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Foster's/New Haven

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We eagerly anticipated our first visit to this highly touted new restaurant. The chef/owner, Dave Foster, has serious credentials and as "townies," we're always happy to see new and interesting dining establishments open in our town. Our evaluation? Decidedly mixed...
The interior is very interesting and really has an upscale, NYC feel. It is obvious that they paid attention to design details and there is a profusion of natural materials - bamboo table tops, cork, stone, etc. Even the silverware was worth talking about!
As for the food, there were "ups" and "downs." Everything served was very attractively presented, and the portions were enormous - even the salads covered full sized dinner plates. Additionally, the wine list, while relatively brief, had some interesting choices and was very realistically priced.
The positives:
My seafood in court boullion was really excellent - a profusion of clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops and a piece of whitefish. The dessert - apple spring rolls - was delicious.
Negatives:
My wife's tuna, on the other hand, was cold in the center and decidedly undersauced. The accompanying mashed potatoes w/corn and wasabi were excellent. Both salads were ok.....not great...not terrible...but ok. My wife had the arugula salad, and the bitterness of the greens was amplified by a very acidic dressing. My anchovy-less caesar lacked the "oomph" that I like with a caesar salad. Again, the use of citrus in lieu of anchovies made for a rather acidic taste.
One major positive was the service - absolutely wonderful on every level. It is clear that Chef Dave has taken real pains in the training and all of the servers - the waitperson, the busboys, (and Dave himself) paid very close attention to all of our needs and requests.
Will we return? Definitely...It is clear that they are still in the "germination" stage and they will obviously have to make adjustments to the menu. Interestingly, since our visit, we have run into several people who have also been there and our opinions seem to have been shared almost without exception. Foster's has the potential to be a real star in the New Haven dining scene, but a bit of "tweaking" is in order.

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    1. re: smoky

      On Orange St - a couple of doors down from Bentara

      1. re: lsnhc

        Sounds interesting. Any idea if they have a website up and running yet?

    2. Thanks for the review. We did a drive-by on Saturday, June 16, around 8:30 p.m., and it was sadly quite dead--could only see two tables filled from the street. I hope it makes it. Definitely looks interesting.

      1. My boyfriend and I went to Fosters last night for dinner and had an amazing time. I think any missteps when they first opened have been resolved.

        Before I get to the food I'll say that the service was exceptional. The staff was friendly and attentive including everyone from the hostess to the busboy. It was extremely busy, we got the last table, but we never felt like the staff was stretched to thin to cover the room.

        I ordered the Chicken without a bone, asparagus cornbread stuffing and my boyfriend ordered Tuna steak polenta crusted, orange ginger glaze, roasted corn wasabi mashed potato. We were floored at how big the portions were. My dish consisted of a whole small chicken de-boned and filled with stuffing. It was amazing. The chicken was juicy and flavorful and the stuffing was sweet and savory. My boyfried said his tuna was cooked perfectly and the mashed potatoes were so good. I couldnt stop taking bites of them.

        At this time during the meal, the owner came out and was checking in with everyone's table. He was extremely nice and asked us if this was our first time at the restaurant. We told him yes and that we were having a great time.

        We then ordered the Chocolate mousse layered with puff pastry and fresh whipped cream for dessert. We decided to split it, since we were so full from our entrees. As we started eating the amazingly fresh and delicious dessert, the owner came over with a slice of the raspberry white chocolate crème brulé cheesecake for us to try. The cheesecake was simply amazing, the raspberry's in the cheesecake tasted like they were just picked.

        The owner then sat down next to us and we chatted for a bit about cheesecake and desserts in general.

        We had such an amazing time at Foster's, we will definately be going back again soon. It was such a friendly, laid back environment with amazing food. Plus, you can't underestimate what a difference good service and a personal approach makes on an evening.

        1. What a dining experience we had at Foster's! From the moment we walked in, till we left, the entire experience was great! Our daughter had dined there recently and raved about it so much that we drove from Glastonbury to try it out.
          Imagine our surprise when David Foster, chef and co-owner, recognized our daughter and welcomed her back. He answered some questions we had about the menu and stopped back a few times during the evening to see if everything was okay.
          I began with the Caesar salad while my daughter and husband devoured a basket of complimentary bread. Personally. I enjoyed the lack of salty taste of traditional caesar salads. The fresh shaved parmesan and polenta topped off a fabulous dressing. I nearly licked the plate!
          Our entrees filled the plates! From the stuffed pork to the monk medallions...all the food was cooked to perfection. The "sides" that came with the meal were stand out attractions...from the spaghetti squash to the wedge of macaroni and cheese...unreal!
          We were so full at this point, but had to try the desserts...and boy, were we glad we did. Do not leave there without having the raspberry cheescake! It is to die for!
          Love the atmosphere - Love the funky silverware - Love Karen, our friendly, attentive server - Love the personal touch that David Foster brings to his restuarant. He is willing to put himself out there to hear feedback, postitive or negative. His dedication to making Foster's the best it can be is obvious...and did I mention that he can cook up a storm! Do yourself a favor and head on down to Foster's...you'll be glad you did.

          1. We had a really nice meal at Foster's in New Haven. I am so glad we gave this interesting sounding place after our driveby back in June (see prior review) a chance.

            When we went on Saturday, there were about six-eight tables filled and by the time we left, filled to capacity. www.fostersrestaurant.com Website pics don't do it justice--much larger in person. Very very unpretentious. Chef extremely visible and loved talking to patrons about the food. The reviews here are so right-on.
            Incredible bread; pear and crab-stuffed calamari (pan-seared)- Very good; mussels of the week (with coconut and lime) - sadly, just OK; Interesting salads, but the waitress forgot to bring them to us--the night's only hiccup, we didn't realize until she delivered our entrees; beef short rib osso bucco with ginger zinfandel sauce; smoked duck breast stuffed with goat cheese with brandy pear sauce with a side of lobster mashed potatoes; chocolate mousse puff pastry desert.
            Chef looked like a chef version of Willie Nelson with tie dyed pants, two braids in the front, and very consciencous about his guests--truly a great guy who cares.
            Partner owns Miso (Japanese) on the same street.
            Chef has a display cooking area (like hibachi) where on the night we went, they were offering a special flambee'd peach dessert, which if you ordered, he cooked on this special grill area, you are welcome to go up and watch or you can watch on TV display over the bar. (Normally, this would seem ridiculous, but given the chef's personality, you could truly enjoy this.
            )All staff were extremely friendly--busboy to waitress, to hostess, to chef--it is clear this is an important thing to the owners.
            Drinks from bar were delish.
            Ladies room was clean with a very pretty raised basin and countertop with inlaid pebbles--I had to check it out, knowing it would be unique.
            DH was happy in that where we sat, he could see the TV that had Sports Center on, so he was in his glory--fine food and TV.
            They had a really interesting sounding soup special, toasted almond and leek. And a filet mignon special also.