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Jan 18, 2008 12:16 PM

Moving to Ridgefield, CT

My wife and I are making the move from NYC to Ridgefield, CT. I'd love some restaurant tips. We love a good wine list but not as much as a good B.Y.O.B. Any suggestions?

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  1. Welcome to the burbs and always great to have another hound in the 'hood.

    Here are a couple of jfood's choices in Ridgefield

    1 - The Elms. The chef is Brendan Walsh (you may remember him from his NYC restaurants). He is a super guy and great Chef. Link to his bio below. He serves American food in a very relaxed setting. jfood really likes the place.
    2 - More romantic and also very good is Bernards. It sort of a special place. Been a few years since the jfoods were there though.
    3 - Chez Leonard - Now that you are leaving NYC you deserve good hot dogs versus NYC. ANd yes jfood has eaten and does not care for Papaya King. This push cart has great dogs and probably best five in FFD county

    Over the border into NY
    4 - Le Chateau (west on 35) -.Very stuffy but very good. A little too shmancy for this neck of the woods, but the service is impecable. Been a few years since the jfoods were there though.
    5 - Nino's (west on 35 to 123 south) - Great red sauce, fun place. Guys who own this places are aces, they treat everyone like family. Food great and very good pizza. Sort of your go to place after a long day and just want a relaxing place to unwind.

    Sorry could not help more but jfood normally heads south for dinners and the jfoods do not drink so wine is not on the dance card.

    Almost forgot you have a great ice cream place Mr. Shanes. A little hard to find but worth the effort. You will see tons of little soccer players all lined up for this 15X15 foot take-away place. And for veggies/fruits, gourmet stuff Ridgefield has Balducci's. Very good but with NYC prices. When you find Nino's on 123 a little further on the right is a strip mall with two finds. Greenwich Produce has great produce at better prices and Word of Mouth which is probably the best bagels in the neighborhood.

    Hope that helps and welcome to the Tri-State Board.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      My friends and I celebrated a special occasion at Bernard's two weeks ago and it was superb! Great food, good service, beautiful environment (we sat in a relatively private area in front of the fireplace). None of us is a wine expert, but the list was extensive and those who chose wine were pleased. Be prepared to spend some decent money here, but we thought it was worth every penny. It was a lovely, memorable evening.

      1. re: jfood

        Le Chateau too schmancy for one of the wealthiest regions in the country??? Oy.

      2. As usual, jfood's recos are spot on.... some other places to try...

        Thali (on Rt 7, in the Days Inn, but don't let that scare you) is an excellent Indian spot. Its sister location in New Canaan is more well-known (and a nicer location), but you don't have to go that far. :)

        Wild Ginger, downtown in the CVS plaza, has excellent Pan-Asian cuisine. It's the sister restaurant of the popular Ching's Table in New Canaan.

        Spagone's (on Danbury Rd) features excellent homemade Italian dishes with very friendly service. The chef/owner often stops out to check on the regulars in the Dining Room.

        Casual/Pub, but slightly upscale places include...
        ...Bailey's Backyard (on Bailey Ave)
        ...50 Coins (on Main St)

        Casual/Pub, local haunts...
        ...The Ancient Mariner (also in CVS Plaza) -- this place is a local institution, very casual.
        ...Corner Pub (30 Grove St) -- small menu, but lots of nightly specials.

        Someone also recently recommended to me 121 Restaurant (on Rt 121) in North Salem...

        Another place that's very popular (and new) is Coco Bongos on Rt 7, which feautures "Nuevo Latino" cuisine, though I haven't tried it yet.

        There are a lot of other spots in town and the surrounding area, but hopefully this gets you started!

        11 Replies
        1. re: Zobot

          Thanks Z

          Thali - yeah the place looks like, well picture worth a thousand words. But if the food is as good as Thali in NC then that's a tall recommendation.
          Likewise with Wild Ginger. Ching's in NC is also Asian to remember and if the Lee family puts their name on it, probably a good bet.

          Also heard of a place called Luc's (proniunced Lukes) in R'field. Supposedly real good as well and the same owner just opened a resto in SONO inthe old Rattlesnake spot which seems to be getting some good press.

