Food Lover’s Guide to Good Eats



New faces, new openings, new looks—here’s what’s happening


A Perfect Addition
Café 47
47 Arch Street, 203-900-1131;
Chic shop-and-nosh spot Perfect Provenance and its Café 47 have welcomed a new executive chef, Duane Shand. Chef Duane, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu and has cooked at top restaurants around the world, is originally from Trinidad—“a melting pot of cultures,” he says. His global influence turns up in creative ways on the evolving dinner menus: a starter of coconut rice cake with smoked trout caviar, for instance, and an entrée of pork with cherries, chilies and sorrel in a Chinese barbecue sauce (outstanding). For lunch, favorite staples such as the Perfect Burger, Pasta Bolognese and Perfect Chicken Sandwich will remain on the menu along with the freshest seasonal dishes like a strawberry gazpacho with a chimichurri and a corn, shrimp, tomato and watermelon salad. To-die-for ice cream sandwiches (made with gooey homemade cookies) are also on the dessert list as are more savory options like a warm fig and goat cheese tart with vanilla ice cream, rosemary and honey. As delicious as the food is here, the selection of home goods, art and clothing tempts you to take a mid-course breather and browse.

Executive Decision
Mill Street Bar & Table
230 Mill Street, 203-813-3323;
Back 40 Kitchen
107 Greenwich Avenue, 203-992-1800;
Earlier this year, Chef Ian Vest was named executive chef of Back 40 Farm Group, and he’s now overseeing Mill Street Bar & Table and Back 40 Kitchen. A CIA grad, Chef Ian honed his skills under Daniel Boulud in New York, working first at three-Michelin-starred Daniel and then as executive chef at DBGB. He’s continuing the restaurant’s focus on seasonal ingredients, many sourced from the Back 40 organic farm in Washington, Connecticut, while putting his own imprint on the food with exceptional homemade pastas (try the bucatini with peas and egg yolk and rigatoni Bolognese) and loads of fresh seafood and pasture-raised meats.

Chef Ian and his team will host a special Harvest Dinner on Tuesday, October 23 at Back 40. “The idea is to celebrate the current bounty coming from our farm,” he says. There will be two seatings, one earlier three-course family-style meal that’s more casual and then a four-course plated dinner. Both Mill Street and Back 40 cater to those who have special food requirements or allergies and the chefs will happily prepare custom, off-the-menu meals for those who request it. At Mill Street, the patio stays open through the fall and it’s a fun spot for after-dinner drinks and s’mores.


Spreading the Love
The Spread
18 West Putnam Avenue, 203-900-1887;
People may think of The Spread as a hangout for night owls, but the new brunch is drawing a daytime crowd, too. Before you order your hair-of-the-dog, you may want to request one of the divine cinnamon rolls; the pastry chef bakes only fifteen of them every Sunday, so they’re a sought-after item. Other worthy options include an Alaskan Benny (smoked salmon meets eggs benedict), a brioche French toast with local strawberries and a beef tongue sandwich with truffle, fried egg and garlic aioli. Also check out the build-your-own-bloody Mary bar and bottomless mimosas (for $18).


A Very Familiar Face
1114 East Putnam Avenue, 203-698-6999;
Tony Capasso is in the house, the JHouse that is. The popular maître d’ and trivia master who has taken care of guests at Greenwich hot spots for years (not to mention a cameo on Billions) now has his own restaurant within the JHouse. “It’s an experience I’ve been waiting my whole life to have,” says Tony of being a restaurant co-owner. At the new Tony’s, he plans to bring “added wow factor to a beautiful place” with a top-shelf menu and strong wine list. He’s hired a young, talented chef, Dennis Radovich, to take things to the next level. He’ll continue his trivia gig, making it a restaurant that’s comfortable and fun. “We’re in the dining business, but we’re also in the entertainment business,” he says, noting that most people tend to stay after dinner and make a night of it, enjoying live bands and some dancing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Expect to see some minor renovations and tweaks to the place followed by a grand opening party this fall.


