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jfFood and other CT chowhounds - your special places in CT besides Napa?

hey jfood - you're generally a good source on Fairfield County. I posted re: anniversary dinner - romantic but under $200 - for this weekend and had very light response. I'm calling you out for some help with the CT possibilities - as far east as Norwalk I'd say. Mr. Layla and I are wine drinkers but may bring one of our own special bottles and do corkage which should never be more than $25. Any thoughts on a romantic environment with great food btwn $100 and $150 and where we might actually be able to score a reservation w/such short notice - our bad I know.


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    1. Laylag - I'm not jfood, but please try Schoolhouse at Cannondale in
      Wilton - it's a great place!!


      1. hi there laylag. I went through this exercise about 2 months ago... looking for something probably a little more inexpensive than you are, but in the general vicinity (I was looking for around $75 total, but we don't drink so that helped). Some good responses, I thought: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/427154

        We ended up needing to bring my 3 week old at the time, so didn't go to any that we'd planned on, but still had a nice enough meal.

        1. jfood is out taking care of business.
          in the good dog's absence, tell us about your food favorites and personal likes/dislikes. any restaurant favorites from your home turf only helps seal the deal.

          1. jfood just brought me back in, hey a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do. i yelled at him for being delinquent and i sat him down and gave him a good tongue lashing. So here's his list. BTW, M&M jfood can eat anywhere for this price point as they do not drink, so cannot give input on wine list. He apologized but on conference calls since 6am this morning.

            Romantic with great food:
            Greenwich - L'Escale, Hennemann's and Rebecca's
            New Canaan - Bonne Nuit (ask for Roe and tell her its your anniversary)
            Ridgewood - Bernards
            Vista/South Salem - Le Chateau

            Great food, a little less romantic
            Greenwich - Gaia, Baang, Oyster House
            Stamford - Ocean 211
            New Canaan - Sole (very noisy), Aloi
            Ridgefield - Elms
            SONO - Ocean Drive (ask for upstairs in a booth), Rowayton Seafood, Barcelona

            He would reco Schoolhouse because Amanda below has been a great source as well and if you give more info to adamclyde and steve h below they have also been super contributors.

            Happy anniversary and hope you get a reso. :-))

            please let us know.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              Normally I am totally on the same page with Jfood, but I don't think of baang as romantic (too noisy) and last time I ate there (about 2 months ago) I left feeling nauseous. It reaked of fried food and it may have been the fried spinach that made my stomach turn, but there were four of us and not half of it was eaten, so I couldn't have had THAT much of it :-)

              I do however second Le Chateau, and have also been hearing good things about the new Emily Shaw's in Pound ridge, just didn't mention them since you were looking into FFD County. My Mom and Dad got engaged at the original Emily Shaw's and the new one seems to be tres romantique :-)
              I was also going to mention Ocean Drive, but have not been there in a while so I initially didn't want to recommend in case they have gone downhill.

              1. re: SweetPea914

                baang is fun, not romantic. some may also think the same of barcelona, but if you get a table in the back room next to the wine fridge it's very nice, but inthe front roomis as noisy as baan.

                sorry for the confusion.

                thanks sweetpea

            2. BTW, what about Vuli at the top of the Stamford Marriot? I remember having a great dinner there (again years ago) very romantic atmosphere. Maybe some other more local CH'ers can weigh in?

              3 Replies
              1. re: SweetPea914

                There is an article in today's Advocate that Vuli has closed. No more romantic revolutions above Stamford.

                There is no new tenant at the moment...

                1. re: Zobot

                  I had to laugh the article's statement that Stamford's "only" revolving restaurant had closed--as if most towns have multiple spots that twirl diners!

              2. is that $100-150 total or per person? lots of good places either way. just needed to know.

                1 Reply
                1. re: steve h.

                  That's $100-$150 total. It's 9th anniversary only. Next year is another story when I hope we'll be celebrating somewhere in Europe.

                2. Layla,

                  hmmmm.... I do like Napa but think you can't go wrong at L'escale - the food is fab, wine is wonderful and the atmosphere is romantic, that said I also like Gaia but must disagree with JFood on Baang (fun but not romantic and while the food is good it is nothing truly exceptional), Rebecca's (the foo dis good but overpriced IMHO and the wait is insane) and I was unimpressed at Ocean 211 in Stamford. just giving my two cents so that you have some comparisions..... other than that I am looking forward to hearing what you pick and trying some of those other places mentioned here! if you are open to NY - but near to CT - try Nessa in Port Chester - it is great altho not that romantic.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: KarenNYC

                    maybe jfood likes baaang because it rminds him of China rill in NYC and that had a special place in the jfood's early marriage as a special place. jfood likes the food a lot and its more a fun energy 30's place than a special romantic place, but jfood really likes the food. probably last on the list with these choices.

