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May 2, 2007 10:08 AM

Schoolhouse at Cannondale - Wilton, CT

Has anyone been here yet? I love the idea of this place & I think it looks adorable, but menu looks so teeny-tiny. Curious to see what other hounds thoughts are and if worth checking out. TIA.

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  1. We went and loved it! The sun choke artichoke soup was out of this world and main course were excellent as well. The only thing nor perfect, was the salad with blue cheese which had too much sweetness to it. Service is really friendly and the interior design is beautiful. I can't wait to try their brunch.

    2 Replies
    1. re: AinoCT

      Great! We've got a ressie for Saturday night. Can you tell me if the menu is as tiny as it looks online? I imagine they make up for it with specials.

      1. re: amanda3571

        The menu is actually tiny, not exactly the same as online, though. I think the chef is preparing each dish by himself. So, even though the selection is small, everything is delicious.

    2. We've eaten there twice since they opened. Loved it both times. Artichoke soup w/ mushrooms fantastic, great presentation. Never had rack of lamb served with a taste of shepards pie, very creative. Second time had pasta with soft egg, followed with striped bass, nice combo. Deserts were chocolate moltencake first time and a trio of lemon earlier this week. Wilton needs this. Enjoy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wiltwo

        Just want to post a quick review of last night's dinner... What a wonderful place this is. While the menu is tiny - the food was outstanding. The staff was friendly & attentive. Impeccable service. Started with the goat cheese & grape salad. A cheese plate followed compliments of the chef. For my entree, I had the roast chicken which was cooked absolutely perfectly (nice crisp on the outside, wonderfully juicy inside) over parsnip puree with baby asparagus and foie gras ravioli. My boyfriend had the striped bass which was also delicious. We were planning to stop for ice cream on the way home, so we said no to desert - but they sent out tiny little ice cream cones filled with a lemon thyme frozen yogurt which was refreshing and delicious. Chef Labant came out a couple times through out the meal to chat - he is very friendly - and I like that he's not afraid to show his face and see how people are enjoying his food.
        All in all, this is just a really nice addition to the Fairfield County restaurant dining. And even nicer that it's off the beaten path of the Sono, Stamford, Greenwich scene.

      2. Had a very enjoyable dinner at Schoolhouse last week. My wife and I like to sit next to each other when we can, and host was nice enough to let us sit on adjacent sides of a deuce. Appreciated and set a nice tone. Which is what the Schoolhouse seemed to do in general. Food was simple and abundant (we split the gnocchi and a beef dish). Gnocchi were unusual—more cylinder than dumpling shaped. Perfectly cooked and served with nice peas and morels. Dessert was lemon three ways. A cleansing end to the meal (nit: the lemon water could use something, not sure what, to sharpen it just a touch). The room is clean and welcoming. People were chatting between tables—which can sometimes be distracting but here felt perfectly natural, and no different than the school kids comparing notes a hundred years ago. The food, the room, and the staff (including Chef LaBant, when he came out to the dining room) showed thought and poise. A keeper on the dining list.

        3 Replies
        1. re: nocaliban

          I just checked the website and see they changed the menu :)
          A welcome excuse to go back.

          1. re: amanda3571

            We've been to the Schoolhouse about 4 times now...and every time it gets better than the last. They do change the menu every week so even though it is small, you can go back often. My only complaint is on the appetizer choices. Every time we've been the 5 choices are always: cheese plate; oysters; salad; soup; and then some kind of pasta or gnocchi. I personally don't like oysters and find a cheese plate a bit heavy to start, so if the other choices don't grab me, it's tough to pick. Also, since it's usually me, my husband and daughter, we sometimes have trouble picking 3 different things (because you know you can't get the same thing!!) That being said, everything we've had has been great. Last time my daughter had the corn and clam chowder which was just perfect. The lobster ravioli was our least favorite entree....nice chunks of lobster with tender pasta, but the "pinot noir sauce" was a bit watery and there wasn't much of it. My daughter got the "pig 3 ways" which was delicious and so big she took it home and had it again the next day! My husbands duck was absolutely delicious, as was the foie gras and poached peach and pear it came with. On other visits we've had the filet of beef with potato puree...unbelievably rich and delicious. The chef always comes out to chat and seems very nice and relaxed. One time there was candied bacon on one of the desserts and he and my husband had a nice chuckle over the "bacon makes it better" motto! This place is definitely on our short list!