Lighten Up!
35 Church Street, 203-622-4223;
Gabriele’s is getting a makeover, lightening up from its Italian steakhouse days and morphing into Gabriele’s of Greenwich. » “We’re not changing the quality or the sophistication but it’s going to be a place where you go not only for special occasions, but also somewhere you’ll visit with your girlfriends after a movie for light bites and drinks,” says Peter Barhydt, who’s handling the P.R. for the new restaurant. The second-floor ballroom is being renovated to make it lighter and brighter, with more windows. Downstairs, the artwork will be lightening up, too. And expect some décor changes in the bar area. What’s on the new menu? Excellent steaks will still be served for those who want them, but the chef is also creating some lighter fish and pasta dishes.


The Next Colony
Colony Grill
35 Abendroth Avenue, Port Chester, New York 914-934-2428;
Fans of Colony Grill’s superthin-crust pizza can indulge their cravings at the new Port Chester location. Though the huge brick building—with double-height ceilings and giant windows overlooking the river—has a historic feel, it’s actually a brand new space with lots of comfortable booths, views of the boats outside and outdoor seating, plus a large bar with four big TVs. The simple menu is painted in black and white on the massive brick walls; near the entry, there’s a Wall of Heroes with photos of first responders. The twelve-inch pizzas are true to Colony tradition (perfected over eighty years in the business), with the crispy thin crust and simple toppings ranging from cheese to salad to breakfast (yes, you can get bacon or sausage, egg and cheese on your pie). But Colony fans know that the ultimate indulgence here is the original hot-oil bar pie topped with hot peppers.


Molto Bene!
Il Pastaficio
213 East Putnam Avenue, Cos Cob
Another Italian import is moving into Cos Cob, as Federico Perandin will soon be opening an artisanal pasta and gourmet shop in the Mill Pond Shopping Center. The market, called Il Pastaficio, will sell homemade pastas and sauces as well as a range of dried pastas (some gluten free). Try the spinach ravioli, lasagna, bicolored tonnarelli and other prepared dishes that will make it easy to put a home-cooked dinner on the table.


Get the Scoop
Gelato & Cioccolato
232 East Putnam Avenue, Cos Cob, 917-251-7821;
Gelato lovers are in luck: There’s an authentic new gelateria in town. The gelato “of the Dolomites” offered at Gelato & Cioccolato is the real deal, made fresh every morning and super creamy. The fruit flavors and rich, dairy-free dark chocolate have developed a cult following. New flavors are introduced each week, but classics like hazelnut, pistachio, mint and stracciatella are always available. For parties, you can book the gelato cart, which is staffed by two servers who will scoop up a choice of seven flavors for your guests; or pick up a party pack to treat guests DIY-style at a smaller gathering.


Modern Comfort
Bedford Hall Craft Kitchen & Bar
135 Bedford Street, Stamford, 203-973-7888;
A newcomer to Stamford, Bedford Hall Craft Kitchen & Bar serves comfort food in a modern-industrial space. With a fireplace, upholstered chairs and plenty of banquette seating, it’s cozy for cooler months. The menu features hearty dishes like pulled pork nachos and short- rib tacos, plus splurge-worthy snacks: think bacon popcorn and warm pretzel with smoked gouda fondue. But there’s also a range of salads and wraps for those seeking lighter options.



Authentic tastes that will transport you to far off locales


Mediterranean Master
253 Greenwich Avenue, 203-869-7622;
Chef Rui Correia, who’s from the Douro region of Portugal, opened this lively Mediterranean restaurant Douro nine years ago. His menu features a fusion of cuisines, from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Israel. The results are something you won’t taste elsewhere, and soon you’ll sample them at a one-of-a-kind location. The Douro team has been working on the restoration of the 100-year-old historic space at 253 Greenwich Avenue (former home to Morello Bistro). It’s a prime example of the work of the original engineer and builder, Guastavino, who completed Grand Central Station, Ellis Island and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The new Douro will open this fall.

Codfish and potato fritters, piri-naise sandwich, piri-piri chicken, Valencia or Marisco paelhas, frango chicken, bitoque (creative take on steak and eggs). Piri is a Portuguese hot sauce made from vinegar, spices and a roasted hot red pepper that’s used both on its own and blended with mayonnaise.


