The Artisan Restaurant, Tavern & Garden located at the Delamar Southport, a 44-room luxury boutique hotel in Southport, Connecticut features the inspired cuisine of Chef/Partner Frederic Kieffer, where the restaurant's focus is, "New England inspired cuisine influenced by the rhythm of the seasons and farmstead offering. Eat well. Bon Appetit!"
The restaurant's style is understated elegance with its 18th century Scandinavian design in the main dining room, and on the night that we dined at the restaurant in mid-March 2014, a stunning arrangement of stargazer lilies graced an entrance table welcoming diners and adding gracious hospitality and a cheery warmth to the room.
Artisan Restaurant, Tavern & Garden
A stylized floral mural on the back wall of the restaurant drew the eye, and a large artistic copper wire "basket weave" chandelier over a table and its curved banquette in the center of the room added visual interest.
On one wall of the restaurant there are framed vintage mirrors rich with character and a patina that comes with age that reflected the recessed lighting and light from the sconces on the square columns. Shapely dark wood upholstered seat chairs flanked tables dressed with sparkling crystal on pristine ivory linens topped with white paper, with white roses in glass vases, salt and pepper grinders, votive candles added a soft glow to the room, and low music complemented the ambience without being a distraction. On the opposite wall there were multiple windows, a library case arranged with books on Scandinavian design and objet d'art added an intimate dining area in the corner of the room, and framed vintage art graced the walls.
Artisan Restaurant, Tavern & Garden
For guests desiring a more private dining experience, the restaurant has an attractive glassed-in "Copper Room" with a large artistic copper wire "basket weave" chandelier from which the room is named.
Artisan Restaurant has an interesting cocktail menu as well as an excellent wine list to take your palate on a tour around the world, offering a large selection of wines by the glass as well as by the bottle.
In a celebratory mood, we began our evening with LaMarca Prosecco, NV, 11.3% alcohol, from Veneto, Italy made from 100% Glera grapes, which was one of their wines offered by the glass. The prosecco was aromatic with citrus and floral notes on the nose, and on the palate yielded a pleasant, fresh crispness and minerality, with citrus and green apple notes, and was a perfect pairing with our appetizers, homemade salmon gravlax, and grilled shrimp.
The homemade salmon gravlax served with warm fingerling potatoes, horseradish cream, and mixed greens, was gorgeous, consisting of a generous portion of seasoned salmon crowned with small slices of boiled fingerling potatoes, and accompanied by a large quenelle of horseradish cream, and a delightful mélange of greens.
Homemade Salmon Gravlax
Three grilled jumbo shrimp were sprinkled with sesame seeds, anchored on pools of curried yogurt, and arranged around a salad of julienne apple, frisse, and French beans. We especially liked the interplay of the contrasting elements of flavor, the smokiness of the grilled shrimp, the spicy yogurt sauce, and the texture and crisp sweetness of the julienne apple, and the slight bitterness of the frisee.
Grilled Jumbo Shrimp
For one of our entrées, we had the crusted Nantucket fluke that came highly recommended by the knowledgeable Artisan team, that was a celebration of the high quality of New England seafood, and was a highlight of our dining experience. Chef Frederic Kiefer's presentation and pairing of elements showcased his background trained in classical French cuisine. The fluke was dusted with breadcrumbs and presented on a bed of cauliflower-creamed spinach, with a delectable Concord grape reduction. This dish was a definite winner with its flavorful pairing of contrasting ingredients.
Crusted Nantucket Fluke
For our other entrée, we had the all natural Faroe Island salmon crowned with thinly sliced asparagus peels, glazed with a delectable O.B.B. sauce, and presented on a bed of alternating white and green asparagus spears that heralded the spring asparagus season.
Faroe Island Salmon
Artisan Restaurant has a creative dessert menu, and we ended our dining experience on a deliciously sweet note indulging in two of the desserts. We had the rich and sticky, pecan-caramel-ganache tart with citrus butterscotch, paired with Bailey's ice cream on a crushed cookie base that was attractively presented, lightly dusted with cocoa and confectionary sugar, crowned with a paper thin Florentine shaped into a rosette, and paired with ice cream. For lovers of sweets it had enough bells and whistles to satisfy.
We also had the decadently rich rum-espresso chocolate mousse with ganache-langue de chat cookie. The pastry chef presented the mousse in a coffee cup crowned with fresh whipped cream and large dark chocolate freeform ribbons that looked like edible "modern art," set on a large plate with an accompanying cookie. The rum and espresso chocolate made an admirable team and when enhanced with the whipped cream and the dark chocolate garnishes, this dessert literally sang.
Rum-Espresso Chocolate Mousse
We thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Artisan Restaurant, Tavern & Garden, and as we were staying at the Delamar Southport, after our lovely dinner, it was wonderful to be able to take the elevator to our well-appointed guestroom and forget about driving home.
The Artisan Restaurant, Tavern & Garden is a 20-minute drive from Greenwich and New Haven, Connecticut, a 1-hour drive from Hartford, Connecticut and from New York City, and is within a close proximity to the Southport Metro North rail station. The restaurant and the Delamar Southport provide complimentary shuttle service from the Southport rail station.
The restaurant is open for Breakfast from 7:00 am until 10:00 am, for Lunch from 11:30 am until 3:00 pm, for Dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 pm until 10:00 pm, and on Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm until 11:00 pm. The restaurant serves Sunday Brunch from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm.
The Tavern menu is available daily from 3:00 pm until 5:30 pm. In the warmer months, there is also al fresco dining in the attractive garden.
Read the interview and the recipes from Chef Frederic Kiefer in the Chefs' Recipes section and read about the Delamar Southport in the Hotels and Resorts section.
The Artisan Restaurant, Tavern & Garden has a sister restaurant, L'escale Restaurant Bar located at the Delamar Southport's sister hotel, the Delamar Greenwich Harbor in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Artisan Restaurant, Tavern & Garden
(Located at the Delamar Southport)
275 Old Post Road
Southport, Connecticut 06890
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