Connecticut is blessed with tons of gems in the form of farms offering nature’s rich bounty and the many talented chefs who skillfully celebrate those bountiful ingredients in their cooking. I am sure you can imagine how much pleasure it gives me when I tell the world (through my blog) about Connecticut’s rich culinary culture.
One such gem to be celebrated is chef Jeff Lizotte at the very charming restaurant called Present Company in Tariffville CT. I mean, if a chef has spent a couple of years cooking in elite restaurants in France and also worked with the likes of David Bouley and Eric Ripert (two of my idols)… all you HAVE to do is sit back, relax, enjoy and just let him do his thing… right?
For months, I have had a love affair brewing with Present Company on Instagram. They “like” most of my posts and I can’t help doing the same- because the story they tell is one of farm fresh ingredients, artful and irresistible plates, warm and welcoming environment, passionate and community-focused people. So, with each like on Instagram, I strengthened my resolve to make it up to Tariffville very soon. The drive from the heart of Fairfield county is about an hour and half – so it needed some planning.
My honey and I finally made it to Present Company last weekend. Meeting friends for dinner is always a great reason to drive the distance. In this case, great food comes as a THICK layer of icing on the cake! 😉
Wow! Present Company is a fun, happening place on a Saturday night. I had no idea that this many people lived in and around Tariffville! Peppy and catchy music was playing in the background, animated conversations emanating from all directions and yummy food made its way to eager diners. Yes! Let’s get this party started!
The best table in the house was ready and waiting for us. It offered a great vantage point for all the goings-on in the open kitchen. It was mesmerizing to see all the tireless activity by chef Lizotte and his team. While they were all totally focused on the tasks at hand, you could easily see that the don’t miss a chance to have fun as well. Their warm camaraderie overflowed into the dining are in the form of the team attending to guests.
Chef Lizotte mainly sources from local farms but with his French training it was clear that he can’t resist some exceptional ingredients from France. We were lucky enough to enjoy his beautiful preparation of white asparagus with a lovely and delicately sweet Mirin cream sauce. Yum!
Merguez sausage with couscous made a fabulous first impression on me as a starter. It perked up my taste buds and I was ready for more. If you see it on the menu when you go, you MUST order it!
The menu is seasonal so no point in going into too much detail about what we ate. Let me just say that at Present Company, chef Lizotte is serving the type of food he likes to cook and the diners would certainly enjoy eating. This gem with its casual and romantic setting will be a great stop on your next trip up to Hartford county and beyond.
Please note that the restaurant does not have a license for cocktail menu… but it offers a nice selection of beer and wine.
Present Company, Tariffville CT | http://presentcompanyct.com/