Fleishers Craft Kitchen (Westport) Opens for Dinner Under Chef Adam Truelove

dsc_0943Saugatuck Craft Butchery was founded in 2011 by Ryan Fibiger and Paul Nessel with the philosophy of combining “traditional butchery skills with sustainable, whole animal practices and modern-day food movement ideals.” It purchases locally raised animals from farmers that share this philosophy, dry-ages the meat in-house and sells directly to the public. Over the last four years, as its popularity increased, it expanded to a new, larger location across the street that would feature both a butchery and a restaurant and earlier this year it merged with Fleishers Butchery, of Brooklyn, to become Fleishers Craft Butchery.

After the successful launch of breakfast and lunch service, Fleishers recently hired Chef Adam Truelove, formerly of Tarry Lodge, Napa & Co. and Pine Social to oversee its culinary expansion. In the last month it both opened its doors at its newest location in Cos Cob and expanded the service in Saugatuck to include dinner to showcase the farm raised meat and poultry from the butchery coupled with Chef Adam’s creativity. With a very low key environment, 30 seats and an additional six stools at the bar, the restaurant will offer a simple menu, as well as Family Dinners, from Tuesday through Saturday from 530-930PM.

The menu is divided into three sections, “Small,” “Burgers” and “From the Butcher.” The small plates range from cheese or meat platters to salads, to meatballs and pigs’ ears. With four choices of burgers, there are a full range of options for guests looking for a twin-thin to a large fatty patty (both beef and lamb are featured), while the entrée sized plates include several cuts from the butchery attached to the restaurant

CTbites was invited to sample a selection of the new cuisine.

dsc_0933The “Apple and Fennel Salad” was one of the best renditions of the currently popular kale salad I have tasted. The kale, slivered apples and fennel were tossed with a house-made bacon vinaigrette, shredded goat cheese and pistachios. The bacon-y vinaigrette was a fantastic complement to the kale with loads of smokiness that created a delightful combination. The apples brought a mild sweetness and the goat cheese a touch of saltiness. The pistachios rounded the salad with a nice earthiness and additional crunch.

dsc_0937The “Lamb Meatballs” were nestled in a swath of smoked ricotta and finished with a spiced red wine reduction and slivered scallions. The Indian influenced meatballs, seasoned with curry and cumin, were complemented by the creaminess of the smoked ricotta. They were soft and moist from the steaming and reheating in the wine reduction, which added a slight bitterness to the dish.

dsc_0930The last small plate was the “Crispy Pig,” which included chicharrones and thinly sliced strips of pig’s ears, which were braised before deep frying. The strips were coated with a spicy Sriracha sauce and parsley, and served with aioli. The chicharrones were crunchy pillows of air while the pork strips were the textural opposite; a chewy, crunchy texture. I was not a fan of this combination (a personal preference) but others at the table loved it.

dsc_0941The “Craft Burger” was included on my 2015 list of Best Burgers in Southwest Connecticut and the current version continues as one of my favorites in the area. The burger begins with a combination of dry-aged beef with a little added fat, dipped in an IPA cheese fondue, and topped with a few greens, bacon jam and an onion ring. The deep flavors of the dry-aged meats were perfectly balanced by the bacon jam and the fondue dip. The burger was encased in a brioche that added buttery goodness. Shoestring fries accompanied the burger and they were crispy on the exterior and soft on the interior

When you are sitting adjacent to one of the best butchery around, it is hard to select which of the entrée to choose, with a double-cut pork chop, a half chicken, steak frites (currently a Rib Eye) and a lamb dish all an option.

dsc_0943The highlight of the visit was the “Rib Eye,” the current cut for the Steak Frites. Since we enjoyed the fries earlier with the burger, Chef Adam paired the chop with brisket burnt ends and beans. After one bite, I knew this was an outstanding steak. The 16-ounce filet was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, with a great sear on the exterior. The deep, ultra-rich flavor was fantastic, fork-tender and reminiscent of a great steak house. The side of brisket burnt ends and beans was a wonderful accompaniment that both mellowed and enhanced the steak.

dsc_0939The “Pork Chop” was an enormous double-cut chop served atop a mound of sausage stuffing and a small side salad. The chop was served medium-rare and pink in the middle (order differently if desired) and glazed with a pomegranate molasses and finished with a dash of Gray rock sea salt. The sausage contained house-made sausage and brioche and offered just a hint of spicy-sweetness. The chop was moist and flavorful and delicious with the sweet pomegranate glaze.

Overall, the initial offerings at Fleisher’s were fun, creative and showcased the top-tiered quality of the butcher shop. Chef Adam informed us after the meal that lamb will be a continual offering to expand the year-round acceptance of this wonderful meat. The prices reflect the restaurant’s ability to offer exceptional quality at relatively reasonable prices. The $32 rib eye steak frites was a great value and the other entrées were priced in the mid-$20s. I look forward to returning to Fleishers to work my way through each of the meats and poultry.

Really Liked

  • Apple and Fennel Salad
  • Craft Burger
  • Rib Eye
  • Pork Chop


  • Lamb Meatballs

Did Not Like

  • Crispy Pig

580 Riverside Ave. – Westport CT 06880




Napa & Company (Stamford) – Enter Chef Adam Truelove

DSC_1292Since opening in 2006, Napa & Co. has received numerous accolades as one of the best restaurants in Connecticut with a creative and inventive menu. Co-Owner Mary Schaeffer told CTbites that her vision from the start has been the “wine country cuisine of Northern California…flavorful, fresh, simply prepared food with its roots based from the European influence of wine growers coming to the area from Spain, France and Italy over the last 100 years.” The restaurant prides itself on “blend(ing) the cultures” of various cuisines. Schaeffer also has a keen eye for culinary talent and last year she hired and handed oversight of the kitchen to Executive Chef Adam Truelove.

