Artisan, a "farm to table New England-inspired" restaurant opens tonight, July 13, 2011 at the Delamar Hotel in Southport, CT.
“We wanted Artisan to feel comfortable, as if you have been invited to enjoy a weekend in the country,” says Chef Kieffer, a native of Paris and resident of Fairfield County. “And we want the food to match the feel of the restaurant; a place that is casual and very comfortable yet that also reflects quality and excellence.”
Previewing the space during an opening party is a biased occasion, admittedly, but it’s also one of the best ways to understand intentions as well as gauge reactions. Dining experience non-withstanding, mission accomplished Artisan.
Tucked away just off the Old Post Road in Southport, Artisan sets the tone of understated elegance with a series of curated dining spaces filled with Scandinavian-inspired design and details with menus anchored by the bounty of the New England shoreline and its farms. An outdoor patio and bar area is studded with waist-high planters brimming with herbs and edible plants looks out onto the quiet and pristine colonial architectural surrounds of the Delamar. Immediately inside, the casual Tavern flowing into the more formal Dining Room. This carefully crafted setting is an important visual cue to a theme of craftsmanship continued throughout Chef Frederic Kieffer’s menu.
The Tavern’s menu reads like a greatest hits of New England pub grub with a Gold Card palate and budget. These casual plates include dry aged beef sliders, roasted oysters with lemon preserve and pickled shallots, fish and chips and mini lobster rolls.
The Dining Room menu (with much more formal prices) is where things get a bit heartier and interesting. A few intriguing appetizers include a New England seafood chowder with house-made fennel oyster crackers will be served table-side, and chilled Thimble Island (CT) oysters & Cape Cod hard shell clams with a ginger mignonette. Entrees will include a local striped bass served with baby artichokes, arugula and barigoule sauce, a Mayer all-natural steak and a New England style “Cioppino” served in a lobster broth and Artisan beef pot roast with whipped potatoes and roasted baby vegetables.
If the restaurant lives up to the hype, it is no doubt due in large part to the experience of its backers. Artisan is made possible through a collaboration between Rick Wahlstedt, owner of L’Escale in Greenwich and Charles Mallory, Founder and Partner of the Greenwich Hospitality Group, as well as Frederic Kieffer (opening Chef of L’Escale at Greenwich’s Delamar) who is Artisan’s Executive Chef and a partner.
Artisan Restaurant is located at the Delamar Hotel Southport, 275 Old Post Road in Southport, Connecticut and is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For hours, please or more information, call 203.307.4222 or visit www.artisansouthport.com.