Al Fresco Dining At Its Best

With spring in full bloom and summer just around the corner, we are all eager to spend as much time outdoors as we can.  I, for one, am constantly looking for things to do outdoors.  I find myself “inventing” errands that will require me to leave the house and make the most of the sunny warm weather outside.

Forget the errands!   Why not eat a fabulous meal outdoors?   Great idea, right?  But where do you go?

Blue Lemon, in the heart of Westport, offers a wonderful al fresco dining option.  They have this charming, magical outdoor patio.  Hidden from the street, it is almost like a “well kept secret”.  It is the most perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors as well as a fabulous meal prepared by Chef Bryan Malcarney.

Chef Malcarney is a master at making his food look spectacular and taste even better!  With vibrant colors and picture perfect presentations on each plate his flavors are clean and each ingredient seems to be thoughtfully chosen to complete the wonderful composition of textures and flavors on each plate.

This afternoon I attended a cooking demo and lunch event at Blue Lemon. It was brought to us by the wonderful ladies at CTBites.  They really do think up the most amazing culinary adventures and I never seem to get enough of it.  :-)

We started our meal with this really refreshing and surprisingly delicious golden beet gazpacho.  Are you ready for this?  It had golden beets, cucumbers, celery, tarragon vinegar, garlic and olive oil. What an interesting combination of ingredients and what a surprisingly delicious result.  It is a perfect summer soup.  Chef Malcarney garnished it with red beet juice, and made a beautiful pattern in each bowl.  He even came to each table and demonstrated how he created that pattern.  How clever! 

Chef Malcarney demonstrated his award winning (ie: Connecticut Magazine Award for the Best Dish) grilled baby squid recipe.  But first he showed us how to clean and prep the squid.  It was such a complex task, that I left there feeling a whole new appreciation for this ingredient on restaurant menus.

The baby squid was served over an arugula and endive salad with blue cheese, celeriac, caramelized walnuts and cider vinaigrette.  It was so soft and tender with the perfect char on the outside to enhance its flavor.  The tiniest detail, down to the caramelized walnuts, was perfect and integral to the flavor profile of this dish.

And now for the drum roll please!   For dessert we had caramelized bananas with a homemade caramel sauce and a homemade vanilla ice cream.  You should have been there to hear the synchronized “Mmm…” echoed all across the patio.   Everyone LOVED it!  The bananas were ever so tender and they had a wonderful crisp from the brûléed sugar on the top to add a subtle and delectable crunch.  The caramel sauce was to die for with a deep and rich flavor.  That and the ice cream were the perfect complement to the bananas.

What a great day!  Great setting!  And a great meal!Blue Lemon Restaurant in Westport

Blue Lemon Restaurant | 15 Myrtle Ave, Westport | 203.226.2647

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