It’s time to get over Jane and give Mable a shot. Mable’s Table (1655 W. Cortland St., Bucktown) has settled into the space occupied for 23 years by the Bucktown brunch darling, and chef-owner Anthony Reyes (Rosebud, Fig & Olive) aims to win over the neighborhood with good old-fashioned hospitality and food he calls “Mom-inspired, chef-driven.”
Mable, the “mom” piece of that equation, is Reyes’ mother, an avid cook with a heart for others. “Our home was always open for people who were less fortunate,” Reyes says of his youth. “We didn’t have a lot, but we always shared. I want to keep doing that,” he adds.
Reyes’ American continental cuisine accounts for the “chef-driven” label. “My mom is Mexican, Italian, and Irish. [We ate] great Italian food, great Spanish food, and apple-bacon-wrapped meatloaf once a week,” he says. “There was a hodgepodge of everything going on in the kitchen.” To honor this, Reyes created a menu that relies heavily on Mable’s recipes. “I’ve been thinking about this menu for decades; I’ve been eating it for decades. I just added a little chefness to it,” Reyes concludes.
Offerings run the gamut from fish to steak to meatballs: Seafood is flown in daily and appears in dishes such as King crab and kimchi fried rice; steaks are 21- to 28-day wet-aged and hand-cut in house. And those meatballs? Apparently they needed some tweaking: “Mom was [at the restaurant] Saturday making meatballs,” Reyes says. “She’s like, ‘Anthony! Shred more cheese!’ The other two cooks are just looking at me. The second I walk away, she puts more cheese in.” Talk about quality control: “She’ll go behind the line and taste everything,” he adds.