The Old Country
10 North Water Street, Byram 203-531-6887;
If you’re craving Greek food with traditional roots but a modern edge, Famous Greek Kitchen—a Byram favorite for more than three decades—is the place. Chef Stavros’s innovative dishes made with locally sourced, organic produce make this destination our Greek go-to. Think classics like moussaka, souvlaki and spanakopita alongside plates with a twist, like warm honeyed feta, risotto-stuffed peppers and salmon wrapped in phyllo. Choice ingredients add to the flavors, such as the highest quality feta imported from Greece (taste it in the salads and dips like the tangy tyrokafteri) and steaks, chops and burgers procured from La Frieda Meats.

Seasonal specials include the lush tomato and fig salad and the slow-roasted lamb shank with jasmine rice and crumbled feta. Try the signature dishes: chargrilled octopus, Five Shades of Green salad and rack of lamb.

FGK’s heated patio will remain open into the fall for outdoor dining. Wine-pairing dinners are in the works. Check the website for dates and tickets.


Passage to India
India Avenue
249 Railroad Avenue, 203-717-1567;
India Avenue serves up traditional Indian in a chic, contemporary space. The chefs capture the flavors from different regions of the South Asian country as well as a selection of Indo-Chinese dishes; it’s fragrant, well-spiced food that’s also affordable. The authentic clay tandoor oven infuses a variety of “tikka” dishes with subtle flavor. Dosas, an Indian street food, are a specialty here. From chaats to curries, all of the dishes are designed for sharing.

Coriander chicken tikka, masala dosa, gobi Manchurian, lamb vindaloo


El Charrito
1019 East Main Street, Stamford, 203-588-1519
7 Apache Place, Riverside, 203-990-0200;
This tiny Stamford eatery turns out some of the most genuine Mexican food in our area, from tacos to tortas. It first opened as a food truck and received national attention on TLC’s Best Food Ever. If you’re adventurous, sample fillings you can’t get at an Americanized Mexican: fried pork skin, pig ear, cow tongue. The ambience is no frills; they serve Mexican beer and margaritas. You can also order from the takeout spot in Riverside.

Guacamole, carnitas taco, suadero (beef brisket) taco, chicharrones (fried pork skin) taco, tinga chicken taco, torta azteca, torta hot and sweet, tamales, alambre



A special spot to enjoy the finer things in life

If you ask people in town to name their favorite special-occasion restaurant, many will answer Thomas Henkelmann at The Homestead Inn, recalling anniversaries, birthdays and other events celebrated there. While this one-of-a-kind destination in Belle Haven—perhaps the most European-style French restaurant in our area—is a lovely spot to mark a milestone, it’s also a treat for lunch and dinner on a more regular basis. You can sit out on the veranda and have a drink and light bite or enjoy a cocktail at the bar. “This is a great place to come on a Monday or Tuesday night. Our prices are not different than any good restaurant in town,” says co-owner Theresa Carroll. “We’re a bit more formal than most restaurants. But people like to dress when they come here. It’s nice to get dressed up once in a while.”

So many elements distinguish the restaurant and boutique hotel, which is set in a Victorian manor house dating back to 1799. The elegant dining room is framed with chestnut beams that reflect its history. The natural beauty of the grounds is enhanced with sculpture: Bjorn Okholm Skaarup’s eighteen-foot-cast bronze Hippo Ballerina is in residence after being at Lincoln Center.

To ensure the best experience, the restaurant staff follow European traditions with a brigade de cuisine (hierarchy of kitchen staff) and brigade for service (back waiters, waiters, captains and sommeliers). Guests are in intriguing company, as the restaurant and inn attract travelers from around the world. Every detail about the cuisine reflects the exacting standards of chef Thomas Henkelmann, who is trained not only as a master chef but also as pastry chef and sommelier.


