Tag Archives: seasonal foods

Fresh ingredients + fine food + fellow foodies = A fantastic Friday! Nicholas Roberts Gourmet Bistro, Norwalk, CT

18 Jan

In a very unsuspecting spot in Norwalk  you’ll see an ordinary looking sign inviting you into an ordinary looking place in an ordinary looking strip mall.  But things aren’t so ordinary at Nicholas Roberts Gourmet Bistro, they’re more like extraordinary.  On our most recent visit, we had to wait a bit. But, for good food, we don’t mind, especially when we’re with good company on a double date (which you know we love). Our double date this time was with the lovely Alicia, a fellow stellar food blogger, and Renato Ghio, cameraman, and producer extraordinaire for their company, RmediA, who happily waited with each other while I spent 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot. Yeah, warning: parking is very limited.

Once a table freed up, our waiter seated us.  After seeing us all talking and talking and talking, the waiter swooped over to focus us and get us on track.  Every ounce of my being was begging for the Hangar Steak Frites that I got last time, but I’m proud of myself for choosing something different.  I decided to start off with the Napoleon of Sriracha Tuna Tartar & Avocado, followed that up with the Arugula & Parmesan Salad, and then end with the Coffee Rubbed & Stout Braised Short Ribs of Beef. Kristien started with the–surprise!–Beet & Goat Cheese Terrine, shared the salad with me, then finished off with my beloved Hanger Steak Frites. Renato started with the same (and seemed to enjoy it by how quickly he put it away… hey, I’m not judging, I did the same) and Alica started with the Crawfish Beignets which she said were very delicious, especially with the cajun aioli to give it a kick!

For me, the tuna came out, served nicely, with some avocado sandwiched in between the layers of goodness.  Throw in some tortilla chips on the side for scooping, and I had a great meal starter.  Now, the real trick to this meal was to try new bites of flavors with each chip.  I always got some tuna and avocado on the chip, but I also threw on some of the tangy daikon that was served on the side. Amazing flavor combos.

We were washing our meal down with a lovely bottle of Petite Petit and a reliable Spellbound Cabernet Sauvignon.  Nicholas Roberts is BYOB, so make sure you bring lots of the sweet, sweet nectar of the Gods to get you through all your courses. Another great thing about Nicholas Roberts is their approach to food.  They get their food as locally as possible, and support sustainable and organic farmers.  This is why, I believe, the food tastes fresher and better here.  Getting back to the meal, we had a great salad that was cut deep with the salty and crunchy goodness of fried pancetta.  The pancetta, itself, was worth ordering this salad, but the arugula, parm, and delicate lemon vinaigrette held it all together.

So, let me introduce you to the star of the meal:  Coffee Rubbed & Stout Braised Short Ribs of Beef!  There was a knife right in front of me, but let me tell you, there was no need for that silly thing.  The meat peeled away, so juicy, so delicate, as I gently slide my fork into this fine cut of meat.  Resting on top were roasted tomatoes, while below was a healthy helping of mashed potatoes.  Bringing it all together was a meaty, earthy gravy that kicked in lots of flavor, but wasn’t too overpowering.  The only thing that I wanted more of was a texture contrast because everything was soft or delicate.  Still, I would order this again.

Kristien’s steak was amazing, once again.  As she struggled to finish the meal, our very friendly waiter came by and threatened her:  “You have to finish the fries.  That’s the rule of the house.  We’re famous for our fries.”  He’s definitely right, so I took it upon myself to help my wife complete her goal.  If I need to take one for the team, I’ll take it to the gut.  These fries, these fries, these rosemary seasoned fries that entice you even as you walk in the restaurant.  Oh, it’s a dish you need to try. Renato seemed to thoroughly enjoy his dish, which was the duck special and Alicia loved the Black Pepper Spiced Pecan Crusted Pork Loin with OMG mac & cheese, fried leeks, and brussel sprouts which she said were cooked to perfection.

So, onto dessert! Perhaps because Kristien and I looked pathetic after telling us there was no bread pudding left for dessert, our waiter took some mercy on us and stole one piece from a batch reserved for a private party (shhh, they’ll never know).  I like all kinds of bread pudding, and this was definitely one of those kinds.  This is the kind of bread pudding that is thick and heavy, a brioche I believe.  The consistency reminded me of a nice and fat piece of french toast.  Our meal was over, but we weren’t rushed out.  We all sipped on some of New Canaan’s own Zumbach’s Coffee and dragged out the last minutes of freedom before we hit the cold, snowy, and icy streets of Norwalk.  All this together came out to 4 noms, definitely a great, reliable place you could become a regular at.

And while that fantastic double date night had to come to an end, we’re already planning the next one at Plate (now Cello) in Ridgefield so stay tuned!

No reservations

$5 corkage fee per bottle, but no fee if you buy the bottles from Nicholas Roberts Fine Wine.

Noms:  4
Cost:  $$$
 
Address:  75 Main Street
Norwalk, CT 06851
Phone:  (203) 229-0035
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/NicholasRobertsBistro
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ChefCake
 
 

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