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Jfood visits Ten Twenty (Darien) - Solid Start

jfood Nov 2, 2008 04:17 AM

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:

Tentwenty.com

-----
Ten Twenty Restaurant
Darien, CT, Darien, CT

  1. j
    JimIs Nov 2, 2008 03:14 PM

    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:

    http://www.jpivr.com/TenTwentyOct10.html

    1. ChefBoyAreMe Nov 3, 2008 05:09 AM

      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 out...it 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
        jfood Nov 3, 2008 06:05 AM

        C-BAM

        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
          ChefBoyAreMe Nov 3, 2008 08:43 AM

          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
          k
          kaaaassss Nov 30, 2008 07:37 AM

          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. a
          ann34hale Nov 4, 2008 03:35 PM

          For some reason I cannot pull up the website for TenTwentyPost.com If someone can send the website to my e-mail address at aspero1@hotmail.com I would appreciate it.

          1. c
            cooktop Nov 6, 2008 07:47 AM

            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
              a
              ann34hale Nov 6, 2008 07:53 AM

              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.

            2. c
              cooktop Nov 6, 2008 12:32 PM

              ten twenty web site is http://www.tentwentypost.com/s/index.php

              1 Reply
              1. re: cooktop
                a
                ann34hale Nov 10, 2008 04:29 PM

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

              2. missmar79 Nov 30, 2008 06:34 AM

                We went last night. I really liked it.

                It was a cross in decor between a chicago pizza place, a pub and a brasserie.I guess I will use Gordon Ramsay's term gastro pub. It was sort of like that. Cozy yet lively.

                We ordered the mussels for $11 on the cast iron frying pan. They came out nice and hot with a garlic butter dip. They were small inside, yet delicious. Nice portion as well.

                My husband ordered the skirt steak sandwich- came out medium rare with roquefort cheese and greens on toasted bread with salad on the side. I ordered the salmon BLT sandwich- came on soft dark wheat bread with bacon, avocado, greens and fries on the side.

                We each took half of each others sandwich to enjoy it.

                Overall it was very good.

                The salmon needed to be cooked about 30 seconds less and i prefer a crispy crust on the salmon. It was sort of soft on the outside thus the enture sandwich had a soft texture (the bacon was minimal and did not add that desired crunch). However it tasted good and I finished it.

                The skirt steak was yummy- the bread was buttered and looked as if it was grilled on a pan (it had those nice grill marks) - it had a very nice texture- the punchy flavor of the roquefort cheese was a very nice touch.

                Like skirt steak, the actual steak piece on the sandwich was a tad fatty so almost better to eat with a fork and knife to advid looking sloppy as I did.

                We also enjoyed a nice beer - I cant remember the name but it started with an A and it was a pale ale yet a tad cloudy- like a Hooegarden but a littel bit "bigger" in flavor.

                When looking for a decent priced meal in a warm place with a good bar scene and typical Darien atmosphere, look no further than Ten Twenty Post.
                Rorys will be losing some business no that this place is in town....

                1. l
                  LVI Dec 12, 2008 06:34 AM

                  Agree on the solid start aspect of 1020. Chowder was so so but mussels and pan fried oyster were excellent. Huge bar scene. As long as they continue to execute seafood dishes that do not get too complicated they will be sucessful. Darien is starved for quality restaurants and this is EXACTLY what we need.

                  Anyone else notice that Chings has closed and is now a Dumpling House? Personally I LOVE dumplings as well my kids but is Darien ready for a Dumpling restaurant?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: LVI
                    jfood Dec 12, 2008 07:25 AM

                    Totally unsubstantiated rumor is that the Lee family is changing the name and the food motif but it is still in their portfolio of restaurants.

                    If anyone has confirm it would be great to hear.

                    1. re: jfood
                      w
                      wonka Dec 12, 2008 07:47 AM

                      I was there the other night, not totally sold on the place yet... I know it's in the new stages. But to have flaws with service,(short on wine pours, buy backs) and some food, issues, (items luke warm) and to be so so in these economic times, I'll continue to keep looking for another place. I may try it again at a later date.

                      1. re: jfood
                        l
                        LVI Dec 12, 2008 07:49 AM

                        As mentioned above, it looks like Chings has changed its name and "motif" to Wild Ginger Dumpling House. See line #12 page 2 of the Architectural Review Board Darien, CT Agenda.

                        http://www.darienct.gov/meetings/arb/...

                        1. re: LVI
                          s
                          Scotty100 Dec 12, 2008 11:37 AM

                          I received a menu through the door for "wild ginger dumpling house" and yes indeed its just chings all over again with 5 added "dumplings" under apps. When I initially passed the place 2 weeks ago I thought ,stupidly, that we might actually get some authentic chinese in Darien a la chinatown (!). Doh!! Should have known better...menu lists everything that was already there before in chings and in every single one of their other restaurants in the area. And indeed in every single other "chinese" restaurant in this area...snoozefest.

                    2. jfood Sep 30, 2010 07:20 PM

                      jfood has eaten at 1020 twice in the last six months. Two really bad dining experiences plus an indifference by staff and management causes jfood to remove his "solid recommendation."

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: jfood
                        l
                        LW1 Oct 1, 2010 05:49 AM

                        i find it better to sit at the nice bar, have a couple of drinks and share an app. i've had mixed results the two or three times i've actually dined there and would not go back. it's too bad, because the space is nice and could be a really good restaurant with the right person in the kitchen and the right person managing the wait staff.

                        1. re: jfood
                          l
                          LVI Oct 1, 2010 11:23 AM

                          I think the simplier the dish the better at 1020. As they try to get too complicated they lose the ability to let the quality of their product shine. Steamers have always been wonderful not to mention the lardon salad.

                          BTW, this whole in the 3rd person thing is silly. Isn't it about time to stop it? Or are you actually reporting for someone named jfood?

                          1. re: LVI
                            s
                            sibeats Oct 1, 2010 11:29 AM

                            it's the dog speaking for jfood...

                            1. re: LVI
                              jfood Oct 1, 2010 09:07 PM

                              I just turned 14 and ready to retire. I've been asking for a package for a year and jfood won;t give it to me.

                              BTW - Do you live out here or Vegas. Just curious as all your posts are LV related except this one.

                              Ciao

                              1. re: jfood
                                l
                                LVI Oct 4, 2010 07:50 AM

                                14 I am jealous! I actually live in CT and have made various posts over the years, I do a fair amount on Zagats and other. LVI goes to many restaurants in the area and NYC. He also likes the scene in Vegas and has seen the transformation of a mediocre dining scene to one of excellence.

                                A little testy on my post? I suppose I was given the plethora (many quality I may add) of yours...errr jfoods...posts but was turned off by the 3rd person thing. To each his own. Keep up the quality post even as others like myself or LVI gripes about your 3rd person.

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