                    1. re: jfood

                      mmmm.... China Grill! love the place and have some history with it as well. I agree with you on Baang as fun with good food but didn't think it was what OP was looking for.... either way - I love hearing your recco's as we usually agree!

                    2. re: KarenNYC

                      What are your suggestions aside from L'Escale and Gaia?

                    3. Laylag, I agree with L'Escale and Schoolhouse at Cannondale, but also try Northstar in Pound Ridge. Great food (I think they just updated their menu) fun drink menu and very cozy and romantic. www.northstarny.com.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: FoodieForAll

                        jfood would not fully agree that Northstar is romantic. very small, nice bar and maybe 10 tables. this location keeps changing hands and motifs and never seems to get a lot of traction.


                        1. re: jfood

                          I believe the current owners have had the place since 1995 and yes, small/cozy, tomato, tomoto. But, the food is good and always consistent, at least when I have been there.

                          1. re: FoodieForAll

                            1995 through ~2001 it was a pizzeria called Moonstruck, pretty good pizza. then they converted to some name with a big horse in front, pretty good but mismanaged, then it switched to northstar. jfoods had a couple of raw chicken dishes before northstar and have not been there since renamed. but it's still a bar type place.

                            do you know how the food is? lots of ads in the local papers.


                            1. re: jfood

                              The food is EXCELLENT!!! I don't think of it as a bar type place. A bar type place to me is Black Bear or Bobby Valentine's where most of the action revolves around the bar.

                              With that said, they do have a good bar scene and live music on Thursday nights, but the dining area has a great quaint country feel.

                              JFood, from reading some of your postings, I think you would be pleasantly surprised with Northstar. www.northstarny.com

                      2. check out the thread on duo in stamford...it sounds quite good

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: corky

                          Duo IS amazing, but maybe not an anniversary spot.

                          1. re: amanda3571

                            I agree DUO was really wonderful. I am a big snob about the food in the area and this one is on my return to list!!

                        2. Wow everyone - thanks for all the input thus far and jfood your brief absence is totally forgivable. As for Steve H's questions, in my original post asking for recs in Westchester and FFld (we live in Mamaroneck/Rye) I did mention some of the places we'd considered that were either booked or a bit over what we wanted to spend and that wanted to go somewhere new but didn't feel like heading to the city so here's the deal. We like inventive, creative food and...

                          Been to La Panetiere - enjoyed very much for more traditional French although a little too staid in the atmosphere dept.
                          Been to X - really good all around
                          Blue Hill - never been - booked
                          Plates - never been - booked
                          X20 - never been - booked
                          Xaviers - never been only 6p seating - a little too early

                          Nessa - have a tentative reservation for earlier in the evening so won't be too noisy although we know it's not super romantic but we did honeymoon in Italy so may induce romantic reminiscence.

                          We're thinking about Schoolhouse at Canondale - don't know if we can get a table

                          Read about Meigas in Norwalk elsewhere and seems really interesting but can't get a sense of atmosphere from the website - anyone have any thoughts on the place?

                          I'll have to explore these Pound Ridge suggestions too. Btw, where is Pound Ridge? Only lived up here a couple of years - will have to mapquest.

                          Adamclyde - I had read your anniversary thread (had actually posted something there too) but nothing was "jumping out" at me as being the place we should go. Perhaps it's just the nine year doldrums - sort of emotionally waiting for the bigger event next year. We have a sitter for our seven year old and fingers are crossed there'll be no surprises and we'll have to switch to a happening mac and cheese emporium at the last minute.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: laylag

                            Hi Layla,
                            I thought you also lived in NY and that Westchester locations would work for you too. Pound Ridge is North West of you, it is just West of the Stamford/New Cannan, CT border.

                            1. re: laylag

                              I haven't eaten at Meigas in a few years; the food was excellent, but I'll defer to more recent diners on that. As far as a space goes, the resto was roughly divided in half.

                              The part you enter first, which has/had the bar area is the nicer half. A bit more clubby and atmospheric. The second room I recall being a bit sparse and bland, more along the lines of a nice hotel dining room---acceptable, but not noteworthy.

                              1. re: laylag

                                We recently went to Blue Hill without a reservation and ate at the bar. Amazing, very welcoming, lovely -- and did I mention that we had no reservation?

                              2. thomas henkelmann in greenwich serves up tasty fare in a romantic environment. he will definitely scrape your price point but call ahead and see what happens. you never know.

                                1. Hey all - just wanted to say thanks. Ended up staying close to home and finally trying Nessa which although not as romantic as my initial intention, was very enjoyable. With our corkage fee we stayed just under $150. Full review can be found in the link to the Westchester Italian thread.


                                  Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. Willd definitely be trying many of them in the future including L'Escale, Schoolhouse at Canondale and North Star.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: laylag

                                    so glad you liked Nessa - it is one of my faves and we try to get there frequently.