You can’t miss with the classic French menu, but we asked Theresa Carroll for her personal favorites. “I love the sweetbread. I love our foie gras because it’s like silk. We have a trio that’s a terrine, sautéed and a mousse. I think you measure a great chef by his terrine of foie gras,” she says. “I love the grenadin of veal, also the Dover Sole and the rack of lamb. It’s unreal.” For dessert? She’s not a sweets person but says she can’t resist the Vacherin. The dessert layers macarons with ice cream and sorbet (made in house each morning), all piped with crème Chantilly and finished with a berry or apricot coulis on top.
420 Field Point Road; 203-869-7500;



Where to go when you want a night (or day) out with friends


500 Steamboat Road, 203-661-4600;
For a South of France vibe close to home, grab a spot at the new Bar Octopus at l’escale. While l’escale has long been a haute meeting spot for cocktails, the newly design bar and its eye-catching artwork have enhanced this chic waterfront locale. Owner Rick Wahlstedt and his team designed a fifteen-seat bar facing the water, with an intricate mosaic of an octopus on the face of the bar, hand-placed by Swedish artist Jonas Wickman. The lounge area of the bar has also been revamped, along with the new bar menu from Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer, who added a beautiful crudité—like a colorful bouquet in a glass globe of ice—and avocado tartine.

ENTERTAINMENT: Live music every Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. and Friday, 7 to 11 p.m.; acts include a Brazilian guitar player and singer.


The Spread
18 West Putnam Avenue, 203-900-1887;
A sister restaurant to The Spread in SoNo, The Spread Greenwich has been a go-to for nightlife since it opened last winter, and it was just named Moffly Media’s Best New Restaurant for 2018. The Spread’s owners—five guys who are restaurateurs, bartenders and longtime friends—have been part of the Greenwich scene for years. They plan impromptu events (like Monday night tequila tastings) and a lineup of music to keep the party rolling. Tuesday nights are popular for the $1 oysters. Some crowd-pleasing apps include the crispy Brussels sprouts, grilled corn off the cob, veal and ricotta meatballs and fried potato gnocchi.

Wine bottles are half price on Sunday and Monday nights. Popular cocktails include the “Una Mas,” with jalapeno tequila, Aperol, pineapple, lime; the “Tea Bag” tea-infused bourbon, smoked lemonade and bitters; and the Manhattan.

DJs from 10 p.m. until close on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.


1392 East Putnam Avenue, 203-990-0955;
As home to possibly the longest bar in Greenwich, this is a seriously social spot. Lugano is a mainstay for ladies’ nights out, date nights and more with a daily (Monday to Friday) happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. There’s also Saturday and Sunday “bottomless” brunch with mimosas and Bloody Marys. Fave small plates include truffle sprouts, eggplant rollatini, clams casino, baby lamb chops and meatballs; also try the satisfying selection of salumi & formaggi and items from the raw bar.

During happy hour, wine is $5 a glass, cocktails $6.50 and beer $3.50; the wines-by-the-glass menu is more comprehensive than most.

A range of live music and DJs on Thursday and Friday nights, and acts like Pimpinella, a funk-disco party band.


Le Fat Poodle
20 Arcaida Road, Old Greenwich, 203-717-1515;
Maybe nothing good happens after midnight, but what about at 11:30 a.m.? That’s when “La Boum”—an adults-only brunch and dance party—gets underway on select Sundays at this Old Greenwich eclectic French eatery. The restaurant transforms into a club with black cloths over the windows, lights all around and a dance floor for grooving to the DJ. Bellinis are flowing, corks popping, and there’s no one under 21 allowed. Brunch favorites include the tuna tartare, lobster eggs Benedict, daily omelets and ropa vieja with eggs. La Boum is a sought-after reservation; check the website or get on the email list for dates. Sunday Funday at its best.

Bellinis, mimosas, Bloodies and a select wine list



If you want to feel transported to the islands—or at least a cool coastal vacation spot—head to Prime’s new cabana bar. Overlooking the Sound, the outdoor space at Prime was renovated and relaunched this summer with a large bar, custom-made by Vermont Islands, that opens to the water with comfortable seating under twinkling lights. No doubt, it’s a prime spot for sampling sushi or seafood from the oyster bar. 78 Southfield Avenue, Stamford, 203-817-0700;

There’s a whole menu of “docktails.” Try Blame It on the Aperol (a spin on the Italian Aperol twist) or one of the crowd-pleasing margaritas.

Saturdays: Margaritaville party with live music, 6 to 9 p.m., and $10 margaritas from 4 to 7 p.m. Sundays: Calypso music from 5 to 8 p.m.



