Where: 360 N. Main St, Suite D, Bluffton
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; dinner, 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Phone: 1-260-353-1360 Outdoor seating? Yes Credit cards accepted? Yes
•Brie and pear quesadilla appetizer, $8.95.
•Jerk free-range steak skewers appetizer, $12.95.
•Slider trios, brisket, $14.95; filet or pork, $15.95.
•Fable salad, $4.95 small; $7.95 large
•Spinach salad, $10.95.
•Market fresh pasta, $14.95, add $3 for chicken and $5 for shrimp
•Spring chicken pot pie, $17.95
•Sea salt and rosemary chicken, $24.95.
•Slow-roasted pork loin, $23.95
•Rainbow trout, $26.95
•Rib eye, $27.95.
•Bleu cheese crusted filet mignon, $34.95
Sunset menu: served 5-6 p.m. in main dining room or all evening on patio (Tapas style):
•Shrimp fajitas, $10.95
•Three jumbo prawns, $10.95
The first time I ever went to TW Fable in Bluffton, it was a beautiful, mild, warm summer night, and we sat on the patio overlooking the Wabash River. It was comfortable, bug-free and glorious. We enjoyed a splendid meal from drinks to dessert.
Last week was a different story; nobody was sitting out on the patio because of the sweltering heat. Inside was cool and dark, with muted colors and modern furnishings. It was just what you would expect in a restaurant that bills itself as “a modern American restaurant.”
It wasn't what you'd expect in a small town such as Bluffton. And I'm not knocking Bluffton, I'm just saying TW Fable has a decidedly urban vibe.
Owner Tiercell Schwartz opened the restaurant in 2010 in what was formerly an East of Chicago Pizza place. The restaurant features a “farm to table” theme, hence the name — Fable — an amalgamation of “farm” and “table.” The menu changes seasonally. The restaurant's website promises “a big-city feel without the Big City Prices!”
TW Fable features a cocktail and martini menu with libations that sounded too good to pass up. So I ordered a TW Fable, described as a raspberry-infused vodka/cranberry/pineapple drink. It was $8, and I asked for a separate bar tab to pay for it separately.
Served in a small martini glass and garnished with a slice of lemon, the red concoction was as pretty to look at as it was fun to drink. Fruity, sweet and light, it did not seem to have a lot of alcohol and went down as smoothly as a fruit drink.
I didn't even get a buzz off it; that's possibly because I couldn't stop eating the bread. The warm loaf of white bread was served with garlic-flavored butter that melted into the bread on contact. Heavenly.
My companion ordered tea, flavored with raspberry and quince and served in a bottle. For the $4 price, he could have had a beer.
The appetizer menu was tempting, but ordering a starter always dulls my appetite for the main course, so we selected salads instead. TW Fable's Caesar salad at $5.95 was made with romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, croutons and house-made Caesar dressing. It was topped with a dark, slightly sweet balsamic drizzle. It was nothing spectacular but nonetheless a good starter for the meal.
My companion chose the TW Fable salad, $4.95, with romaine and iceberg lettuce, red peppers, red onions, croutons and an interesting house dressing made with a bit of horseradish that gave it some zip.
As for entrees, the nightly feature sounded intriguing, so I decided to try it. As our server described it, the feature was barramundi fish wrapped in prosciutto, topped with shaved asparagus, served with heirloom tomatoes on a bed of potato hash with beets.
I was not familiar with barramundi, and the server was marginally helpful, saying it is similar to bass. A little Internet research told me what I need to know: Barramundi is a gourmet fish native to Australia, now being farmed in the U.S. It is described as sweet, buttery, delicate and moist, and is compared with red snapper, sea bass and other premium white fish.
I found it to be much like the description, very mildly flavored. The salty prosciutto was a nice complement to the fish. The potatoes were chunked and absorbed the juices from the tomatoes. I did not notice any beets in the hash.
My dining companion chose a spinach pasta with chicken. The generous bowl of pasta was too much for him to eat, so we got a to-go container I planned to sample the next day. It was left in the car overnight, however, so when I discovered it, I promptly threw it in the trash.
Upscale restaurants usually have interesting desserts, and, since we hadn't indulged in an appetizer, we treated ourselves to dessert.
I ordered the bread pudding made from doughnuts, which I must confess sounded more “Paula Deen” than “modern American.” But TW Fable managed to make it elegant, served on a large plate drizzled with caramel sauce and dusted with powdered sugar. The bread pudding was about the size of a rice cake, soft and gooey, and surprisingly, not overly sweet.
The turtle cheesecake my companion ordered was delicious, but not nearly as interesting as the bread pudding, in my opinion.
It was a lovely meal, and I found the dining room just as pleasant as the terrace. The only disappointment came at the end of the meal when our server brought the bill. Remember earlier when I mentioned that I asked for a separate bar tab? Our server didn't, and that resulted in a lot of confusion trying to get it rectified.
Aside from that, TW Fable is well worth your while if you're looking for an upscale dining experience and don't mind taking a little drive.