June 19, 2013
Written by Fran Sikorski
Thursday, 05 June 2008 21:17
124 Washington Street, South Norwalk, 203-354-4488
Serving dinner 5 to 10 Sunday to Thursday; 5 to 11 Friday and Saturday.
Reservations recommended; handicapped-accessible; major credit cards; full bar; small plates, Mediterranean and French-influenced techniques; vegetarian selections; prix fixe dinners; dietary restrictions honored; no take-out; smart, casual dress; off-premises catering; private functions for up to 70; street and metered lot parking.
Small plate dinner entrees: $6 to $25; Prix fixe dinners: $45 to $54; Wines by the glass: $7 to $18; By the bottle, $24 to $350; Desserts: $5 to $8
Chef David Nevins, fourth generation of the Nevins family to be involved in the food and wine business, and celebrated co-founder of Boston’s Neptune Oyster Restaurant with Chef Todd English, has opened Osetra in South Norwalk (SoNo) with his father, Bruce Nevins, and brothers, Douglas and Jeremy Nevins. Osetra occupies the space previously housing Porterhouse restaurant that closed recently after 10 years in business.In just two months, the family renovated the space to include a décor of earthen-tone walls, with eclectic artwork, and butcher block tables offering a warm and inviting atmosphere to unwind.
A stylish New American bistro, Osetra features tapas-style dining with a emphasis on quality wines and service. The family is originally from Ridgefield, with several family members including Robin Nevins, matriarch of the family, still living there. Chef Nevins credits his mother’s cooking for his inspiration to become a chef, and said he will often use one of her recipes, “tweaking it a bit.”
While in Boston, Chef Nevins established himself as one of the most innovative up and coming chefs in the country, earning recognition in Gourmet, Bon Appetit and Boston Magazine while working with Chef Todd English at Figs and then seven years at Olives, also owned by Chef English.
Bruce Nevins is owner of Grande Harvest Wines in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, co-owner of WineWise in Greenwich and owner-operator of WineLine, LLC, a marketing company for wines and spirits.
Bruce Nevins has created an ambitious wines-by-the-glass program and wine list and Douglas Nevins brings his extensive knowledge to Osetra in both wine and restaurant beverage management. He has selected wines for Boston restaurants Vanalia, Neptune Oyster, and Boston Harbor Hotel.
Osetra sous chef is Caysey Welton, and pastry chef is Chelsea Spielmann.
I was among a group of food writers recently invited to an Osetra food-tasting dinner with matching wines. Passed hors d’oeuvres were currant caviar jam, fried oysters and watermelon toast.
Among the eight small plates served that we were encouraged to share were white asparagus vichyssoise with smoked salmon mousse, salmon “pearls” and chives; flash-grilled Florida marlin with sweet pea crudo, minted yogurt, and pecorino; small pile of fried clams with cornichon relish, and white vinegar mayonnaise; caramel fried lobster with warm cheddar, spring onions and chilies; Columbia River sturgeon, ham hock broth, split peas, kale and pistachio vinaigrette; and grilled beef sirloin with cream oysters, seaweed, cucumber and fried onions. The wines were from France and Spain.
Twenty-two small plates are available every evening and are subject to change. For someone who wants a more traditional dining experience, there are several prix fixe menus offering one of the small plates, a large plate and dessert.
The most unusual dessert served was called Deconstructed Tea with tea, milk and honey layered in a shot glass with chamomile gelée on the top, milk panacotta in the center and wild flower honey at the bottom.
Also served were Meyer lemon tart with lavender-almond ice cream and lavender foam; blueberry-ginger clafoutis, white chocolate ice cream, ginger snaps, and white chocolate-rum sauce; and Russian cookies.
All the small plates demonstrated Chef David Nevins’ verve and imagination, and Chelsea Spielmann’s glorious repertoire of desserts.
There’s a price point for all wallets at Osetra and service is professional.
Cocktails and a light dinner menu are now available in the garden at Le Chateau, Route 35, South Salem, N.Y.; reservations, 914-533-6631, are recommended... Brunch is served every Sunday, starting at noon at Spasi Restaurant, an Italian kitchen at 398 Mill Plain Road, Danbury; 203-744-9115
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