There are plenty of great deals to be had—you just need to know where to look

Cut It in Half
Old Greenwich Social Club
148 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich, 203-990-3033;
It pays to eat early at Old Greenwich Social Club, where the happy hour happens from 3 to 6 p.m. seven days a week, and many items are half price, including apps like meatballs, tuna tartare, wings and crab cakes; entrées such as pulled pork and beef tacos; as well as select beer, wine and cocktails.

Wine Down
Z Hospitality Group
Greenwich Avenue;
A cure for the Tuesday blues: wine specials during dinner at Terra, Mediterraneo and Eastend. All bottles under $100 are half price and bottles over $100 are discounted 25 percent.

Here’s the Scoop
Longford’s Factory Outlet
425 Fairfield Avenue, Stamford, 203-542-0700;
If your family loves ice cream, pick up some frozen treats for less at Longford’s Factory store in Stamford. Grab quarts of your favorite flavors (banana, bear tracks, chocolate caramel crackle, to name a few) of this handmade, small-batch ice cream and ice cream cakes, all for 20 percent off. Also watch for special sales: In the past quarts have been priced buy-one-get-one-free on select days.

A Bunch of Lunch
Mumbai Times
140 East Putnam Avenue, Cos Cob, 203-625-5500;
The Lunch Box To Go from Mumbai Times is a hearty, satisfying option for a great price. For $8.95, you can get an entrée such as saag paneer, navratan korma or aloo gobi, plus dal, naan bread and rice. Portions are substantial enough that you may even have leftovers for dinner.

Holy Cow!
Fleishers Craft Butchery
160 East Putnam Avenue, Cos Cob, 203-900-1800;
Fleishers Craft Butchery in Cos Cob features top-quality, pasture-raised meats. You can stock up for 50 percent off by hitting the freezer case, where ground meats and sausages are buy-one, get-one free. Perfect for making a batch of sauce or being prepped for a barbecue.

Special Delivery
Beach House Café
220 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich, 203-637-0367;
At the Beach House, favorite wines and beers are $5 a glass from 4 to 6:45 p.m. Monday to Friday, and
there are also app specials. Try the veggie gyoza ($7) or spicy fish
tacos ($10).

Bet on It
Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar
268 Atlantic Street, Stamford, 203-883-4320;
Bobby V’s in downtown Stamford lets kids twelve and under eat free all day every day with the purchase of an adult entrée or burger. Kids’ meals, which come with a drink and carrots or fries, are already well priced at $6.95, and your little sports fans will love watching any one of the 200-plus HD TVs.

Lots of Happy Hours
179 Rectory Street, Port Chester, 914-933-0200;
At Sonora, a modern Latin spot in Port Chester from Chef Rafael Palomino, the happy hour deals run much later than most restaurants. From 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays, enjoy classic margaritas for just $5 and well-priced tapas: two tacos de Brussels for $5, homemade chimichurri and sourdough bread for $3, Peruvian empanadas for $6.

135 South Ridge Street, Rye Brook; 914-937-0900
120 Washington Blvd., Stamford; 203-703-9080
Indulge at this Italian hot spot, in Stamford and Rye Brook during its happening happy hour, Monday to Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. Pizzas and cocktails are half price, plus house wines and draft beers for $5 a glass, and popular items like chicken parm sliders, Italian sandwiches, steak frites and garlic knots are also only $5. And on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, football fans who wear their fav team jersey get a free pizza (and lots of other special football discounts).

on the calendar

Greenwich Restaurant Week
GREENWICH magazine’s Restaurant Week is packed with great meals and hot deals. The annual event kicks off with an opening night party on Wednesday, February 28, at the J House from 6 to 9 p.m. Restaurants all over town will offer special pricing through Friday, March 8. Be on the lookout online for details and opening night tickets.



