Tavern 489 (Stamford) Serving Some Solid Dishes

ctb_489_octopusThe newest addition to the Springdale-Glenbrook neighborhood is Tavern 489, located at 489 Glenbrook Avenue. A stone’s throw from the Glenbrook train stop, the restaurant sits in the space that originally housed the Moosehead Bar decades ago (thank you “Hey Stamford”) and shares the building with the newly relocated and reopened Tawa (reviewed here). The restaurant is the brainchild of owners Eric Monte and Partner/ Executive Chef Regis Saget. Stamford residents also know Monte as the the owner of The Fez downtown, which brought Moroccan cuisine to center stage.

Chef Regis is no stranger to various international cuisines and the Fairfield County culinary world. He spent his childhood in southwest France before receiving joint degrees from culinary school in Morlaas, France as a chef and pastry chef. Before settling in Greenwich in 2000 he worked in various regions including Spain, England, Andorra, Switzerland, South Africa and the East. He settled in Fairfield Count and worked at La Colline Verte and St. Tropez in Fairfield and opened Savvy Restaurant in New Canaan, which earned the highest “Excellent” rating from the New York Times in July 2006.

The fully redesigned interior of Tavern 489  is reminiscent of an Adirondack mountain lodge complete with exposed M-Trusses, a canoe dangling from the ceiling, a full front-to-back 18-seat wooden bar along the right wall, additional wooden high-top tables and chairs plus a large wooden “picnic” table for larger groups, all drawing focus to the imposing floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the rear. The walls are adorned with photos of Ernest Hemingway. When I asked Monte about these photos, he told me that Hemingway, in addition to being a great writer, was the ultimate outdoorsman, a true man’s man, and his photos fit the rustic, outdoorsy feel he was striving to achieve. In addition to the rustic décor, Tavern 489 offers live music six days a week.

The current menu is very eclectic, reflecting the various regions from Chef Regis’s background. CTbites was recently invited to a dinner at Tavern 489 where Chef Regis prepared items that both appear on the current menu as well as several specials that oftentimes appear on the menu. They each showed a focus on bold flavors that emphasized the inherent flavor of each ingredient, while balancing and complementing the combinations. (Since this was a sponsored event the photos may not reflect the regular portion size.)

We enjoyed three appetizers.

ctb_489_tomato_soupThe first was a Cold Tomato soup. The chunky texture was “gazpacho style” and accentuated the sweetness of tomatoes, offset with just a touch of pungency from some onions and a touch of vinegar. This rendition was delightfully refreshing.

ctb_489_venison_meatballsI also enjoyed the Venison Meatballs. They were served in a “bone-canoe” and were firm in texture while maintaining a moist interior. The venison absorbed a good amount of smokiness and were complemented by a thin glaze of a red wine green peppercorn sauce. The meatballs were served with simple fingerling potatoes that complemented the venison with a little earthiness.

ctb_489_fried_oysters_singleThe third appetizer was the Taunton bay fried oysters. They were coated in a thick seasoned corn meal and deep fried to a golden brown. They were paired with a lemon tamarind tomato curry sauce to bring a little sweetness to the dish. The crust was a little tick, detracting a bit from the sweet oysters.

ctb_489_bison_burgerThe next course was a trio of hamburgers, two beef and the third was bison. The bison was served with lettuce, tomato, shallots, melted Burrata. The bison was rich and expertly prepared to medium-rare. The shallots were a good addition but I was not as fond of the inclusion of the Burrata.

The seasoned hunter angus beef burger was served with lettuce, tomato, and a truffle pesto The medium-rare patty was medium in flavor and I really liked how the earthiness of the truffle pesto complemented the meat.

ctb_489_blackened_angus_burgerThe last burger was the Blackened angus burger, served with lettuce, tomato, and topped with melted Bleu cheese. Similar to the pesto, the Bleu cheese elevated the mildness of the meat.  All of the burgers were served with home-made fries that were very good.

ctb_489_octopusThe burgers were followed by my favorite dish of the evening, the Charred octopus, served in a mélange of kidney beans, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, parsley and pomegranate chimichurri dressing. The slow cooked octopus sections were soft and moist, some of the most tender octopus I have ever eaten. It was combined with the other ingredients to create a vibrant array of bold flavors. The roasted tomatoes exploded with sweetness and the al dente prepared kidney beans offered a wonderful textural contrast. The entire profile was elevated by the pomegranate chimichurri sauce. This was my favorite dish of the evening.

ctb_489_tomohawk_steakThe table next shared the Tomahawk Steak, which the menu describes as 36 ounces. The wood platter was covered with the pre-sliced steak was accompanied with bowls of red potatoes, mixed greens, and broccoli rabe, a few grilled shallots, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and three sauces, a porcini, a green pepper and a poutine. The meat was served rare and was simply and properly seasoned. It was very tender and slightly juicy, but did have a fair amount of fat. The sauces were excellent and increased the profile of the steak. My favorite of the sauces was the poutine which added a wonderful level of earthiness to the steak.  The potatoes and broccoli rabe were simply prepared and delicious, but the asparagus were a little salty from the prosciutto.

ctb_489_chocolate_mousse

To finish the meal, we enjoyed a platter of chocolate mousse. This was ultra-creamy, light in texture and delivered a medium level of chocolate goodness.

