May 18, 2013
Written by Fran Sikorski
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 10:47
Two years ago, Chef Tim LaBant opened The Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton in a restored 1872 building at a quiet, scenic spot along the Norwalk River. His unique menu features fine dining with a dedication to embracing cuisines from around the world, using locally grown produce.
The Schoolhouse is now listed as one of the top 50 restaurants nationally, a tribute to this talented chef with a passion for food who exchanged a corporate career to become owner of his first restaurant.In the small space allotted for The Schoolhouse kitchen, fresh food is prepared daily with five lunch and dinner entrees ranging in price from $9 to $40. Recent selections have included salad of roasted beets, Millstone’s heirloom beans, goat cheese and truffle oil; ham sandwich with butternut puree and broccoli rabe on 18 grain bread served with parsnip chips; simple Schoolhouse hand-rolled pasta with local vegetables; and seared salmon with sautéed celery root, maitake mushrooms, onions and Tuscan kale.
Dinner signature dishes include Jerusalem artichoke soup and spring onions and entrees that range from roasted pork shoulder on toasted Wave Hill bread with delicata squash, french beans and two fried eggs, to celery root ravioli with ramps, fava beans, and morel mushrooms. Also on the ever-changing dinner menu are aged New York strip steak with roasted peppers and onions, mint, avocado and barley; halibut with artichokes, fennel, haricots verts and trumpet mushrooms; and foie gras torchon, pickled ramps, candied orange relish and homegrown radish.
Sunday brunch, $12 to $23, features sausage gravy with poached eggs and a Schoolhouse biscuit; BBQ pulled pork sandwich with parsnip slaw, hand-cut fries, and salad; and lobster with baby tomatoes, bacon and poached eggs. All menus are samples of what will come out of the kitchen on different days, according to Chef LaBant, who said, “We are a tiny restaurant focused on cooking, creating new menus and spending time at the farm. We don’t have a ton of time to spend updating all of the changes we offer.”
Not easy to resist are desserts: coconut tres leches cake with pineapple sorbet, tropical fruit salsa, and toasted lemon meringue; chocolate soufflé for two with mulled wine sorbet and hot caramel cream; and a selection of sorbets and ice creams, with flavors like green apple, cinnamon toast, and peanut butter; and the chef’s selections of artisanal cheeses with accompaniments.
Choice wines are $11 by a glass; and $30 to $200 by the bottle.
A graduate of Wittenberg and Johnson and Wales Universities, Chef LaBant began his culinary career in Boulder, Col., and further developed his strong skills in French cuisine working with Chef Ming Tsai and as a chef at the four- star and five-diamond L’Espalier Restaurant in Boston. He was also a stagiare in Le Bernadin and Aureole in New York City.
34 Cannon Road
Open for lunch 11:30 to 2 Friday and Saturday; dinner from 5 to 9:30 Wednesday through Saturday; Sunday brunch 10 to 2. Four-course prix fixe dinners ($40) on Thursday evenings. Recess (Happy Hour) 5 to 7 with small plates, all $9.
Reservations requested; handicap accessible; major credit cards; full liquor license; contemporary American and French cuisine; vegetarian choices; gluten-free products available; off-premises catering; small private functions; wine dinners; casual smart dress; seasonal patio dining; parking adjacent to the restaurant.
Brian Bender of Ridgefield, Chef/owner of The Cutting Board Café at 103 Danbury Road in The Marketplace at Copp’s Hill Plaza, is now serving dinner Friday evenings in addition to breakfast and lunch daily and operating a full service catering company. The menu features locally sourced organic produce and hormone-free meats. The restaurant accepts reservations, 203-438-0300, and has a BYOB policy.
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