Eating right is a way of life here. These creative local eateries make it easy (and delicious) to feed your healthy appetite

Granola Bar
41 Greenwich Avenue, 203-883-5220;
At this popular meeting place at the top of the Avenue, the menu mixes healthier vegetarian dishes and a range of salads with a few indulgences (think Brioche French Toast and Crazy Eggs with brisket). The eatery recently upped its daily hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and has also added locations nearby in Stamford, Armonk and Rye. In August Granola Bar rolled out a new menu with new healthy bowls (try the macro with kale, roasted beets, walnuts, sweet potato in a tahini vinaigrette over quinoa, or the Buddha with eggs, avo, spinach and tomato over quinoa). If you’re already a fan of the avocado toast here, try the avo grilled cheese for a twist on this modern-day classic. New vegan choices include the grain-free granola and vegan blueberry chia-seed parfait. To elevate an office lunch, PTA meeting or other event, call on Granola Bar’s new food truck to bring the coffee and goodies to you.

B. Good
342 Greenwich Avenue, 203-489-3255;
What’s good? Not only the food here but also the mission of this Boston-based healthy-eating chain. B. Good serves fast eats made from ingredients sourced from local farms, and runs its own community farm with customers volunteering to work the crops; 75 percent of the harvest is donated. Inside the Greenwich location, a chalkboard with a map of New England and neighboring states highlights the seasonal ingredients and where they’re grown. What to order? One satisfying customer fave is the spicy avocado and lime bowl with kale, veggies and tomatoes, black bean and corn salsa and queso fresco with a chipotle puree adding punch. We also liked the seasonal watermelon feta and the harvest kale salads. If you’re bringing kids, check out the veggie burgers downsized for them and served with sweet potato fries, and instead of the mini milkshakes, try the acai berry smoothie. Lunchtime lines can be long; order ahead via the b.good app to avoid the wait.

Myx Creative Kitchen
19 West Elm Street, 203-861-1150;
Anyone who craves variety will appreciate the set-up at Myx Creative Kitchen. In addition to a lineup of salads, and rice and noodle bars (try the Casablanca kale & quinoa bowl or the Mykonos or Kale Caesar salads), the options for customizing dishes are extensive. You select your greens and grains as a base and pick from a list of forty veggie, cheese and nut add-ins as well as a protein like spice-rubbed shrimp. If you’re ordering online, once you hit “create,” you’ll see how many calories the dish you concocted will have, plus view nutritional values such as grams of protein, fat and carbs. The custom Myx bowl can be delivered to you or enjoyed at the restaurant on West Elm, which has dedicated parking. Also popular here are the juices, smoothies, and grab-and-go snacks such as peanut butter energy bites.

Green & Tonic
7 Strickland Road, Cos Cob
85 Railroad Avenue, 203-869-1376;
A go-to spot for vegetarian and vegan meals, Green & Tonic has expanded, opening a new 6,000-square-foot kitchen in Stamford. With new chef Andrew Werblin, a CIA grad from New York, at the helm, G&T is rolling out many new items this fall, including juices, hot drinks, baked goods, salads, indulgent treats and plant-based foods and meal programs inspired by the seasons. Just in time for the cooler weather, G&T will serve locally roasted organic coffee (from PATH). For a warm pick-me-up, sip on the spiced pumpkin cashew latte (the cashew milk is surprisingly creamy) or spicy Mexican mocha latte. G&T will offer espresso drinks, too, with dairy alternatives including hazelnut, oat, almond, cashew or coconut milk. Pair your morning coffee with some of the new egg-, dairy- and gluten-free treats like carrot-hemp spice muffin, citrus-cranberry chia muffin or pumpkin-pecan-molasses bread.

The cafes in Cos Cob and Greenwich are getting a fresh look and more seating to allow for a new menu of plated dishes such as avocado toasts, breakfast bowls (the acai bowls with fruit-and-crunch toppings are amazing), salads, grain bowls and veggie burgers. Must-orders for fall: the spicy avocado toast, roasted autumn veggie & quinoa bowl, and gem lettuce salad with roasted kabocha squash, gala apples, pumpkin seeds and maple-shallot vinaigrette.