Overall, Tavern 489 is a solid neighborhood spot that is also a good choice as a go-to restaurant for people looking for a menu with eclectic choice that deliver bold flavors in a relaxed environment. With a varied selection of beer and wines, there are also numerous beverage options to satisfy everyone.

Really Liked

  • Charred Octopus $14
  • Hunter Angus Burger $13
  • Blackened Angus Burger $12
  • Chocolate Mousse

Liked

  • Venison Balls
  • Cold Tomato Soup
  • Taunton Fried Oysters $12
  • Bison Burger $13
  • Dirty Tomahawk Steak $MP

 

 

Mama’s Boy – Southern Hospitality in South Norwalk


After several visits to Mama’s Boy Southern Table and Refuge in SONO I can highly recommend this restaurant for its food and ambiance.  Fairfield County native and owner Greer Fredericks, and her business partner Ami Dorel, bring a southern feel to the décor, and Chef Scott Ostrander is making his mark on the menu with some great dishes.

The “BBQ Pulled Pork” contained great texture and flavors that were accented with a touch of spiciness from the jalapeño corn pancakes. The Mama’s Bourbon Q sauce added a deep rich element to the dish.

The “Charleston Crab Cakes” were served alongside a medley of tomato, corn, butterbeans, and lemon herb aioli. The cylinder-shaped cakes were full of crab and the accompanying vegetables were a perfect complement for sweetness and texture.

DSC_1551-001The menu also offers “Deviled Eggs” with house-smoked Tasso, and okra pickles. The Tasso added smokiness to the creamy yolks, and the major difference between Mama’s and others is the pickled okra. Combining a piece of okra with the deviled eggs was like no other Deviled Egg I have ever tasted. The “Salt ‘n Vinegar Fried Oysters” were fried perfectly and were delicious with the addition of the vinegar.

The Soup & Salad contains two great options. The “BLT Salad” was delicious, but not a reduced calorie recipe. It included fried green tomato, candied bacon, artisan lettuce, and topped with a buttermilk-herb dressing. The combination of the sweet and peppery bacon, the crispy fried green tomato (a thicker slice would have been preferred) and the sweet field lettuces created a delicious salad.

The “Shrimp and Grits” is becoming their signature dish and it just kept getting better. On my latest visit the appetizer-sized dish contained three U-21 southern white shrimp, sitting atop Fall’s Mill grits, topped with house-smoked Tasso, spring onion, and finished with pimento cream gravy. The shrimp are sweet and the grits were fantastic; the texture was creamy with a little crunch.

True to southern cuisine, Mama’s offers its version of the traditional chicken ‘n waffles. “The Little Yardbird” includes pieces of hens that were first marinated in pickle juice and hot sauce and then deep fried. The result was an incredibly moist meat with flavor and texture from the crispy coating. Paired with the waffles, bourbon infused NY sorghum (I prefer a sweeter, more maple-y sauce) and braised greens.

SONO now has catfish on the menu. Mama’s Boy serves its “Corn Bread Crusted Catfish” with Carolina Anson Mills rice, okra, Vidalia onion and smoked tomato.  The filet was moist on the interior and crispy on the exterior while the corn bread coating gave a sweet component to the fish. The sauce was delicious and contained dices of both okra and additional tomato; the rice was a soft textural complement to the dish. I added a few drops of hot sauce to give the dish a little kick.

The “Mushroom and Dumplings” is actually “potato gnocchi, exotic mushroom blend, herbs, and a sunny side farm egg.” The potato gnocchi were sautéed to achieve a crispy exterior and then combined with Mitaki, Oyster and Cremini mushrooms. Sitting atop was a fried egg, awaiting the release of its creamy yolk, which added a great flavor and creaminess when released. The seasoning was slightly off on the dish I sampled with the gnocchi under-seasoned, a little too much vinegar in the mushrooms and a little too much salt sprinkled on top. This is definitely a re-try for my next visit.

And save room for one of the best desserts, Mama’s Boy’s Pecan Cheese Cake. A creamy wedge of moist cheesecake was accented with a sweet topping of maple and pecans. This was a perfect way to end the evening.

DSC_1376-001Overall Mama’s Boy Southern Table and Refuge is an excellent choice in SONO. The food is creative, inventive and offers a new cuisine to the area and the atmosphere is relaxed, fun and very southern.

Mama’s Boy Southern Table & Refuge

19 North Water Street – South Norwalk, CT – (203) 956-7171

Really Liked:

  • BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Charleston Crab Cakes
  • BLT Salad
  • Shrimp & Grits
  • Little Yardbird
  • Pecan Cheesecake

Liked:

  • Salt ‘n Vinegar Fried Oysters
  • She Crab Soup
  • Corn Bread Crusted Catfish

Needs a revisit:

  • Mushroom and Dumplings
  • John’s Island Frogtown Stew

A more detailed review appeared in http://www.ctbites.com at

http://www.ctbites.com/home/2013/6/23/mamas-boy-southern-table-refuge-southern-in-sono.html

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