As a foodie, I get to try many different eateries in and around fairfield county. As expected – some are good, some average and some not even worth talking about. But every once in a while, I come across a place that makes me do a double-take…. just when I least expected it.
Char Restaurant, in Greenwich, did that to me last night! I had been hearing some buzz about this place, and they made quite an impression on the food-scene at the Greenwich Food+Wine Festival last weekend. So my friend “Elbo” and I decided to give it a try.
Char is located at the border of Greenwich and Port Chester, with a somewhat unassuming exterior. The interior, however, is quite a different story. A warm and inviting space, anchored with a fireplace at the center of the room, with a decor that played a beautiful dance of textures, tones and lighting. In addition, the happy smiling faces of the owner and staff made for a wonderful first impression!
The lasting impression, however, was created by the food at Char. With superb mastery of textures and flavors, each plate that chef David Snyder created – just blew us away. Well executed, well balanced…. well done!!!
I am almost ashamed to put up these pictures of the food we ate…. it tasted so much better than it looks from my camera lens. Like the CHAR grilled octopus with its unbelievably tender meat. I asked the chef his secret for getting the octopus meat to be that tender … he said guests have to come and order that dish at least thrice before he will share his secret. (Mental note: set up two more reservations at Char. Pronto!).
The seared scallops with sweet corn, shitake mushrooms and truffle crema was so well balanced. I loved how the aromatic and creamy truffle crema gently coated my palate with a hint of spiciness. The sweet scallops were perfectly seared and ever so moist and juicy on the inside. The corn added a great textural component with a hint of sweetness as well. Winner!
The lamb cannelloni was one of the most interesting dishes I have had in a long time. It really opened up my imagination to a whole new world of possibilities. Keep an open mind when you try this dish… because it tastes so unique. If you are a lamb lover – you will love this.
The maple braised pork belly just blew me away. With the sweetness of maple and a hint of sourness from vinegar, the dish took on an incredible asian flair. The pork belly itself was a total melt-in-your-mouth consistency. The most brilliant part of that dish, to me, was the crispy apple and fennel slaw. It was amazing how the crunchy texture of the apple balanced the buttery smoothness of the pork belly, and its crisp tart notes made for a great flavor contrast to the richness of the dish as well.
For dessert, we could not resist the white and milk chocolate beignets, coated with spiced sugar and served with tres leches milk shake. I mean, who would have thunk?!!!! The beignets all looked alike, but as you bite into them, the white or milk chocolate just oozed out. How divine!
The chef sent out a very special dessert for us…. a french toast style bread pudding with maple caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream. It was to die for. Decadent and yet delicate composition – all at the same time. It was sweetened perfectly, and didn’t feel heavy on the palate. I LOVED how the french toast slices had such a subtle crispy crunch on the outside. While inside it was so moist. Perfect execution.
Chef Snyder really knows what he is doing! His mastery will be evident from the first bite you put in your mouth. If you haven’t already been to char – do it now!!!
Char Restaurant, Greenwich | www.charct.com