Mike’s Organic
Get the best seasonal produce, grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs and wild seafood delivered straight to your kitchen. Everything is notably fresh; we’ve never seen berries and apples this beautiful without picking them ourselves. Egg lovers will taste and see the difference of the free-range eggs from Hemlock Hill. There are also healthy snacks such as organic apple sauce, organic snack bars and nut butters, pickles and cooking oils. The company, which partners with local farms and fishermen, offers same-day delivery for Greenwich. Order by 11 a.m. on Tuesday and receive your food by 5 p.m. Shop Mike’s Organic Warehouse in Stamford every Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This month Mike’s will host Chef Geoff Lazlo for evening pop-up meals and live music. 377 Fairfield Avenue, Building 1, Stamford, 203-832-3000;

from the pros

Fete Accompli

Hosting a special event? We asked some of the area’s top caterers to share insider advice and inspiration

OnTheMarc Events
Marc Weber

Most memorable party
The first unusual party that comes to mind is an event we catered closely following the 2016 election themed “We’re In This Together.”

Unexpected entertaining tips
People tend to underestimate the amount of work to be done while entertaining. Whether you’re hosting ten guests or 100, the base amount of work to entertain (especially in your own home) is the same. My pro tip is to add an additional person to whatever amount of support staff you think you need. If you’re feeling like you need two people, get three, etc.

Pros you recommend
The hospitality industry is tremendously collaborative. I’d need a whole magazine for a list of the vendors I love. What I can recommend is that our clients consider lighting, especially for evening events. DJs, production companies, venues and even tent companies can provide this.

Desert-island dishes
I could survive on salt-crusted fish, french fries and a cucumber-tomato Greek salad.

Best ingredients for a successful event
People, people and people! A successful event hinges on the people: great guests, a great vendor and staff team and a great host who is both excited to work with us and sensitive to the needs of their guests.

Marcia Selden
Robin Selden

Most memorable party
A month ago in Bridgehampton, we had one of those career-highlight kind of parties. We have a client who wanted to create a full-on commercial kitchen with subway tile, all new equipment, pots and pans to hang from the ceiling. In an entirely glass tent, it was like a French open kitchen and guests could see everyone cooking and plating. We had twenty-two chefs at the event, all wearing brand-new chef’s uniforms and chef’s hats with handkerchiefs around their necks. Everything was clean, sparkling and new, including the appliances. While the guests were partying in this over-the-top tent, they were also watching everything. It was like performance art. The party had a Parisian theme, a very elegant menu. Her favorite thing is Floating Island, and we made that for 200 guests—not a simple dessert to prepare for that many people. It was spectacular, like something out of the movies.

Pros you recommend
We work with so many from Connecticut to New York City to Boston. What’s so great about Fairfield County and New York City is there’s always going to be the perfect fit for every party. Be sure to interview the people. It’s not just about their reputation, it’s about the people.

Best ingredients for a successful event
Great food, great music and, as a host and hostess, you set the tone. If you’re relaxed and ready to have a good time, your guests will be, too. Candle scents and food that smells delicious are little details that excite people.

On the horizon
My mom’s working on a cookbook, after we’ve begged her a thousand times. We’re also rebranding our website. It’s incredible to see how we continue to grow and try new things.

Personal inspiration
My mom’s work ethic. For decades she has poured blood, sweat and tears and a lot of love into this business as if it’s her third child. To see someone work so hard and love something so much, it definitely rubs off.

Desert-island dishes
My mom’s [Marcia Selden] phyllo hot dogs are our most popular hors d’oeuvres. We wrap them in phyllo and stuff them with sauerkraut and mustard, and you can’t get enough of them. Also our truffle-Parmesan french fries. And for entrées, I love our miso sea bass with shiitake beurre blanc. I could eat the sauce alone because it’s so delicious.

Food Design
Gallia Batt

Most memorable party
One of my favorites was a celebrity client’s daughter’s wedding. What was so fantastic is that they could do whatever they wanted—sky’s the limit—but it was so down-to-earth and grounded. Everything had a personal touch. They picked a date in October called The Sweetest Day and had customized mugs with a huge candy bar, years before people were doing them. They went to a vintage bookstore and picked up a book for each couple and put a bookmark in it with the guest’s name as a thank-you. It was all meaningful. I felt so good being a part of that.

Another memorable party was a surprise fortieth birthday party: The husband gave me carte blanche. He sent his wife into the city with friends, and we had the tent company, the rentals, the designers literally down the road waiting to see her car leave. Then it was go time! She was so surprised! They had such a good time that at the end of the night, they pushed me in the pool. They made me feel like a part of the family. They were just so thrilled. It was a fun, fun, fun party.