Chef Adam earned a degree in Mathematics before following his culinary passion and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. After graduation, he honed his skills at Town and Esca Restaurants before returning to the FCI as a Chef Instructor. He relocated to the Fairfield County area as the opening Sous Chef at Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, the Executive Chef at Pine Social in New Canaan and eleven 14 Kitchen in Greenwich as the Chef du Cuisine. Last year Napa & Co. reached out to Chef Adam and asked him to join its team to oversee the kitchen as Executive Chef.

Over the last year at Napa, Chef Adam has slowly brought new recipes to the menu, added his personal touch to others and retained many of the dishes that regular guests have loved for many years. His vision is to deliver a menu with new twists on traditional cuisine and the dishes reflect a desire to complement rich meats and fish with a sweet and spicy elements.

BL MeatballsA staple on Napa’s menu for many years has been the “Duck & Foie Gras Meatballs.” Chef Adam slightly modified the presentation and the dish is now served with a cinnamon-Port glaze and a smidgen of fig jam. The flavor combination of the foie gras and the duck remains one of my favorites. The textural difference between the exterior and the interior the meatballs was divine. The meatballs were first flash fried and then finished in the oven creating a crispy exterior with soft and fluffy interior. The fatty richness of the foie was perfectly complemented by the fig jam and the concentrated Port glaze added a bold touch of additional sweetness to balance the entire presentation.

BL Crab SaladThe “Crab Salad” included truffle and shaved broccoli and served atop thick slices of cucumber. The crab salad was very mild with two different and delicate components, the sweetness of the crab complemented by the earthy truffle. These light flavors were unfortunately overwhelmed by those of the cucumber, which became the focal point of the presentation. The dish would have been better balanced with more crab salad and a thinner slice of cucumber.

BL Lamb SlidersThe “Lamb Sliders” were served with a honey-yogurt dressing and encased in a brioche bun, accompanied by a quinoa salad. The mini-burgers were delicious with the deep and rich gaminess of the lamb offset by the sweetness of the yogurt dressing. The buttery brioche paired perfectly with the lamb and honey-yogurt. The quinoa salad was dressed with a cumin vinaigrette and finished with grated ricotta salata. The dressing was applied heavily and overwhelmed both the quinoa and ricotta salata and less dressing would better showcase the nuttiness of the quinoa.

BL CodThe two entrées were both delicious. The “Roasted Atlantic Cod” was served with Bacalao whipped potatoes, roasted parsnips, lavender jus and finished with basil oil. This was a wonderful combination and offered two separate introductions of both the cod and the parsnip. The filet of cod was perfectly seasoned and finished to medium rare, allowing the fish to maintain a soft and juicy interior, while the crispy exterior offered a delightful textural difference. The whipped potatoes included two additional ingredients, the Bacalao, which added a little fish background to the potatoes plus parsnip purée that created a touch of sweetness. Chef Adam then scattered diced roasted parsnip on the plate to add an addition layer of sweetness.

BL CassouletThe “Cassoulet” was outstanding and one of the best versions I have ever tasted. This classical French roasted bean dish is traditionally served with roasted meats and Chef Adam’s rendition featured slowly braised duck confit. The duck was fantastic, soft and succulent on the interior with just a touch of crispiness from the roasting process. He added diced house-made wild boar garlic sausage to the beans to create bold accompaniment to the moist and tender duck. The beans were soft with just a slight bite in texture. To add additional texture, the entire dish was topped with panko bread crumbs before it was roasted.

BL Pot au CremeFor dessert we ordered “Chocolate Hazelnut Pot au Crème.” This was served with a piece of grapefruit-hazelnut brittle. The crème was delicious, full of chocolaty goodness and the texture was mildly dense and pleasing to the palate. The brittle was a playful touch to the presentation.

Chef Adam Truelove is slowly placing his mark on the menu at Napa & Co. As he moves into the spring season and includes fresh Connecticut produce I look forward to enjoying many of his additional twists on traditional recipes.

Napa & Company – 75 Broad Street – Stamford, CT 06901 – 203-353-3319


Really Liked

  • Duck & Foie Gras Meatballs
  • Roasted Atlantic Cod
  • Cassoulet
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Pot au Crème


  • Lamb Sliders

Did Not Like

  • Crab Salad

This review was originally posted on http://www.ctbites.com at:


Best Restaurant Burgers in Southwest CT – #8 Napa (Stamford)

Carrying on in the tradition of previous chefs, Bill Taibe and Arik Bensimon, current Chef Adam Truelove still produces one of the best burgers in southwest Connecticut. After only a few weeks at the helm of this renowned kitchen I decided to try the burger that has been one of my favorites for years. As a game changing burger over the years, the Napa Burger is the only entrant on the list that uses 100% American Wagyu beef, was the first to include the onion jam, and then topped with Gruyere, which has become this burger’s trademark.

bl2 NapaExecutive Chef Adam Truelove continues producing the Napa Wagyu Burger which has appeared on this list since its inception. The large, marbled meat was perfectly prepared and then topped with an onion jam, aged Gouda cheese, and pepper mayo, all encased in a brioche roll. The meat was rich and juicy and the onion jam was fantastic. The aged Gouda cheese was perfectly melted and brought a deep nutty flavor to the burger. The fries that accompanied the burger were delicious.

Read the entire list of best Restaurant Hamburgers at http://www.ctbites.com at:


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