Many of us felt a sense of loss when Le Farm closed and Chef Arik Bensimon decided to pursue his other passion and create beautiful wood bowls. His brilliance in the kitchen, combining ingredients and textures as only great chefs can do, would be missed. Quietly and with no fanfare, Chef Arik has re-entered the Fairfield County food scene, at a small café in The Perfect Provenance in Greenwich, where his latest venture again proves his culinary talents in an environment dedicated to luxury and charity. When we spoke to him after the meal we asked him about this intimate space versus some of the larger restaurants he has worked in. He stated that he wanted this size, a place to serve the foods from his past.
The Perfect Provenance is the brainchild of Greenwich resident Lisa Lori, whose personal mission is to ensure every child can smile. All three of her sons were born with a rare condition, one of the prevented them from smiling. Numerous surgeries eventually corrected each and now Lori’s Three Little Bears project donates a percentage of the proceeds from T-shirts and bags to Operation Smile. These products are featured throughout the Perfect Provenance and have raised over $1 million to Operation Smile. The store is a perfect place for luxurious products and cuisine.
On a quiet afternoon, Stephanie Webster of CTbites and I stopped by with a sense of satisfaction that his talents would again be shared with others.
The small café includes a mere dozen seats, it is open for lunch from Tuesday to Saturday and dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings. The menu is very much a dedication to Bensimon’s French culinary heritage, reminiscent of a French bistro with a Tarte Flambé, a changing Tartare, Moules, Quiche Du Jour and a Dijon Roast Chicken. Daily specials are also offered. We ordered a couple of items from Les Entrées & Salades and from Les Sandwiches.
The Lamb Taco included two large grilled tortillas filled with the lamb and lettuce and served with a sauce of avocado and tomatillo. The lamb was firm in texture, similar to pastrami, from its confit preparation. It was rich and when combined with the bright sauce created an excellent balance.
We also ordered the “Tartare du Jour” which was salmon on the day of our visit. The tartare was served on a grilled slice of bread and contained tremendous flavor. The diced salmon was joined with dill, capers and also just a hint of spiciness. It was refreshing and outstanding.
We also enjoyed the Griddled Octopus, which was accompanied on the plate by chorizo and smashed potatoes. The presentation was finished with a dose of smoked paprika. The octopus was perfectly prepared and was al dente in texture and the smoked paprika was a flavorful addition to both the octopus and the potatoes.
The last large plate we shared was the Hamburger, served with house-made potato chips. The thick patty was served slathered in a Béarnaise sauce and encased in a toasted brioche. The grass-fed beef was rich, prepared to our requested medium-rare and was delicious. Then the burger was elevated to one of the best in the area with a heavenly and rich Béarnaise sauce plus the butteriness of the brioche. When we asked Chef Arik about the addition of the Béarnaise he told us that people place Béarnaise on steaks all the time, why not a burger?
To end the meal on a sweet note we ordered a slice of Marie Antoinette Lemon Coconut Cake. The slice was topped with crème and sprinkled with coconut and toasted coconut. It was sweet and slightly decadent with great flavor.
Overall, Chef Arik’s incredible talent is again on display and available for everyone to enjoy. His ability to master tastes, textures, and incredible combinations in perfectly prepared dishes makes him one of the best chefs in the area. People who have enjoyed his cuisine in the past should be thrilled about his return and those who have not should definitely go to The Perfect Provenance and enjoy the cuisine at Café 47.