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Entries in French (30)

Sunday
Apr062014

The NEW Versailles Bistro & Patisserie in Greenwich - From the Owners of Méli-Mélo

Almost a year ago, without notice or forewarning, a “For Sale” sign appeared on the window of Versailles Restaurant in Greenwich. At 6:15AM the following morning, Marc Penvenne was driving his usual route down Greenwich Avenue to his restaurant Méli-Mélo when he saw the sign. A few months earlier he started looking at several locations to open a second restaurant and now Versailles was available; he now knew the perfect location. Twenty years earlier, Penvenne was the manager at Versailles and left to open Méli-Mélo with his wife, Evelyne. Now, Marc and Evelyne are the proud owners of both Méli-Mélo and the re-invented Versailles Bistro and Patisserie.

When you enter the reimagined restaurant, the front area is a patisserie, complete with white marble-topped tables, bistro chairs and glass display cases filled with tantalizing pastries. Behind these cases is a coffee bar, serving some of the best café au lait in Greenwich. In the rear, the patisserie opens to a restaurant with bistro style dark wood tables and chairs plus a long leather lined banquette. The walls are adorned with photos of Paris and framed French posters dating from the first half of the 20th century.

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Wednesday
Mar262014

À Vert French Brasserie in West Hartford: Just Like Paris

Photo courtesy of Julie BidwellFull disclosure: I’m crazy about Paris. For many years, when David and I went to Europe we stopped off to visit his college roommate who lived in an elegant apartment near the Eiffel Tower. The 7th Arrondissement has no shortage of fine restaurants and bistros de luxe, but more often than not we would have an apéritif in the apartment before heading off to a lively brasserie or bistro populaire in the Latin Quarter.

I still love French bistros and keep my eye out for new ones in Connecticut. Some are French in name only, but the minute I entered À Vert, a new brasserie in West Hartford, I was in Paris. The zinc bar, the wine list chalked on the mirror. The pressed-tin ceiling, the white tile and exposed-brick walls—authentic, romantic and real, including the warmth and friendliness that define bistro dining in the City of Light.

It’s all good, but food beautiful food is the overriding reason to dine at À Vert. How could it not be? It’s owned by two chefs who in recent years have been making the Connecticut foodie world sit up and take notice: David Borselle at Bar Bouchée in Madison and Dorjan Puka at Treva around the corner in West Hartford.

Read the full article on ConnecticutMag.com. 

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Sunday
Mar092014

Barrique Bistro & Wine Bar: Top Notch French with a Twist in Stamford

It’s the corner where downtown Stamford’s sidewalk café scene began. Bedford and Spring streets. Barrique has the best location in downtown Stamford, in a quaint stone building a few steps from the Art Deco Avon Theatre (date night recommendation--an independent film and Barrique’s bistro food).

In summer, Barrique’s large, wood doors fold open on both sides of the corner. For 14 years, it was Chez Jean-Pierre, and under new ownership since June, Barrique’s dining room has lost the humorous Renoir-esque mural of Jean-Pierre and his friends in favor of a subdued white and gray palette -- white-washed brick walls, café chairs, wrought iron chandeliers, and bare, dark wood tables. It’s a casual, relaxing atmosphere.  And there’s a new bar room at the back of the restaurant, a cozy spot where jazz is played Wednesday evenings.

Executive chef/co-owner Louis Barresi’s menu mostly focuses on France, with Italian, Spanish, Latin, Asian and Latin influences. Barresi is a co-owner of Doppio Artisan Pizza in Greenwich, New York City and Long Island. Manager and partner Danny Silver is the sommelier. Barrique means “barrel” in French, and if you have questions about the 41 wines served by the glass, ask him. He’s the former sommelier at A Voce in New York City. 

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Wednesday
Mar052014

Da Pietro's Chef Pietro Scotti Talks About 25 Years in Westport

Chef Pietro Scotti…on 25 years in Westport!

On the day after Michel Nischan sadly announced the closing of The Dressing Room, I was sitting in the cozy dining room off the kitchen of Chef Pietro Scotti’s home talking with Pietro and his wife, Janine, about the changes in the restaurant scene and in particular dining in Fairfield County.  

An anchor in Westport for over 25 years, Da Pietro’s Restaurant on Riverside Ave was one of the first “fine dining” establishments in Fairfield County, and immediately become popular as the “go to” place for special occasions and romantic dinners.  Reviewed as “Perfection ” by The New York Times and  “Excellent” by Wine Spectator, the intimate 25 seat restaurant specializes in fresh pastas, creative starters and hearty and seasonal entrees.  

Pietro, known for his big smile, warm personality, and unfailing generosity to local community events and causes, has helmed Da Pietro’s since the beginning and can still be found in the tiny restaurant kitchen every day during both lunch and dinner.   

