Good Quality French Restaurants in Stamford/Westport
I'm looking for a good french restaurant in the Stamford/Westport area. I'm new to the area and looking to satisfy a craving. :)
My recommendation would absolutely be to go to somewhere in Greenwich, rather than any of the places in the Fairfield to Stamford stretch of the coast. Some more specific thoughts:
La Colline Verte in Fairfield was wonderful, but, unfortunately, is gone.
St. Tropez in Fairfield just kind of misses the mark overall. The food isn't bad, but it's far from great. It has Bistro in the name, but it's a stretch to say the menu reflects the French idea of a bistro. It's sort of a confused mix of dishes, many of which just aren't French (like many restaurants in this area, it has a much heavier Italian influence than the name admits).
Da Pietro in Westport has much better food, but is far less French than many of the reviews led me to believe before I went. They really hit the mark on some of their Provencal dishes, so, if you're looking for Provencal, this will do it for you. If you're looking for more classic French, this won't do.
I haven't been to Cote D'Azur in South Norwalk yet, but I've yet to have an impressive meal in South Norwalk. Most places in South Norwalk are more about glitz, glamor, and trendiness than they are about food. They're typically overpriced, and I imagine a place with a French name has a particular sense of entitlement about overcharging.
La Bretagne in Stamford is actually pretty good. It's fairly rustic cuisine, very inexpensive for what you're getting, and, I imagine, would be a nice place to indulge a regular French food habit. That being said, it's not particularly special; six months at the FCI in New York and you could execute this menu wearing a blindfold.
Chex Jean Pierre in Stamford is ok, but it's nothing special. Just kind of an underwhelming experience that made me wish I'd driven the extra few miles to one of the Greenwich French joints.
Thomas Henkelmann in Greenwich is maybe a little outdated, but it's probably the nicest restaurant in the state. Very Greenwich. The chef is clearly very talented and steeped in traditional, Continental fine dining. It might not be innovative, but the service is wonderful, and the food is nearly perfectly executed.
L'Escale in Greenwich is quite nice, but the service gets spotty reviews. It bills itself as Provencale, but also executes classic French quite well. They've got a great bar, and I would recommend it more for sitting at the bar having drinks and food than for a formal dinner.
Restaurant Jean Louis rivals Thomas Henkelmann. I'd say try them both, but if you're only picking one, go with Henkelmann. They're both classic French with near perfect execution, and the service one would expect of a fine restaurant, but Henkelmann is a bit more contemporary, and has a wider ranging menu.
Da Pietro absolutely is Italian. It is listed as French, however, and most reviews of it I've found online have talked about it as being French. The name is clearly Italian, but I went expecting a sort of Ligurian - Provencal synthesis, based on the reviews. The menu does hit some Provencal notes, but is mostly Italian, hitting styles far south of the Ligurian Sea.