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Nov 2, 2008 04:17 AM

Jfood visits Ten Twenty (Darien) - Solid Start

Jfood will grant a tentative seal of approval to Ten Twenty in Darien after M&M Jfood and friends had a wonderful dinner. From the staff, to the décor, to the food, this place is a great addition to the FFD county food scene. And for Darien, which has been almost a wasteland, it is an enormous uptick.

The place has definitely caught the eye of tons of people. They only take reservations for half of the tables so many are saved for the walk in. At 7PM on a Saturday night Jfood heard one 6-top on the sidewalk speaking of a 1.5-1.45 hour wait. The restaurant is shaped in an “L”. At the far end is the kitchen, and then along the left window-wall are tables. In the center are standing tables. Along the right side from front to back is a very large bar area. Then to your right are one standing table and then more tables along the wall that end into an “mini-L” alcove. It is a nice sized space. The 6-top tables are a little small, but absolutely manageable for six people and the noise level in the room to the right is lower than in the main hall. On Jfood's visit the bar was three deep.

Jfood's party ordered some water which was brought in bottles (those with the Grolsch Beer bottle tops) and left on the table, which Jfood liked as well as a couple of bottles of wine that his friends ordered. BTW – Jfood's friends mentioned that the wine was very good. If you would like to see the menu, it is posted on line. BTW – the website does not have the phone number yet – 203-655-1020.

The table ordered a couple of Flat-Breads with caramelized onions, Gruyere & Crimini mushrooms for the table. They arrived and the first thing to mention is that the flat breads are soft, not crispy as other restaurants in the area. The caramelized onions were nicely sweetened (although one bite was a little cold) and the Gruyere and Crimini mushrooms (which were soft and moist hopefully from pre-cooking) were very nice together. Jfood would rate this dish a 7-8.

For an appetizer Jfood ordered the Onion Soup with Gruyere. This arrived in a nice crock with two slices of bread poking through delicious melted gruyere. The soup was rich, but could have been a bit richer, the onions had a nice caramelization (similar to those on the flat breads), and the cheese was very good. Jfood would also rate this dish a 7-8.

Onto the entrée of which Jfood ordered the Seared Sea Scallops with autumn vegetable risotto. There were five good-sized dry scallops that looked lightly seared. The scallops surrounded a nice portion of risotto that was plopped onto the center of the dish. Jfood first decided to try the risotto. If one likes their risotto with a stick to the ribs consistency they will really like this part of the dish. If, like Jfood, you like it a little creamier, you may be disappointed. But the flavor was great, the risotto itself still had just a bit of a bite and the diced par-boiled pieces of vegetable added a nice dimension. The scallops were a bit undercooked in the middle, which is the way Jfood likes them, but because the chef took them off heat a bit early, the outside did not have enough time to get that last bit of sugar to crisp up. He would also like a little more seasoning on the scallops. Jfood would give this a solid 7.

Others at the table ordered the short rib, the salmon, the chicken pot pie and Mrs. Jfood loved the chicken. She mentioned that it tasted like a Coq au Vin but she wanted a little more mushrooms. Jfood understands that some on the boards do not like hearsay reviews, but he will place it here just as a point of reference.

The server was right on top of things. She was there when needed and was neither intrusive nor absent. The runners did have problems with reaching the far end of the table and Jfood offered a helping hand in both handing dishes inbound and upon clearing. He would give the service a 9.

So after a couple of weeks in operation, Jfood has to give Ten Twenty a solid recommendation. Were there some hiccups, sure, but if you saw the crowd that descended onto this place, you would have expected utter bedlam both pre-service and during. To this point the calmness and self-assurance definitely came through.

BTW – Ole Mole next door was also a mob scene and The Melting Pot and Ching’s Kitchen were next to empty. So the people of Darien are really flocking to their two new choices.

The Website is:

Ten Twenty Restaurant
Darien, CT, Darien, CT

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  1. We agree!

    My wife and I went to Ten Twenty Post twice so far and were pleased with the food and service also. If you want to see views of the room as a VR panorama follow this link:

    1. Jfood,

      Glad to hear you liked 10-20. Agree the place is a great addition in town. MY only knock so far is that the town has been so starved for a good restaurant with a sophisticated bar scene (especially since the Goose went was so-so on the food front, but was the best non-dive bar in town ---actually the only.) Hoping the scene settles out a bit once the novelty wears off, and it becomes a bit more manangable, less of a crush.

      To that end, and regarding your note about the Melting Pot, we can only hope that place goes belly up, and a more user-friendly operation takes over what is a nice space.

      I mean, seriously, how often do you get a hankering for fondue? Me, once every 10 years or so is fine, and I'm covered thru 2010, so...

      What that space needs is a nice trattoria-type place local people might want to go to once a month rather than once a decade.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ChefBoyAreMe


        Think about it though. In two years Darien received 1020, Ole, Chings, Thai to go with Coromandel. When jfood moved to New Canaan mid-90's there was Prezzo, Gates, Magic Wok, Mockingbird and L'Abbee. Now look at it.

        So directionally Darien is coming into its own, just 8 years after NC, STM and SONO. :-))

        1. re: jfood

          And don't forget Tengda and Matsuri!!!

          Now, if that fondue place survives, I'm gonna want to know who, exactly eats there!!!

        2. re: ChefBoyAreMe

          funny you say that about the melting pot. i feel that way about the one in white plains. it's in a large space but it is a basement space and not worth the expense and effort to eat there. fondue had it day in the 70's. i have not heard one person who went there say they enjoyed the experience.

        3. For some reason I cannot pull up the website for If someone can send the website to my e-mail address at I would appreciate it.

          1. Been to Ten twenty twice now only for drinks. I like the atmosphere, I had a couple glasses of white wine and the poor was a little lite, felt like I was at Michael Jordan’s in GS. I hear good things about the food. We did need a nice meeting place like this in town.

            Just a note: Very disappointed with Ole Mole went there twice, first time ordered lots of stuff the chicken enchiladas tasted like chicken salad with sauce and the second time had nachos at the bar I think my dog could have put together a better plate. There were like 10 beans scattered around and a few little drops of sour cream all tasteless the guys next to us even said weak. Been to Stamford and Fairfield and they were great. I hope they realize this and step it up.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cooktop

              I have to agree with you Ole Mole was not what I expected. I went there with my mom and a neighbor and it was not good and besides it was to crowded for me.

              1. re: cooktop

                Thank You, I finally was able to pull up the website and menu