vista. “He creates these really insane dishes and puts them on the map. You’re never going to spend more than $16, but to get such amazing food for that price — it’s incredible.”
Now Hill is the chef next door to residents who live near Blue Oaks Marketplace. Half of his bistro and wine bar seating looks right into an open kitchen where the grill is a main attraction. Chefs are like cooking bartenders and customers are encouraged to chat away with the guy in the white jacket as their meat sizzles and herbs are chopped.
Think warm caramelized onion with grilled scallops and a smoked cheddar tart. Come as you are and get a fresh menu every week, good for a large dish or tapas-style meal. And by the way, Chef Hill’s beverages rotate seasonally too. Add in an interesting California wine or Auburn Alehouse brew and this bistro has a crowd.
“I always wanted to open up a place that I would want to come to a multiple times a week,” Hill said. “Something that was comfortable and very interactive. It’s a true neighborhood bistro where we make everything fresh everyday; we change the menu every week.”
Hill has served as an executive chef with 20 years of experience, including studying under French Master Chef Jean Banchet. He currently instructs at Sacramento’s Kitchen Academy.
So what’s a Chef Hill classic modern creation? He offers a Maryland style crab cake with lobster. He can also create the cakes with fresh halibut — all married with a hearty sauce.
So what suits your palate? On occasion Hill has covered the cakes with a corn chowder or chicken gumbo.
Seasonal sauces are big here. Last summer Hill’s guests enjoyed watching him puree tomatoes into a Moroccan spiced jam.
Chef’s Table regulars point out there’s always the favorite Vande Rose Farms Herford burger on the menu. Another favorite: the lamb with fig in mint romesco sauce.
Jon Vongschanphen who works across the parking lot at Lonetree Dental, said he likes to watch the chefs in action.
“I call this Rocklin’s hidden treasure,” Vongschanphen said. “I belong to The Chef’s Table newsletter. You get to see what David’s menu is going to be for the week. I’ve had his filet mignon and Asian chicken wings. The beer battered pesto fries are amazing. I have patients coming to The Chef’s Table because I talk about it. The food is so darn good.”
Hill said he hears a lot of good about his Pesto French Fries.
“It’s a real simple comforting dish.” he said. “People can come in here and find comfort food exciting.”
Hill said plan to spend anywhere from $5 to $15 a dish and don’t forget to glance over at the art wall where he rotates a local artists’ work every month.
“We want to make it really inviting and warm here,” he added, “So people are talking directly to the kitchen.”

The Chef's Table
Where: 6843 Lonetree Blvd. in Rocklin
Contact: 771-5656 for
reservations if table seating is desired or visit
chefdavidstable.com