…that is how Martel restaurant in Fairfield is described on its website. The description could not be more accurate. As soon as you walk in you feel transported into another world. A very cozy interior greets you with warm country French decor. Yet as soon as you glance at the menu, you see little hints of other cultures and cuisines. Pork Milanese, Meatloaf, Pork Tenderloin Cubano and Hamburger sit proudly on the menu along with very French dishes like French Onion Soup, Trout Meuniere and Steamed Mussels Poulette.
My friends Elbo, H.A. and I were in the mood for purely French food, so we started with French Onion Soup. Hearty and deeply satisfying soup with ooey-gooey cheese …. Prepared just like it should be. My favorite part was the bread that hides beneath the cheese….crunchy at first bite but as I ate my soup, it soaked in all the onion broth until it almost became one with it.
For our main course we ordered Steak Frite au Poivre, Mussels with Curry Sauce and Grilled Calamari with Balsamic Syrup. The Grilled Calamari was excellent – lightly crunchy on the outside and soft and perfectly cooked on the inside. The light charred flavor was the perfect complement to the flavor of the calamari and tangy balsamic. This was a gorgeous looking and delicate tasting dish. The curry sauce in the mussels was to die for. This dish was served with French fries, but we were craving bread to dip into it. So we just had to ask for some bread as well as a spoon to slurp in all the goodness. I just love steak au poivre. The peppercorn based sauce has the perfectly creamy, and mildly spicy quality that goes so well with steak – don’t you think?
We could not resist dessert as we saw Beignets with Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate Sauce. TO DIE FOR!!!
Funny story: we were all pretty full but still wanted to try these beignets – so we decided to share. Since we all love beignets so much, we wanted to make sure that there is enough on the plate for everyone. We asked how many pieces in this dish. Eight they said, as we all did a quick mental math to make sure that we all are guaranteed at least 2 pieces to start with (and the remaining two would have to be anybody’s game) . As we waited for the dessert to arrive, we shared our experiences at Café du Monde in New Orleans…and how their beignets are so perfect. Beignet cravings growing by the minute! Then in comes the dessert. Eight GIANT beignet balls on a plate, all dressed up in cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce. The sheer size of these beignets had us speechless!!! For a moment, we all thought that just one beignet of that size is all we will be able to take in and there was really no need to secretly concoct a plan to snag the two extra beignets from the others. To our relief, the beignets turned out to be so light, and airy on the inside…. They were not that heavy and filling after all. And they were simply delicious! I have decided that I could eat the entire plate of eight by myself – the next time I am there (that way my brain can take a break from doing mathematics over it).