Cafe Routier 1-860-399-8700 1353 Boston Post Road Westbrook, CT 06498
Cafe Routier, Bistro and Lounge, serving a three paneled menu format; Regional (a different region of the world every 8 weeks), Seasonal (locally sourced seasonal ingredients) and a specialty menu of classic Bistro fare. A 40 seat lounge serving 'small plates' and tapas adjoins the bar area. Ethos is important to us.
Song: Kero One - Check The Blueprints (Instrumental)
Wife took me to CR for my bday a few months back and had an amazing dinner. Started with cocktails; I just had a Peroni...she a mojito-inspired gin/honey/aromatic drink that was great(a speakeasy-in-SOHO-for-$30-would-serve-type-great).
We started with the oysters. Individually. Fried. Full. Crunchy. Tasty. With a light paprika.fused sauce on side that didn't hide the shellfish. Funny..from New Haven to Old Saybrook, these were easily the best oysters we've had on the shoreline since we moved here 12 years ago.
Ordered a cheese sampler plate from local cheese shop and it was outstanding. Little fig spread and some crustini...perfect.
Wife had grilled pork with a tequila/pear/lime glaze that she devoured. I had seared sea scallops over a layer of prosciutto, with marscapone on a bed of risotto. They were the best scallops I've ever had, and the dinner was probably top 5 of all time.
The service we had; from being greated and seated to drink refills to menu knowledge, and just an overall professional and friendly/non-pretentious staff, Cafe Routier knocked it out of the park.
On the way home, we stopped off at a local convenience store to get milk for kids and heard couple behind me in line asking about where to eat. I smiled, turned around and told them, " I've got a great spot for you".
Moules Mariniere (Sweet PEI Mussels, Steamed w/ white wine, shallots, garlic, tomato, saffron (Click)
We'd heard great things about Cafe Routier and finally gave it a try last night for dinner. Instead of eating in the dining room we opted for a table by the bar for a more casual dining experience and for an opportunity to order off the tapas/small plates menu in addition to the regular menu.
The bar area was dimly lit and had an intimate feel. We arrived at 6:30 and got a table right away, the one by the entryway into the main dining room. As it was Saturday, the place was pretty full to begin with but got much busier after we arrived. We placed our orders for Roasted Blue Point Oysters with Bacon Leek Butter and Lemon-Thyme Salt off the regular menu, and got two things off the tapas/small plates menu: the Kobe Slider Trio and the Bulgogi.
The waiter asked if we wanted bread while we waited and I am glad we did because the bread tasted freshly baked and was warm like it had just came out of the oven. It was served with a high quality fruity olive oil. Our oysters arrived shortly after and they were wonderful. I tend to be a raw oyster purist so, truth be told, I was a little concerned that I might be disappointed, but I was not at all. The essence of the oyster was not lost at all, and if anything, the cooking method and combination of ingredients enhanced it.
Then came the Kobe Slider Trio. On the menu the words Bacon and Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions and Jack Cheese, and Foie Gras Mousse caught my eye. It was this dish that helped me decide whether to have dinner at Cafe Routier or another upscale Shoreline restaurant. When the sliders arrived the first was topped with blue cheese and bacon, the second caramelized onions, and the third foie gras mousse. All were excellent. I asked for medium doneness and the meat on all three of the sliders were perfectly bright pink in the center with juice oozing into the bread with each bite. Phenomenal. I loved the variety of flavors.
My boyfriend enjoyed his Bulgogi. I thought it was strange that they'd have this Korean dish here, but they really did it well. It was presented elegantly in a medium-sized white bowl chock full of Korean BBQ beef and stir-fried vegetables mixed into noodles. I had a bite, and it was so good, I had to have another.
