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Like Napa & Co, but not Napa

We've been to Napa and Co in Stamford a couple of times and think it's wonderful, but want to try something new for Valentine's Day dinner on 2/13.

Trying to decide what we want, we've narrowed it down to a New American Napa-ish type menu, rather than, say French or Italian. We're coming from Westchester, so locations that work are Greenwich, Stamford and maybe a little beyond.

Market in Stamford looks good. I looked for reviews here, but really could only find one mention, in which someone said Market is good, but Napa is better. Is that the general consensus?

I'm not really warming up to Rebecca's menu.

Any thoughts or are we not really going to do as well or better than Napa, given what we're looking for?

I've posted in the appropriate board to get Westchester suggestions.

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  1. Harvest Supper in New Canaan or the Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton. Schoolhouse has a nicer ambiance...both are small and both have fabulous food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sibeats

      harvest supper- and this is just my opinion- is so quiet and tiny- no bar, no background music- it lacks atmosphere for valentines- but thats just my opinion. food is fantastic, though

      1. re: missmar79

        I agree completely...but seemed like the OP was going for food above all else, so I threw it into the mix...and the food is fantastic...

    2. Jfood keeps tabs on ~80 restaurans in the area and he would include these in the next tier down:

      Rebecca's - jfood likes, others on the boards do not seem to share his opinion (watch the truffle supplement at >$30)
      Jean Louis - small and romantic
      The others in G'wich that others like that are just too snooty, even for jfood include L'Escale, Valbella, and La Crumy-aire (Banksville)

      Stamford - Of the 20+ restaurants on his list, he cannot get to second tier status. Someone mentioned Jean Pierre, jfood currently has on the gotta try list.

      Darien - Less than Stamford

      New Canaan - Full disclosure, jfood lives here. NC restaurants are noisy.
      -Bistro Bonne Nuit - some would complain of crowded. Food is top notch
      -Harvest Supper - Another Napa trained chef. Small as well
      -Aloi - Tuscan cooking at its finest. Pasta dishes and osso bucco are best around
      -Sole - New chef is really hitting his stride as well
      -Roger Sherman Inn - Jfood has not gone since new chef arrived. hears good things.

      Norwalk -
      -Osetra probably hits the best of list
      -Pasta Nostra - Fantastic pastas but good luck getting in.
      Some may through Match into the fray, jfood is not a fan.

      In Wilton, take a look at Schoolhouse. Amanda will give you a full run down.

      Enjoy V-Day

      9 Replies
      1. re: jfood

        Well, I WAS going to mention Schoolhouse...but got the following email yesterday, so doesn't exactly fit into the Saturday night criteria - try for Friday, perhaps?:

        As an update to our Valentines weekend availability, we currently have dinner reservations available Sunday, February 14 at 4:00PM and dinner on Friday, February 12. We do have a waiting list for Saturday and Sunday night dinner.

        1. re: jfood

          Re "Someone mentioned Jean Pierre, jfood currently has on the gotta try list."

          Don't bother, IMO. It is not in the same class (in terms of food quality or ambiance) as the other restaurants on your list.

          I think Napa is quite good, I just wish they'd ease up on the salt sometimes. Market is cut below, IMO.

          Thomas Henkelmann in Greenwich used to be our "special event" dinner place, but it seems to have gone down in quality in the last few years.

          I second Bistro Bonne Nuit, great place. Only been to Harvest Supper once, it was excellent.

          1. re: jfood

            nice list although it should be noted that aloi is piedmontese not tuscan. as far as valbella goes, snooty or not it just isn't very good and aren't they closed from a fire anyway?

            1. re: poppy

              interesting on the piedmont comment. need to give that a little thought...thx

              Wrt Valbella, fire or not, jfood would not recommend and has turned down dinners for the reason you gave. was not worth the calories

              1. re: jfood

                i believe margherita is from piedmont.

                1. re: poppy

                  Correct and worked ~10 years with Pino Luongo, a Tuscan influenced chef.

                  In any event, she can cook with the best of them.

                  1. re: jfood

                    yes, i will second that. and not to swell your head but because of what you've previously said about her i've now been there 4 times.

                    1. re: poppy

                      Not at all...jfood is glad you liked.

                      Have you had the pleasure of meeting her osso bucco? :-))

                      1. re: jfood

                        a most delightful encounter...

          2. jfood has a good list.

            We went to Market once, and weren't impressed with the food or the service given the price point. Haven't gone back since.