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Sunday
Jan052014

Valbella: Old School Italian Elegance in Greenwich

I never go to Italian restaurants in Connecticut because I was lucky and spoiled enough to have eaten in Italy - a lot - and I always feel disappointed in the American version of Italian cuisine. So when a friend begged me to review VALBELLA in Greenwich, I was reluctant to say the least. The pastry chef, she claimed, was world renowned and his food art simply had to be reviewed. I did some research and decided to acquiesce. For more than 20 years, the stately, Victorian Valbella has been the archetype for excellent but old school Italian cuisine in the Greenwich/Riverside area, and has successful sister locations in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and Midtown. And I can understand why. It is in no way funky or hip or cool but is extremely elegant and the food, though I am hesitant to admit it, was outstanding. 

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Sunday
Dec152013

ROUGE Brasserie & Oyster Bar Opens in Byram, Greenwich

CTbites recently attended a press dinner at ROUGE Brasserie & Oyster Bar, a brand new dining venture in the eclectic Byram section of Greenwich, owned by the cb5 restaurant group, which formerly owned Bleu on Greenwich Avenue. Chef Josh Moulton returns to cb5 in Greenwich after his role as Executive Chef at the Monkey Bar and Moda in NYC and West Restaurant in Los Angeles. The menu features hearty French bistro fare including classic steak tartare, sautéed foie gras, onion soup gratinee, skate meuniere, poulet en croute, and short rib Bourguignon.

The restaurant, which previously housed the sexy Lolita Cocina (also owned by cb5), was graciously redefined with huge ornate white mirrors, exposed brick walls, elaborate chandeliers, and a more subtle color palette. It's playful but elegant, and the perfect spot for a first date. 

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Friday
Nov082013

Cassoulet and Carburetors: A Fall French Country Picnic

What do 18 vintage cars and a hundred miles of Connecticut and New York roads have to do with creating the perfect french country picnic? The short answer–everything. The long answer?

Each spring and fall, Matthew L. deGarmo, Ltd., a vintage automobile broker from Norwalk, hosts a series of fall tours for his clients and friends inspired by a shared passion for driving and the art of the automobile. “My passion for selling vintage sports cars comes from an even deeper passion for driving them. That sentiment is what gave birth to the rallies we organize... an opportunity to get these fantastic cars out of the garage and on to the open road where they belong.” said deGarmo. The rally welcomes cars no later than 1974 and often limits his rallies to about 15 cars per tour.

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Sunday
Jul072013

Rive Bistro Opens in Westport: A Bistro with a View

Rive Bistro, a restaurant serving French fare with a beautiful view opened recently along the banks of the Saugatuck River in Westport. As you approach the restaurant you are greeted by an awning-covered deck that seats 40-50 guests with full southern exposure. The interior features a cozy, glass enclosed dining area with a 180-degree view of the river as well as a fireplace for a romantic evening when the weather turns cold.

Chef /Owner Eric Sierra brings years of experience to Rive Bistro. Many will remember that he was the chef at Westport’s Bistro des Amis before he relocated to Il Palio in Shelton. I recently attended a dinner at Rive Bistro where Chef Sierra’s presented an array of flavors from every section of the menu.

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Tuesday
Apr092013

ROÌA Restaurant Opens in New Haven: A First Taste

As “Grand Openings” of restaurants go, this one was as grand as they come.  A crowd of lucky invitees, including members of the press, city officials, business, university leaders, tastemakers, foodies, area restaurateurs, friends and family gathered around Executive Chef Avi Szapiro, to watch him cut the ceremonial ribbon.  At promptly 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 27th, in New Haven ROÌA Restaurant officially opened its doors.

After several months of research, demolition plus an additional six months of meticulous renovation, this venerated-but neglected 101 year old space, which once housed the dining room of the Taft Hotel was finally reborn.

ROÌA, named after a river that flows between France and Italy, has been buffed, primed, renovated into a glistening Beaux-Arts jewel of a restaurant with a decidedly modern tilt by Szapiro and his lovely wife, Meera.  The couple, who moved here in 2011 from Brooklyn (where else?) have truly left no stone unturned in their mission to revamp this historic landmark: uncovering original mosaic-tile marble flooring, reclaiming white oak walls, buffing woodwork, installing red leather banquettes, restoring flourishes and medallions on the ornate plaster ceiling and moving (yes, moving!) the soaring dramatic staircase.  While descending up or down these “storied” treds, patrons can reenact their very own “Hello Dolly!” moment. (At least I did.)

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Sunday
Jan272013

Picador Opens in New Canaan: Tapas

The culinary landscape of New Canaan now includes the vibrant cuisine of the Iberian Peninsula with the opening of Picador, the second restaurant of owner Alan Basaran. Located on Elm Street in the space formerly occupied by Harvest Supper, the interior’s décor offers a warm and inviting environment as backdrop to the region’s vibrant cuisine. Copper-topped tables and a wrap-around leather-covered banquette fill the entire back and side walls with additional copper-topped tables with dark leather chairs occupying the remainder of the space. The walls are adorned with plates, mirrors and sconces; reminiscent of the region.

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