Two Local Dining Gems For Any Setting

This HoQ appetizer includes bison and cheese, which you can enjoy inside, to-go or on the patio.

Writer: Karla Walsh

Whether you’re ready to dine in, prefer the patio or are sticking to to-go for now, there’s no wrong way to support local restaurants. In the past month, I’ve visited two local restaurants that were exemplary.

HoQ Restaurant
With local sourcing and ample spacing inside and out, this East Village bistro, headed by chef Suman Hoque, was a dreamy location for my first al fresco dinner of 2021. Not only was each outdoor table paired with its own heater (thanks to the Partnership’s “Extend the Season” grant program), but they were also spaced about 10 feet apart and tucked inside the building’s insets to sit away from the sidewalk a bit.

Fresh air was ample, service was friendly and the heaters kept the temperature cozy even as the sun set. The cozy bison and cheese appetizer and the nostalgic and just-sweet-enough apple galette dessert were standouts during our visit, although the menu changes frequently enough that you’ll likely be surprised with a few new items each time. (The dining room is also open and 
online ordering is seamless if you prefer one of those routes.)

HoQ Restaurant (303 E. Fifth St.) is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Learn more, order online or book a reservation at hoqtable.com.

Table 128 Bistro + Bar
In addition to weekly takeout meal kits, co-owners chef Lynn Pritchard and his wife and Table 128 sommelier, Sarah, team up to offer a three-course menu complete with drink pairings each Friday and Saturday evening.

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted “olive caramel” on the menu as part of a Niçoise salad and immediately hopped over to their website to book a table. From that mind-blowing sweet-salty condiment to the expertly seared sea bass entree to the silky caramel budino dessert, my friend and I swiped every plate clean.

Service and drinks were impeccable as always, and indoor tables on that chilly day (and all pandemic long) were amply spaced and separated by clear dividers. Sarah clued us in that “our patio is always open if someone wants to brave the weather to sit out there. In April, we’ll have our flowers out and heaters back to keep things even more comfortable on cooler days.”

Table 128 Bistro + Bar (12695 University Ave., Suite 140, Clive) is open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. Learn more, order online or book a reservation at table128bistro.com.

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