          1. re: jfood

            Jfood, a fellow lover of Mr. Shanes here - however, it must be noted - Mr. Shane's is in Bethel, not Ridgefield. But be sure to pick up some Chocolate Lace Ice Cream while you're there.

            I would also add Schoolhouse at Cannondale to Jfood & Zobots recs. It's in Wilton, but not too far from the Ridgefield line.

            1. re: amanda3571

              Whoa A. Jfood was off ice cream last summer but when did Shanes move. Jfood went for years down the alley behind the pizzeria in downtown, or from the side where the bicycle shop is. On 409 Main St. and even reference in NYTimes


              Jfood has never even been to Bethel

              1. re: jfood

                Oh jfood...I am wrong. Did you ever know Dr. Mike's? They are in Bethel. Dr. Mike's turned into Mr. Shane's a few yrs back. Theyre located on Greenwood Ave. I guess Mr Shanes might have a couple stores. I am getting too old for this stuff. (And truthfully, I am not that old!) Sad but true.

                1. re: amanda3571

                  Ah no biggie, scared the behoogies out of jfood though. Meeting late tonight and jfood thought he was loosing his mind as well.

                  Any new info on Beldotti's?

                  Good weekend A, looks like the weather will just be cold, no snow so Duo is in the itin. Mrs jfood's response was "Waa-hoo!" guess that's a good sign.

                  1. re: jfood

                    Hi Jfood-
                    I've read so many of your posts and found them so helpful. I've never posted before, but wanted to give you a heads up on Mr. Shane's. The tiny place down the stairs that you used to go to closed sometime last year. The ice cream in now sold at Deborah Anne's Chocolate Shop which used to be behind CVS, but is now on the very end of Main Street (1st building on left as you come into town). It's a great shop w/seating inside and out...something we really needed on Main St. Anyway, Mr. Shane's decided to focus just on making ice cream for Deborah Anne's and a few local restaurant accounts and close the actual shop. Also, in case you're interested Chez Leonard was sold last year, but from what I've heard the new owner has kept everything the same (I'm not a hotdog eater).

                    1. re: avasmom

                      I had a dog at Chez Leonard last week, it's still good. :)

                      1. re: avasmom

                        Thanks A, miss one summer in r'field and things change. Mr Shanes was sold in Scotts Cornerr Market for a time, noy sure if still there. In any event jfood gave up ice cream last year.

                        Good to know Chez is still as good. jfood had his last one late summer of '06 and he thinks Leonards son was handling at the time. no surprise they sold.

                        In any event thanks for the update.

                    2. re: amanda3571

                      No, Dr. mike's is not now Mr. Shanes. It's still Dr. mike's.

                      Mr. Shanes, however, has closed its retail shop. The same ice cream is now being scooped and sold at Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe 381 Main 203-438-0065

                      Speaking of Dr. Mike's, the place has been dreadfully downhill for many years (it's not bad, but it ain't anywhere near what it was). It's amazing how long places can coast on distant past reputation, and how frequently lazy food writers continue to feature it in round-ups, and how many chowhound posters tip it without disclosing that they haven't tried it in years.

                      The serious ice cream now (or at least, when they're open, in warm weather) is at Ferris Acres Creamery in newtown (near bethel) at 144 Sugar St (Rt 302) 203-426-8803.

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        I think Dr. Mike's really slid downhill after it was sold about a year or two ago. It's a shame when the owners leave, the tradition really doesn't ever carry on very well.

                        I did go to the Bethel outpost recently and it was still very good. But then again, I only get what they became known for in the first place, the chocolate lace ice cream. So, you can't go wrong there.

                        And, as long as they continue to whip up that fresh, real whipped cream that looks like Swiss mountain peaks, I'll continue to patronize it.

                        Another place with real whipped cream is Rich's Dairy on Route 67. That's a fun summer treat place with a load of varieties.

                        1. re: MasterofLightChick

                          Chocolate lace was ALWAYS the flavor to get :)

                          Again, it's still pretty good. But it's been at least ten years since it's been great. Can't wait to try Rich's. Was hard to find its listing, so I'll share: Rich Farm Ice Cream Shop 691 Oxford Rd, Oxford, CT 203-881-1040

            2. Theres a really nice place called Bernards. I had lunch there and everything was delicious and the place was like so "New England"...... it was cute!
              I had my first ever experience with Sweetbreads and it was the greatest thing ever! I will never forget it hahaha

              1. Definitely go to Luc's - it's just like being in a Parisian Bistro. And, it's open all day long every day except for Monday, I believe. There is another French restaurant right next door called La Saliere. The menu isn't as appealing but is worth a shot. Luc's has an excellent selection of wines, so you'll be very happy there.

