Category Archives: Restaurants

Pic Of The Day #94

Bobby Q’s is now a construction pit. (Photo/Jaime Bairaktaris)

Pic Of The Day #92

Open windows help Amis patrons feel like they’re dining al fresco. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Pic Of The Day #89

The Black Duck, and I-95 (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Photo Challenge #132

For the 2nd week in a row, the photo challenge showed something on the side of a building.

This time, it was a silhouette of 5 guys playing music.

Not only did 10 readers know that the image was from 323 — across from Coffe An’. But many also knew that the reason the musicians are there on the restaurant wall is because every Thursday night, there’s live jazz by the bar.

Readers also noted that before it was 323 — named for its Main Street address — the restaurant had also been Bogey’s, Oliver’s, Crossroads and Stone’s Throw.

And probably others.

Congratulations to Fred Cantor, Robert Mitchell, Jeff Jacobs, Jane Nordli, Seth Braunstein, Lance B. Lundberg, Karen Wambach, Linda Amos, Joan Kern Soboslai and Joyce Losen. (For the photo and all comments, click here.)

Here’s the newest challenge. If you think you know where in Westport this is, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Richard Hyman)

 

Pic Of The Day #77

The view from Parker Mansion (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Pop-Up Pyrotechnics

Westport has welcomed pop-up outdoor dining.

A pop-up Halloween shop.

Now — just in time for July 4th — we’ve got a pop-up fireworks stand.

It popped up in the parking lot of the Rio Bravo/Julian’s shopping center — the one near Maple Avenue that was once anchored by Pier 1.

Of course, this being Connecticut, you can’t get the real, big, honest-to-goodness finger-losers here — not in the parking lot, or anywhere else in the state.

For those, you have to go to Pennsylvania.

You know: the Keystone State.

Paying It Forward At Pearl

The other day, Kelly Lavoie and her husband Rick celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary at Pearl.

The couple at the next table were celebrating their 13th anniversary — and the husband’s birthday.

All 4 shared a nice conversation, and best wishes. Then the younger couple said goodbye and left.

When Rick asked for the check, their server said the other couple had already paid it.

Kelly and Rick were speechless. Days later, they still can’t believe it.

Unfortunately, she says, they did not get the other couple’s names. They just know they’re from Rowayton.

“If for some reason they see this, we want to thank them,” Kelly says.

“It was such a wonderful surprise — the ultimate ‘paying it forward.’ We are amazed by your generosity!”

Kelly and Rick Lavoie

Bistro Du Soleil Shines On Saugatuck

The latest addition to Westport’s dining scene comes with plenty of ready-made fans.

Bistro du Soleil has opened on Riverside Avenue, across from Minute Men Cleaners — between the Black Duck and the train station.

Owner Maria Munoz del Castillo earned raves for Rincón Taqueria in Norwalk. She cut her teeth at an earlier Bistro du Soleil, also in Norwalk, owned by her parents, Soledad and Bernardo Munoz del Castillo.

Bernardo Munoz del Castillo offers escargots.

That Soleil is now closed, but Bernardo’s wizardry is strongly felt in Saugatuck. A craftsman as well as a restaurateur, he lovingly made every table — including the outdoor seating — as well as the handsome wooden bar. (He’s also a playwright and poet.)

Bernardo hand-crafted this handsome wooden bar.

Soledad and Bernardo came to the U.S. from Chile in the 1980s. Trained as a French chef, she made a name for herself here. In addition to restaurants, Soledad had a catering business — and was a favorite at the Westport Farmers’ Market.

The new Soleil’s menu is Mediterranean, with French flair. Dinners include salmon, seafood bouillabaisse, grilled rack of lamb, marinated grilled skirt steak, Muscovy duck breast — and a parrillada with chorizos, skirt steak, pork chops, half chicken, tomato, onion, bell pepper BBQ and cilantro chimichurri that serves 3-4.

As politicians, consultants, bridge engineers and ordinary Westporters debate the future of Saugatuck, here’s a suggestion: Do it over a meal at Bistro du Soleil.

Westport 1st Selectman Jim Marpe (with scissors) joined Munoz del Castillo family members and friends at last night’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony for Bistro du Soleil.

New Paleo Cafe Seasons Saugatuck

Cindy Hartog is a formally trained chef. She moved to Westport in 1990 for her husband Mark’s job — he’s deputy director of Westport EMS — and built her own thriving kids’ cooking classes/birthday party business called Cindy’s Sous Chefs.

Two and a half years ago though, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. She lost interest in cooking things she could not eat. She concentrated instead on foods that did not make her sick.

Three months later Cindy’s middle daughter Danielle — herself a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America — was diagnosed with a different autoimmune disorder.

Danielle and Cindy Hartog

They searched fruitlessly for ways to fulfill their fondness for gourmet food.

So they set about creating their own place. They wanted it to be warm and welcoming — not, Cindy says, “a stark ‘health food’ place.”

They found space in Bethel, but it did not work out. Then, online, they spotted a vacant storefront right here in Westport.

This Tuesday (June 6) — next to Dunville’s on Saugatuck Avenue — they’ll open NewBrook Kitchen + Artisan Market.

It’s a “paleo cafe”: no gluten, milk, soy or corn.

But that does not mean there’s no flavor or creativity.

In fact, the menu — to eat in or take out — sounds mouth-watering.

There are 3 salads daily, each with a protein like chicken, steak or salmon. Sandwiches are served with paleo bread, baked in-house. There’s soup, cookies, nut milk coffee and vegan ice cream. Cindy makes desserts with coconut — not white – sugar.

Several Saturdays a month, Danielle will cook savory 4-course meals, served at a communal table. She describes a 16-hour braised short ribs with onions, carrots, wine and a good beef stock — without flour or corn starch. It’s served with a vinaigrette berry salad, and almond cake.

The “Artisan Market” part of NewBrook Kitchen offers handmade jewelry, candles, scarves, and gourmet chocolate.

The official opening is Tuesday (with samples all day).

Cindy and Danielle Hartog, in their new space.

And the name?

Cindy’s father — who died 12 years ago — was a self-made man. He named his 2 businesses after their 2 sites: New Jersey and Brooklyn.

NewBrook Kitchen is an homage to him.

And a great destination for anyone looking for fresh, well-prepared and very flavorful paleo food.

“Saugy Thursdays” Are Here. We’ll Drink To That!

College students are familiar with Thirsty Thursdays. (Very familiar.)

Now, the Boathouse Restaurant at Saugatuck Rowing Club introduces “Saugy Thursdays.”

From 5 to 7 p.m. every Thursday, they feature drinks and small bites.

A DJ kicks things off this week (tomorrow, June 1). On June 8, Greg Wall — the Jazz Rabbi — plays.

Everyone is invited to Saugy Thursdays.

Even college students home for the summer, suffering from Thirsty Thursday withdrawal (21 and over, of course!).

The Boathouse Restaurant introduces Saugy Thursdays, starting this week.