            1. Market didnt blow me away food wise, It has a nice bar and good atmosphere, though. What about Ferrante or Aria in Stamford. Also I love Valbella's or Polpo in Greenwich for a "special" feel. None are Napa-like though.

              8 Replies
              1. re: missmar79

                I thought Ferrante was "ho-hum".

                Aria I like a lot. My wife and I take our two (well behaved) daughters there. The food is, in general, excellent. Fantastic gnocchi.

                I also like Emme of Capri, which is in that area. Much smaller, tighter confines, but good food.

                1. re: Tartuffo

                  Market is definitely not of that caliber. Pricewise yes, quality no. Nor is Chez Jean Pierre. Have always heard great things about Schoolhouse. Used to go to The Homestead a lot and always had great food and service but honestly it's been a few years. I have a personal dislike for Aria and Emme of Capri also. Considering the economic climate both owners could be a little less arrogant, but that's just me.
                  Also- I hate to put a damper on the evening but Valentine's Day like New Year's Eve is such a rip-off in the restaurant business. I know this from experience behind the scenes. But if you must- I think your options are better in New Canaan and Greenwich.

                  1. re: lillydaisy

                    Couldn't agree more. The food" epiphonies" that Marcia craves are rarely experienced on Valentines Day. At least not in a restaurant. It's also getting late in the game to get a table anywhere. As someone said, Friday the 12th might be the smart play.

                    Also agree that the owners of Aria and Emme have big egos, but nonethess serve some of the best Italian in town. I go to Aria in spite of Stephan -- their Burrata app is silk and cream. While their gnocchi is sublime, not as etherial as Napa, nor well sauced as Columbus Park.

                    And tho Pierre Louis is a nice intimate parisian spot, no fireworks. Nor will you find spills and thrills at Ferrante.

                    Marcia, you may want to give Chef Peter Kelly another chance to win your heart.

                    1. re: louuuuu

                      I'm curious on the ego comment for Emme of Capri. My husband and I go frequently and have sent many of our friends as well, and we all have had nothing but positive interactions with Massimo, who seems to go out of his way to provide the best meal he can. I also find his prices to be reasonable for the food quality he provides.

                      What was your experience that caused the big ego impression?

                      1. re: gillyweed

                        luca and massimo both eminated from maria's in norwalk and each went on to open their own locale. luca's food is better but his prices are too high and what he charges on his wine list is flat out unjust. massimo is a big fellow with a big personality and i like him. i find his prices fair but his food and wine quality not to the standard he kept when he was at maria's.
                        when restauranteurs simply hand their winelist over to a salesperson to put together all they're going to wind up with is whatever the salesman's supervisor told him to sell. its why there is such competition among the salespeople to convince the restaurant to let them manage the list.

                        1. re: gillyweed

                          The only time I've been there, found his "big personality" while gracious and attentive, a bit too much. Especially in a small space. I appreciated his pride in his menu and place, but felt he just had a very high opinion of himself. Yes, the pasta was superb. While the price points for dinner are fine (in early twenties) for lunch high.

                          Emme may be one of the top Italians in town, but I prefer Columbus Park and Aria. Maybe also because Emme doesn't have a hard liquor licence, I feel deprived of my preprandial cocktail!

                          Emme took over from a very ho hum luncheon spot, so appreciate the quantum jump in appearance and cuisine, especially in the epicenter of Stamfords restaurant scene..

                          But back to the original post, I don't feel any of Stamford's Italians are what Maricia is looking for. They aren't "Napa and Co" but not Napa.

                          1. re: louuuuu

                            btw, in checking the NY board to see how they're getting along without Ct,, see this same thread from Marcia has received 0 replies.

                  2. re: missmar79

                    I was initially interested in Market when it first opened, but it's really disappointing me these days. I absolutely LOVE Napa...and Rebecca's is really truly an amazing experience, and she herself is divine. Grace Lamb is also warm and gracious at Harvest Supper, and I recently had a terrific meal there. Homestead has been consistent I think over the past 10 years, but is definitely a more traditional, buttoned up formal dining experience. Has anyone been to Splash recently?

                    Bistro Bonne Nuit in New Canaan has lovely food, and a quaint and quiet atmosphere...

                    It really depends on what kind of food you want, atmosphere (romance? sound levels?), and price point.


                  3. 2 other very different options. You could go for Sunday Brunch at the Hyatt in Greenwich. Expensive but a great buffet brunch. Since your in Westchester you could also look into X2O in Yonkers