For dessert we shared the New Orleans Bread Pudding with a Bourbon Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream. This was a generous serving of buttery and custardy bread pudding swimming in a delicious sweet bourbon sauce that complemented it nicely. A handful of candied pecans surrounded the bread pudding and bourbon sauce love, and on top of all this, a big scoop of very good vanilla ice cream. All the ingredients came together beautifully in this dessert, the candied pecans really bringing it all together. Superb. We were very happy with our first time at Cafe Routier and look forward to a return visit.
Listed in: Shoreline Treasures
I've eaten here five or six times over the last couple of years, most recently last night. Our party of four had drinks, a bottle of wine, appetizers, entrées and dessert, and, honestly, if you're going to come here, you really need to go all out, because everything is excellent.
They run three menus, each presented in its own column of starters and entrées. There a regional menu, a seasonal menu, and a menu of their classics. The seasonal menu changes four times a year, obviously, and the regional menu seems to change a little more often. So whenever I come back, there are standbys that I know will be there and 2/3s of the menu is a complete surprise.
So before you even order everything, you have a menu balanced with risky creativity and tried-and-true excellence. I love that. Some days, I go straight for the stable part of the menu and get the fried oysters, the mussels, or the steak. They've always been incredible.
However, a huge part of the fun is trying some of the incredible new food dreamed up by Jeremy Scott and his staff. The guy is simply inspired. He makes combinations I would never have thought of, and they've always worked. Frankly, I'd expect a couple of dishes here and there that miss the mark, but it's never happened yet.
Last night, three of us picked the onion soup gratinée off the winter menu. It was rich and delicious, served in a crock that kept it hot to the last spoonful. Our fourth member tried an antelope stew--yes, antelope! It was a special that wasn't part of a regional menu. I got a bite of it, and it was a really interesting, hearty, game-style stew.
The regional menu this time around was based on Portofino, an Italian fishing village, and I had a stuffed veal breast from this part of the menu. It was a strip of veal rolled around veal sausage, pine nut, and mushroom stuffing, served with a potato and green bean tart. The tart was a wonderful counterbalance to the rich flavor of veal, stuffing, and herbed jus.
One of my friends had a swordfish dish, also off the Portofino menu, and she raved the whole way through it about the perfect preparation of the fish itself and the Italian-style roasted vegetables on the side.
The seasonal menu often has a variation on seared local Bomster scallops. One of my favorite things to do is to order the scallops and find out what seasonal vegetables and flavors they've worked in this time around.
For dessert, we split profiteroles and turtle cake, and both were well-presented and delicious. The turtle cake was judged to be slightly superior to the profiteroles, but both were rich without being heavy and wonderfully sweet without being cloying. We demolished both.
The service, as always, was impeccable. Food comes out at exactly the right time, all together; our waiter was solicitous without being bothersome; and every request we made was honored quickly and professionally.
When you're there, Portofino may already be gone, but don't be afraid to try something risky with whatever regional and seasonal menus are in play when you go. Routier is a place where I'll try things I don't usually try, and where the worst part of the evening is the tension of deciding between a delicious old favorite and an attractive new creation.
Food Excellent - Decor Very good - Service Excellent - one of the best restaurants in the state. too bad it is so far from the western part of the state. great food, great drinks, wonderful service.
Food Excellent - Decor Excellent - Service Excellent - We sampled A LOT over a few days. We went back to back nights and loved the lounge area and small plates. The fried oysters were so good we got another order. Very New York and we will be back. The hanger steak was delicious. Very good service without being all over us. There five seconds before we needed them.
Food Excellent - Decor Very good - Service Excellent - Our favorite restaurant. Always great food and great service.
Food Excellent - Decor Very good - Service Excellent - I had stumbled across this place once while getting out of I-95 traffic, was so impressed I kept their card on my dash. So easy to find and such a short distance off I-95 I will be back yet again. We had a Caribbean fish stew and a wild boar stew that were wonderful, melt in your mouth, and very different from your run-of-the-mill stuff. The kids loved their grilled chicken, and it was so good we help them finish! They should put a sign on I-95!