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Brasserie Pip (Ivoryton, CT): Oo-la-la-la, c'est magnifique!

BIG THANKS to rbailin for recommending Brasserie Pip for steak tartare. We went for dinner on the 4th of July and had a truly stellar experience from beginning to end.

We sat out on the porch overlooking the gardens--what a picture-perfect setting. I chose the seasonal fruit caipirinha and would highly recommend this very tasty adult beverage! My dining partner had a Dark & Stormy. Bien sûr, we shared steak tartare to start. I cannot compare it to others I have enjoyed because it's not so readily available I can compare it from place to place. I can only say it was delectable and the toasted baguette slices they brought to accompany it were just right. Their housemade fresh baguettes and butter are simply wonderful.

Next, we shared "THE Macaroni gratin with crispy pork." Imagine the creamiest, most flavorful, cheddar-loaded mac and cheese you have ever eaten, replete with peas, chunks of pork and crispy breadcrumbs on top. It was mindbendingly wonderful and left me wishing I could replicate this dish at home. I sopped up every last cheesy bite of sauce with the remaining baguette slices.

For the main course, I ordered the duck confit. It goes without saying it was fall-off-the-bone tender and no knife was necessary. It was rich and flavorful, served over white beans and Swiss chard and topped with a bit of fennel slaw.

My dining partner, who ranked this among the best meals he has ever eaten, enjoyed the fresh local fluke amandine with potatoes, capers, whole almonds and green beans. I had a taste and agreed the fish was supremely fresh, very light and perfectly seasoned.

I couldn't get my mind off the menu and the duck fat pommes frîtes. I just had to try them, so rather than dessert, we ordered them midway through our meal and enjoyed them last. Served with aïoli, these hand-cut fries were superb. I can't honestly say I could taste the difference that they had been prepared with duck fat. Perhaps I'd have to try them side by side with "regular" frîtes to see the difference, but they were fabulous as well.

Clearly, we hadn't saved room for dessert, so I only had a cappucino. But I can't help thinking about NEXT TIME. This restaurant is only about a half hour away and I definitely want to get back there again this summer (with friends next time) to try their charcuterie and have more tartare and...and...and...

Our server was very pleasant and helpful. When I asked for his help between a couple of dishes, he steered me to both the duck and the macaroni gratin and I am very grateful for his recommendations. He also helped my dining companion decide between two of his dinner choices.

One more thing! We arrived VERY early for our 6:15 reservation. As it was such a beautiful day, I wanted to head toward the shore and get outside before our meal. What luck--as we drove up Main St. in Ivoryton, we noticed several sculptures displayed on people's lawns. We learned that these sculptures will be on display (for a year?), so bring walking shoes and arrive early. A leisurely walk for 15 minutes in either direction of Brasserie Pip will give you a chance to take in a variety of interesting sculptures. My personal favorite is the moose!

http://brasseriepip.com/

Pictures as follows:
- outdoor seating
- view from porch where we dined
- seasonal fruit caipirinha
- steak tartare

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Brasserie Pip
46 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT 06442

 
 
 
 
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  1. More pics:
    - macaroni gratin
    - duck confit
    - fluke amandine

     
     
     
    1. Last, but not least:
      - duck fat pommes frîtes (don't they even LOOK like something special?!)
      - moose!
      - lady

      More info about the sculptures here:
      http://www.hollycroft.org/

      I don't know if we were just lucky to get a reservation on a holiday night on our first try, but this will definitely NOT be our last visit to Brasserie Pip. It was truly an outstanding and unforgettable meal. Once again, thank you, rbailin!

       
       
       
      1. I've read that the French bistro style food at Brasserie Pip is supposed to be very good. The Copper Beech Inn's restaurant is four-star rated by AAA. On their list of top 100 hotel restaurants in the US!
        I must say the review and pictures are over the top. Great job! I'm jealous of your experience. It sure does give you food for thought about what to try cooking next at home, doesn't it? Potatoes au gratin with squirrel bits?

        1. Glad to know others are discovering this spot _ I first chatted about it 2 years ago....http://tinyurl.com/mx9yxy

          BTW -- The Outdoor Sculpture exhibit is actually a mile long - starts at Ivoryton playhouse and runs on the lawns up into Centerbrook

          When I get a chance this week I will post a few pics since I live in the neighborhood - only if you promise to eat at Pips or Du Glace if you decide to come down to visit.

          Make a day of it at the Playhouse !

          1 Reply
          1. re: few

            Hey, thanks for sharing your writeup! I searched for other reviews so I could add on, but didn't find yours because it was labeled "Bistro PIPS." It's hard to imagine a restaurant this good hasn't been mentioned more.

            I see from your profile you enjoy a caipirinha also--have you tried their seasonal fruit one? I asked if it was made from rhubarb as I made a rhubarb syrup this summer, but our waiter explained it was maybe a flavored rum? In any case, it was quite wonderful (and strong)! I would go broke if I lived down the street from Brasserie Pip. ;)

            And to any other readers, check out the thread below on Bistro du Glace for more info. You can go for lunch or dinner...or just stop in the Patisserie for out-of-this-world pastries. Need another excuse to visit the area besides these restaurants, the pastry shop and the sculptures? Bring a cooler and pick up some fresh pasta at Feast Gourmet Market (across the street from Bistro du Glace)! They also sell fresh ricotta and other cheeses. Don't forget, the killer frîtes are at BRASSERIE PIP. If you go to BISTRO DU GLACE, opt for garlic mashed. ;) Lots of wonderful food to be found--dig in!

            FEAST:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/619704

            BISTRO/PATISSERIE DU GLACE:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/482520

            P.S. to few: We got as far as Ivoryton Playhouse in one direction and the Hollycroft Foundation building (where I thought the exhibit started) on the other--just past the Mazda dealership. Was there more?

          2. Just saw that Tyler Anderson -- the chef at Copper Beech Inn won his night at bat on Chopped - - walked away with $10k - CONGRATS to Tyler !!!

            Mayeb time to go back and see if his success got to his head ? hahahahaha