A Taste of New Canaan

My friend Terry is writing a food article for New Canaan Patch (which I’ll link to once it’s published). When he asked if I wanted join him for the eating research, I didn’t hesitate with my response: “Sure!”  If there’s one thing I can do well, it’s be a food wingman. It’s easy, actually. You just have to possess a good appetite and not be picky.

Without spoiling Terry’s article, I will say that a) we ended up sampling at three restaurants, which was about all we could handle before our stomachs exploded, and b) we really hit a home run on this outing. Each dish was uniformly excellent. Not a bad one among the bunch. Whether it was pure luck or a reflection of the quality of New Canaan restaurants, I came away impressed.

Here’s what we ate:

First up, Farmer’s Table, a cozy eatery and bakery utilizing locally sourced ingredients from chef/owner Robert Ubaldo’s farm in Pound Ridge, and his brother’s John Boy Farms in Cambridge, NY.

These tasting cups of butternut squash soup (smooth and silky) and lentil chorizo soup (earthy and a little spicy) were a great way to rev up the appetite and warm up on a cold day.

Beneath these greens — a bright salad of lentils and quinoa tossed with vinaigrette.

Normally at a restaurant, I’d probably gloss over an entree of grilled chicken, considering it too pedestrian a dish to take a chance on. But this grilled chicken with vegetables changed my thinking. Just outstanding. Chicken can dry out so quickly; this one was cooked to the perfect level of doneness. It was juicy and moist, and deeply flavorful from the mustard vinaigrette marinade.

We were off to a great start. Next on the list, the Japanese restaurant, Plum Tree.

For starters, the usuzukuri, a delicate serving of thinly sliced fluke with ponzu sauce.

Then it was on to this beauty of a sushi plate. Let’s see, we’ve got yellowtail and salmon nigiri, tuna sashimi and a “Flower” maki of tuna, tobiko, avocado, cucumber and lettuce.

So artful, it was almost a shame to eat anything. But we did.  Wonderfully fresh fish and clean flavors all around.

For our third restaurant, Cava Wine Bar & Restaurant.

I should have taken a pic of the interior because it’s really warm and inviting inside. The aroma from the wood-burning oven doesn’t hurt either. This is a restaurant tailor-made for a romantic dinner on a cold winter night.  Or, for two dudes researching a food article.

Here’s our P.E.I. mussels appetizer.

The mussels were huge and plentiful, drenched in a garlicky-wine tomato sauce and served with chewy, warm foccacia. With a side salad, this could be a complete meal.

Roasted salmon with sauteed veggies and a pinot noir reduction.

Like the chicken at Farmer’s Table, the salmon was perfectly cooked; crusty on the outside, moist on the inside.

Last, but certainly not least, my favorite dish of the day: pappardelle with chicken, wild mushroom and truffle oil.

Simple, rustic and utterly delicious. I’m assuming the al dente pappardelle was homemade. Sure tasted like it. And I just loved those meaty wild mushrooms. I wanted to eat this dish in front of a fireplace after a day of snowshoeing, and then take a nap afterwards.

As you can see, eight dishes, all winners in their own way. I wish I had something to nitpick, but I don’t. We ate well on this day, my friends. It was a fine afternoon in New Canaan.

Farmer’s Table
21 Forest St.
New Canaan, CT

Plum Tree
70 Main St.
New Canaan, CT

Cava Wine Bar & Restaurant
2 Forest St.
New Canaan, CT

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