Unexpected entertaining tips
Lighting really impacts the ambience of a party. Little things like luminaries outside the house or on a walkway are the simplest, cheapest thing, but stunningly beautiful at dark. For a pool party, we get waterproof twinkle lights to throw in the pool. Even the right candle in the powder room makes a difference. I like Jo Malone and Nest Diffusers.

Pros you recommend
There are so many great people. For DJs, I love Jason Fioto and Ray Jarrell, both New York City-based. I met Ray when I did Rick Hilton’s fiftieth in Southampton. For florists and decor, I love Perfect Surroundings, based in Rhode Island. They’re really easygoing, brothers Evan and Jordan Carbotti, who can do soup-to-nuts, anything you want. In town, we work with Winston’s, McArdle’s and Greenwich Orchids, and they’re all great.

Best ingredients for a successful event
We’re really big on everything being homemade. Mike will always say that homemade stock makes the biggest difference in any dish. We make everything from scratch, and we cater to customers’ special diets. Even with juicing, it has to be cold-pressed, all organic. Honey over sugar when possible.

Personal inspiration
I love what I do, and I get really passionate about it when there’s a tie-in of giving back. When the Celebrating Hope benefit for Alzheimer’s started at Richards, we were a part of that. To be able to do what I do as a career and also make a difference, that has become a driving force for me. When I can do a charity event or give a donation, there are no words for that.

On the horizon
We’re looking to do a juice program, and I’ve been working on a line of food called Purest Food. There’s a whole science behind flash-freezing food and pulling in the nutrients. This concept came to me because the Howards are one of our clients—Ron, Cheryl and all the kids—and at the end of every season they would send us tomatoes, garlic and basil, and we would make sauces, soups, pesto, garlic paste and deep-freeze it. Then I remember doing a walk-through at a client’s and she said, “We’re going to have your short ribs tonight.” She had used a Food Saver to freeze leftovers from her Christmas party. The wheels started turning. I started making individual frozen meals for clients. A hedge fund client asked me what part of my business comes from catering versus the frozen foods?
I said we’re not in that business and he said, “Well, you should be.”

Desert-island dishes
A few years ago, Michael [Gallia’s husband and Food Design chef] started doing one-bite dinners as hors d’oeuvres, like short ribs and mashed potatoes, and they have been tremendously successful. We’ve taken it to the next level doing parties with three-inch dinner dishes such as five-spice halibut over oyster mushrooms and asparagus with citrus emulsion, steak frites [short rib and truffle fries] and classic vegetable lo mein [served in a mini Chinese takeout container with chop sticks]. Rather than filling up a plate with one entrée, they get a variety.

Watson’s Catering
Susan Watson Scully

Most memorable party
It was a tented party in the parking lot of the White Castle on Bruckner Boulevard. Our client loved White Castle, so we had a lot of fun creating an extravaganza with that as the focus. I loved this event because I adore unique venues; we can really get creative and think outside the box.

Unexpected entertaining tips
If it is a sit-down dinner, I suggest having my new favorite Pandora station (thanks to Elizabeth Moyer at Pretty Pink Tulips), Boney James, playing upon your guest’s arrival. When it comes time for dinner, I think separating spouses makes for more interesting conversations and even inspires the likelihood that everyone participates in one big table conversation rather than simply sidebars.

Best ingredients for a successful event
An amazing Plan A and an equally amazing Plan B if it rains. A creative, balanced variety of food and drink. A fun blend of people.

Pros you recommend
April Larken, Girl Power DJ. She recently came on the scene and brings an amazing energy to each party. She really gets the crowd going.

Personal inspiration
New ideas and making something old, new again. It really can come from anywhere; even walking down the street I see things that inspire new ideas, whether it’s a tablecloth or unique window display, or presenting food in a unique way. For example at Moffly Media’s Best of Greenwich event, we served Watermelon Pizza—a fun new play on pizza while enjoying summer’s most delicious fruit.

Desert-island dishes
I would have to have our baby lobster rolls, and, as simple as it sounds, our cellophane noodles are to die for. Our Colorado lamb chops are right there in the lead for my favorite, and for dessert nothing beats our bourbon bread pudding.

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