                Jfood, it is the owner of La Saliere that just opened the new bistro in SoNo, which is empty every time I go by, definitely not drawing me. And, for historical purposes, the owner of Luc's (a French man) helped the owner of La Saliere open this first place of his in Ridgefield, which is a bit more Americanized than a true French place.

                Since you are coming from NYC, you may be familiar with Pastis (where I ate once again yesterday) in the Meatpacking District. IMO, Luc's fills this type of dining slot in the region.

                13 Replies
                1. re: MasterofLightChick

                  Strong words to compare to Pastis. That's very high praise. Need to checkit out. Thanks MLC.

                  1. re: jfood

                    Put it into context being located in our area, of course. It's similar due to the European brasserie atmosphere and menu offerings.

                    1. re: MasterofLightChick

                      hear air out of balloon. How is the food. Have you been to Bonne Nuit in NC to compare?

                      1. re: jfood

                        wow, thanks for all the suggestions. we have been to lucs and, although it was good, it was not pastis! however, in my opinion, pastis isn't good for much beyond a skirt steak. we did really enjoy the pate at lucs. i'm excited to try all of your recommendations.

                            1. re: Elizzie

                              There is Gail's on the Common, a little ways beyond downtown on Rte. 35. It replaced Gail's Station House that burned down a couple of years ago.

                        1. re: jfood

                          No, have not yet been to Bonne Nuit - it's definitely on my list though.

                    2. re: MasterofLightChick

                      Maybe Luc's compares to Pastis, I have never been to that location. However, his Sono Restaurant (la Saliere) is way below par and I find French Roast on the UWS preferable. Which is not saying much. As a fellow former NYC'er I have to recommend that you "head South" as Jfood recommended. SoNo and Stamford is where you need to go for good dining, there are a few good places in greenwich as well. If you're missing Nobu go to Wasabi Chi (Sono). For good Dim sum you need to go to White Plains (Aberdeen) and for the best Italian, go to Stamford to Columbus Circle or Cafe Silvium. Best seafood is Harbor Lights or Rowayton Seafood.
                      As a NY'er you'll definitely feel at home in Sono, I love that I can park in one place and not have to worry about driving to my next destination. Sounds petty to some, but when you aren't used to driving all over creation it is a nice luxury!

                      1. re: SweetPea914

                        oops, I meant "Columbus Park Trattoria", not Columbus Circle!

                        1. re: SweetPea914

                          to clarify, La Saliere isn't the same owner as Luc's. It's the same owner as the French restaurant next to Luc's in Ridgefield and trained by the owner of Luc's.

                          Speaking of French food in NYC though, someone gave me a tip that there's actually a French bistro where you can bring your dogs, just as if you were in Paris. I think it's near FAO Schwartz. Any idea on this?

                          1. re: MasterofLightChick

                            Ahh, thanks for the clarification, with all these new restaurants I obviously got them mixed up!
                            I don't know of a restaurant that lets you bring dogs near FAO. I have a dog and think I would have heard about this. Typically, dogs are not allowed in any establishment (in NYC) that also sells food. So, for example, a bar that doesn't sell food will allow dogs. Usually if we were walking the dog and stopped for lunch we had to pick a place with outdoor seating and the dog always had to be leashed to the other side of the partition/gate.
                            I'll look into it though and let you know if I can find such a place.

                      2. re: MasterofLightChick

                        Lucs is great. Closed on Sundays, not Mondays. The owner Herve is gracious, and the food is always good. La Saliere is not a favorite of mine, and I hear his new place in SONO is okay.

                      3. The only BYOB place in Ridgefield is Piccolo's Pizza. Haven't been in a long time. Not sure how it is. Good pizza when eating there, but doesn't travel well as the crust is super thin. Full menu as well that didn't used to be classic pizzaria, but again, I haven't been in a while.