            1. re: kbfood

              We went back on Saturday night - I had the filet which was outsanding. SO had the duck which he enjoyed as well. We sat outside this time which was very nice and very country. Chef Labant continues to charm his customers with his very friendly and laid back ways (and complementary dishes!). Service again was impeccable. I'm looking forward to my parents visit next month so I can show them this wonderful place.

        2. We had a lovely brunch here a few weeks ago- it was a perfect Summer Sunday, so we chose to sit outside on the patio. The brunch menu was not posted on the website, but we decided to go based on the sound of the dinner menu. Brunch selections were a bit slim for choice (believe there were 4-5 mains and a couple of sides)- but our dishes were delicious and very well prepared (pancakes and salmon benedict- great French press coffee too). Looking forward to trying dinner inside the cozy schoolhouse soon.

          1. I am both stunned and disappointed at the NYT review of the Schoolhouse in which the reviewer gives a "Good" rating based on one of the most tepid reviews I've ever read. None of the excitement in the choice or quality of ingredients, or the imagination of the preparation. The reviewer chooses her dishes based on her interest in the accompanying sides; the mains just happen to be ok, too. What a farce!


            6 Replies
            1. re: rbailin

              My wife and I had that exact meal a couple of a weeks ago -- she, the gnocci and duck; I, the chowder and pork; we, the lemon desert. I agree with every word of the review of the food (including the desert). And I also agree the food is not up the the prices charged (although in this market, I would lean more towards "Very Good"). That said, we enjoyed ourselves, and will be back.

              1. re: rbailin

                I am always surprised by this reviewer and disappointed with her conclusions, but i'll get over it.

                Her conclusions normally strike me as a dart board. Check out her Savvy (New Canaan) review of last year when she sent back three dishes, yes sent them back, and she gave them an "Excellent" yet on this review her comments were the polenta was watery and the quiche was flat. And that debits it all the way to a good? And the she states that she orders for the sides? Go figure.

                Oh yeah, let's not forget the price point is high. Hello, it's FFD county.

                Granted this review would not have expected me to see an Excellent (heck she did not send anything back) but it seemed a little harsh to receive a "Good". Please pass the salt.

                I trust the reviewers here waaaaaay more than NY Times.

                1. re: jfood

                  Just a note: She said it was the parsnip puree (a minor side), not the polenta, that was "watery thin". And the complaint about the quiche was for brunch, and how many reviews (other than hers) have been based upon a brunch meal, one generally served buffet-style rather than cooked-to-order.

                  I don't mind that this reviewer tends to be much harsher in her overall assesments than the other CT reviewer, but for heaven's sake, at least be consistent!

                  1. re: rbailin

                    I stand corrected, i just have a hard time reading through her stuff some times. And I could not agree more with consistent is the key to any reviewer's reputation.

                    But she is not harsher than others, she whimsically describes her experiences, then picks a rating out of a hat. Sometimes that absolutely agree with the verbiage other times you wonder ifthey go hand in hand at all.

           new post 10/8/07

                    1. re: rbailin

                      It's Patricia Brooks, isn't it? Well known for her inconsistency, for her favoritism, for being Patricia Brooks.
                      When I was still writing about the dining scene in FFLD County, we'd sometimes review the same place in the same week and I'd often wonder if I'd been in the same restaurant where she'd dined -- for good and bad.

                  2. re: rbailin

                    I also was very shocked to see the review this morning. It was the blandest description of a restaurant I've seen in a while. You got absolutely no sense of the food or the talent in the kitchen. Everytime we've been back the food gets better and better and the menu gets more interesting. The last time we were there I had the risotto with shrimp and tomatoes for my entree and it was amazing. The shrimp were cooked perfectly, the risotto was not too dense and the flavor from the tomatoes was incredible. Unbelievable that the reviewer would give them such a lackluster "good".