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Dec 18, 2008 11:09 AM

Bon Appetit Cafe in Wilton

I had a marvelous late dinner last night at the Bon Appetit Cafe in Wilton. It's in the Stop & Shop plaza on River Rd in Wilton Center, but I can guarantee you'll never stumble upon it by accident. Due to design or zoning regs, there's such a uniformity of storefront design that they just don't stand out from each other. We missed the main entrance to the plaza, took the next one, found our way thru the maze of parking lots back to the Stop & Shop, having been told it's pretty much right in front. No such luck, so I gave them a call from my cellphone. "Don't move. Look to your left," and sure enough, I had stopped right in front of the place without seeing it.

Bon Appetit Cafe is pretty much an upscale bistro run by former owners of Plouf! in Stratford and Voila in Fairfield. There's a short menu of about 10 appetizers/soups/salads, 6 entrees and 4 desserts. But it's supplemented with a full list of blackboard specials.

We started with one of those specials, a bowl of cream of mushroom soup, intensely mushroom flavored with a large garnish of what appeared to be shredded ham, and a few mushroom slices thrown in for good measure. We followed that with another special of foie gras pate, a silky, generous portion with toast points and frisee garnish.

BAC doesn't have a liquor permit yet from the (dry) town of Wilton yet, but magically a glass of chardonnay and another of red appeared to compliment our necessarily rich choices.

Our main courses consisted two other choices from the specials menu. First was a duck duo, a duck breast (magret) done medium-rare as requested, paired with a duck confit leg and thigh. Very tasty. It came with a small crock of lyonaise potatoes (not too cheesy, not too creamy, just right) and what I'd guess you'd call a slaw of cooked veggies.

My entree was calves' liver lyonaise, with sauteed onions and a thick slice of bacon. I was told to order the liver rare, not medium-rare, because it continues to cook on the plate after it leaves the pan. Sure enough, it arrived perfectly pink and soft, not red, in a red wine reduction, accompanied by roasted endive, baby eggplant, tomato, thin asparagus spears, and another crock of those lyonaise potatoes.

A perfect, rich and very filling meal (therefore, no desserts to report on). Thank heavens for that magical wine to keep us going. BAC isn't very large, no more than 25-30 seats, and the kitchen takes up almost half of the storefront, so you can see exactly what's going on back there at all times.

Prices range from $18-35 for entrees with most in the mid to upper 20's. Until they get the liquor license, it's BYOB with a $12.50 corkage fee (but you get good glasses with which to enjoy your wine). Definitely worth checking out, and don't be put off by the generic storefront location; it's warm and cozy once you're inside.

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  1. Thanks RB

    The Jfood are always looking for a new treat and that shopping center (Pre-movie places) has another good resto in Mediterranean Grill (think it's Grill)? But given what you ate...cream of mushroom soup, foie gras, lyonnaise potatoes and liver jfood's cardiologist makes him ask the question of the other choices that won't cause the dessert to consist of 20mg of Lipitor.

    Where in the mall is it as well? Is it the place as you look at S&S on the right?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jfood

      Funny you should mention Lipitor, I made the same remark to my dining companion before ordering, but we figured 10mg was enough with a red wine chaser.

      Yes, if you're facing the S&S from 50 yards, it's in the row of buildings to your right side, about 1/2 way down next to a martial arts place. Their sign uses a very thin script font that's hard to notice at night. This "mall" reminds me of the overblown montrosities found in Columbia MD and Tysons Corner VA, just on a much smaller scale.

    2. Is it the location where the Wilton Food Co. was?

      1 Reply
      1. re: lillydaisy

        Probably, they both have the same 5 River Rd address.

      2. I've eaten there twice and agree the food is some of the best in Fairfield County. Try the clam appetizer -- it comes in a mustard flavored sauce that sounds like it wouldn't work (at least I would never think of combining clams and mustard) but trust me it's delicious. BTW, the corkage fee has been reduced to $6.00 per person (not per bottle). Be prepared for an expensive evening though even without a liquor tab -- this place is not for the faint of wallet....

        p.s. Yes, it is the old Wilton Food Company location