PIPS Bistro at the Copper Beech Inn - Essex Connecticut
I live right down the road from this new treasure & would recommend it to anyone looking to have a genuine bistro experience on the shoreline of eastern Conn.
I started out with the Mushroom soup - - I am always in search of a fine mushroom soup. This one far exceeded my expectations. Creamy, earthy and full of a honest mushroom flavor with the perfect size pieces of tiny bits of mushrooms suspended in every spoonful.
Your meal is served with a special crusty bread, which is baked in an oven I am told by the waitress, designed especially by the Inn's chef to produce a crusty yummy bread to go along with my soup and meal!
I ordered Mussels Frites. Again - - I am always in search of the perfectly prepared Mussel dish - - the mussels were small, fresh and sweet in an aromatic broth that couldn't wait to be sopped up with more of that bread. The frites were thin & just the perfect match. The only bump in this dish that night for me, was that one or two of the mussels were slightly undercooked - but every other one on the plate was cooked to perfection.
I also enjoyed a nicely prepared Pomegranate martini ( honestly,though this P. martini was not nearly as yummy the first one I ever had up the road in Chester at Lupo's - wow is all I can say for that martini - Lupo's is another wonderful find, absolutely great bistro style food, but not a great dining room atmosphere - to noisy for me - although the wait staff was outstanding)
I would definitely recommend anyone looking for casual (not shorts and t shirts casual - -but office type casual) bistro food and a relaxing dining room should try here.
I will go again probably in the spring when I can perhaps enjoy walking around the lovely garden they have set up outside after my meal.
they also appeared to have a small bar seating area - so I might go and try a quick sampling of their cheese cart & wines and see if that is donea s well as the dining menu......
I thought the prices were reasonable for the quality and quantity and service. I may get this a bit off - but if I recollect - the soup starter was about $5-6, the mussels frites , I believe were somehwere in the $16-19 range and the drinks were about the same price as anywhere - I think the specialty maritinis were about $8-9 - While I was stuffed and could not even think of dessert - they seemed int eh $5-7 range as well - ( & looked might yummy by the way - I sneaked a peek at the tables on either side who took the time to indulge)
OK So we went back last week to PIPS
The original Chef they opened with has lef tna d opened up their own restaraunt and patisserie a coupld of mile saway in Deep River.
I had the Soft Shell Crab seasonal special this time - IT WAS GREAT !
I had the soup special that nite - an asparagus soup - it was OK - I would not write home about it
My dinner companion had plate of various oysters that were fresh and a great presentation - the report was that they were all fresh and very different -- they were all East Coast Oysters but a variety.
They still have not quite gotten their Martini's down there yet.
This time we ordered a cheese selection to end the meal - - again a nice variety of cheeses that completed our meal there nicely.
It was outstanding.
re: Noank Native
My husband and I tried Pips on Saturday night and found it to be quite inconsistent. A few things were outstanding, a few things were really lacking and everything else was just OK.
For appetizers we had the pate and the escargot. The pate itself was quite good but the microgreens served with were dry as a bone, nary a smattering of dressing. And there were only 3 small pieces of toasted baguette. Fortunately, the fresh baguette they serve at the table is excellent, crispy outside, great, moist crumb inside. The escargot were fat and tender, swimming in their little cups of butter but no garlic! The little bits of parsley didn't add much for flavor and the garlic was a really important missing element.
For mains we had the roast duck in cherry sauce and moules and frites. The first dish was 1/2 a roasted duck, nice and crispy but the breast was way overcooked. They never asked how I wanted it cooked so I assumed it would be rare to medium rare. I'm not one who loves my duck bloody rare (as is the way it is often served these days) but this duck was cooked to a dark gray and was dry as a bone. Fortunately, there was a generous pool of excellent cherry sauce and nice pile of stewed red cabbage to add moisture to the duck. The little yellow potatoes and baby carrots were good too.
The mussels were very small, tender but not plump in a saffron broth that was heavy on the white wine and slight on the saffron. Mussels that smal just really aren;t satifying, even when there is a substantial pile of them. The frites were excellent, thin and crispy with a good potato flavor.
Dessert was tart tatin, well cooked apples in a decent caramel sauce in a soggy pastry crust with a very small scoop of mediocre vanilla ice cream.
All, in all, we were disappointed and won't go again.