May 19, 2013
Written by Fran Sikorski
Wednesday, 26 November 2008 11:02
Chef Lionel Arnal, Roger Martin and Dominique Arrighi, three friends who have been restaurateurs for a long time and have shared business ownership, have opened Bon Appetit Café in Wilton. They bring with them culinary experiences from France, Italy, Germany, South Africa, North Africa, Switzerland and the Caribbean.
The three Frenchmen were previously the owners of Voila! in Fairfield where it took four months to get a weekend reservation.
Roger Martin, who served as maître d’ aboard the Queen Mary, has the distinction of having been born in a Paris restaurant; it was owned by his parents and when his mother went into labor, there was no time to move her elsewhere. He owned two restaurants in Paris before coming to the United States. Both Roger Martin and Dominique Arrighi immigrated to the United States when they married Americans. Lionel Arnal enjoys traveling and wanted to display his culinary skills in the United States. At Bon Appetit, he supports locally grown, organic and free range products.
Both lunch and dinner menus at Bon Appetit Café are generous in selections. With sandwiches served on baguettes and ciabatta bread, house favorites are the Bon Appetit, grilled chicken breast, roasted peppers and Harissa mayonnaise; and the Godfather, prosciutto, coppa, salami, mozzarella, and roasted peppers.
In addition to Salade Niçoise, with white tuna, potatoes, eggs, green beans, and peppers, other salads are goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto served over baby arugula, chicken curry salad, smoked salmon, and Caesar.
Other lunch specialties are Lorraine or vegetable quiche, Croque Monsieur, ham and Swiss cheese with a béchamel sauce on grilled white bread; New York steak au poivre; French burger au poivre; sautéed shrimp in a fresh ginger, vanilla bean, coconut milk and cream sauce; all served with grilled vegetables.
Luncheon traffic has been very good, according to the owners, who have culinary simplicity down to perfection with the dinner menu.
Appetizers include foie gras terrine, mushroom fricasee, mussels marinière, salmon gravlax, and fried brie salad. I enjoyed a beef consommé, perfect on a chilly evening.
Dinner entrees are exciting — citrus scallops, bouillabaisse, frogs legs Provençale, flank steak with shallots, rack of lamb, duck duo (breast and confit), red snapper with fennel. My choice, wild Scottish salmon with raspberry sauce was expertly created.
Croissant pudding with vanilla sauce and ice cream, pear belle Hélène, palette de sorbet, and chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream lead the dessert popularity list, especially with ice cream provided by Mr. Shane. Other desserts are dark and white chocolate mousse, crème brûlée, tiramisu, peach melba, and tarte tatin.
Whatever the season, you’re getting a true French experience at Bon Appetit Café.
Serving lunch 11 to 4 Tuesday to Saturday; dinner starting at 5 till closing; a la carte Sunday brunch 11 to 3; closed Monday.
Reservations suggested; handicap-accessible; major credit cards; BYOB with corkage charge; beer and wine license applied for; French bistro menu; vegetarian selections; take-out; off-premises catering; casual dress; private functions up to 22; seasonal outdoor dining; plenty of free parking.
Soups: $5 to $6.50
Appetizers: $9 to $11.50
Sandwiches: $7 to $9
Salads: $7 to $13
Entrees: $22.50 to $32
Sunday brunch: $7 to $22.50
Dessert: $6.50 to $8.50
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a glass of champagne from 3 to 5 on Nov. 23 will mark the first anniversary of The Opera Café in Bethel. A prix fixe four-course dinner is available for $18.95, plus tax on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The second annual six-course game and wine dinner, featuring venison, elk and wild boar, will take place Nov. 30 at the café, starting at 4:30. The cost is $85 per person. Reservations, 203-748-3900 and pre-payment required...In addition to full breakfast and lunch daily, dinner is now being served Thursday and Friday evenings from 6 to 10 at the Silvermine Market. Entrees range from $17 to $26. Owners Scott Kaluczky and Lou Aloupis transform the dining room into an intimate setting. Reservations, 203-966-4050.
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