Stepping inside this book-lined dwelling, with its low-lit Edison bulbs and wallpaper from another era, is like stepping into a fairy tale, as if there, on the fringe of Centennial Park, mystery and adventure are just waiting for cocktail hour to roll around. The brainchild of The Cheesecake Factory alumni John Dibble and Ben Powell, Fable infuses a food-forward speakeasy with dark hints of whimsy to delight the senses and the imagination.
Executive Chef Kraig Hansen, who migrated from Seattle’s restaurant scene, and Chef de Cuisine Chelsea Knight, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, curate a succinct menu of bar snacks, small plates and elegant comfort food with enough heft to turn cocktails into a full-fledged dinner if the mood strikes. The kitchen team deftly balances nostalgia with innovation in items such as housemade pasta, Kobe beef burgers and slow-braised osso bucco. Meanwhile, lead bartender Ellen Talbot pens an Aesop-themed menu of artisanal cocktails with storied concoctions such as Flight of the Fox, Raven’s Devilry and Leo’s Pride.
Located in the West End building that formerly housed Jed’s Sports Bar and Acorn restaurant, Fable offers two decadently designed floors of indoor and outdoor seating with cozy nooks and crannies, a horseshoe bar and a covered outdoor cigar lounge. It's a generous setting to start at “once upon a time” with cheese and charcuterie boards, wander through the enchanted menu of diver scallops and black garlic short ribs, and conclude the adventure with dessert and port in overstuffed leather sofas or cigars and sidecars by a fire.
What to Expect
Don’t be surprised if your quick happy hour morphs into something longer. Once you settle into a comfy sofa or bar chair and wander down the path of thoughtful, elaborate cocktails, you’ll be tempted to see what lies just around the corner on the menu. And once you find the Kobe flank steak or lemon roast chicken, you’ll be tempted by the port cherry chocolate cake or the bourbon banana bread pudding. Fables and fairy tales are filled with such temptations. Fortunately, the story here ends happily ever after.
Treat yourself to an escape from the everyday into a world where a 14-point buck might wear a double-breasted suit and a rabbit would ride a bicycle. In this whimsical landscape, cocktails swirl with chocolate bitters and chile liqueur, and the mixology team uses every part of the fruit, infusing soda syrups with citrus rind and creating edible powders from dehydrated hulls to rim the glassware of innovative concoctions. In addition to artisan cocktails, there’s a roster of beer, bubbles and wines. But there are no sour grapes in this Fable.
What to Order
During the hiatus of quarantine, the nimble team at Fable treated loyal diners to virtual bedtime stories and cocktail hours. Posting recipes and photographs of dazzling drinks and dishes on Instagram whetted real-life appetites for showstopping desserts and cocktails strewn with edible flowers. Now that the doors are open again, start with a Ginflower Tini and turn the page to a charcuterie board, crispy Brussels sprouts and barbecue pork belly with housemade kimchi. Who knows where the story will lead from there?
Photographs by Mandy Reid