Martel Hits the Mark During Restaurant Week

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martel table

Fairfield Restaurant Week is coming to a close, and I just wouldn’t be a good food writer if I didn’t at least check out one of the happening spots. My choice? Martel, one of the 32 establishments in town on board for prix-fixed lunch and dinner options, offering a wide span of cuisines. It’s a great opportunity to sample various menus and get you thinking about places you may not have visited before. f you’re feeling very adventurous you can even be part of their Passport program; reach at least three locations with a stamp on each one, and you’re eligible for a variety of prizes. For us, that option will have to wait until next year. 

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Hubby was working from home so on his ‘lunch break’ he took me out for a pre-birthday date. Today officially kicks off our fun-filled weekend (you know we do things big over here!), and we have just about every meal covered. This evening, Hubby made me surprise dinner reservations at Le Farm in Westport, a place that’s very meaningful to us as a couple. Tomorrow for my actual birthday, we’ll be dining at Eataly (and a few other TBD locales!) in NYC with my family after seeing Chefs Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, and Michael Simon speak at The Times Center…a foodie day for sure! Then, Sunday we’re brunching it with a close group of local friends at Terrain in Westport. Just the way I like to celebrate.

This afternoon, we were fortunate to dine al fresco at Martel, on another gorgeous, to-good-to-be true sunny fall day. We were greeted by professional, accomodating waitstaff who answered my culinary questions without hesitation. Although Hubby and I typically sample more than one appetizer option, this time we both began with the burrata (you’ve heard me refer to it as the molten cake of cheeses), so neither of us had to give up a single taste. This magical, creamy ball of goodness was paired with juicy red and yellow tomatoes, diced red onion, peppery arugula, fresh basil and a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. It was an upgraded version of caprese, refreshing and bursting with flavor. Both of us cleared our plates. Further proof we were glad no one had to share.

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For my entrée, ordering the butternut squash ravioli was a no-brainer. Lucky for me, this was likely the best execution I’ve had of this fall classic. So often, preparations like these are dripping in butter or so overly sweet you wonder if it should be served as dessert rather than a main course. Martel got it right. The fragrant sage cream sauce was surprisingly light for a seemingly rich dish, glistening with hints of white wine and a desired saltiness from granna padano cheese. The delicate pasta pillows were filled with a silky butternut squash puree, then topped with almost al dente sprinkles of the same diced vegetable. It’s amazing how two textures of the same food can offer such dimension to one plate. I took small bites just so it would last longer.

IMG_2128Hubby chose the pan chicken breast supreme, served over fluffy mixed mushroom risotto with tender sautéed carrots and spinach in a natural au jus. The bone-in meat had a perfectly golden-kissed skin and a moist, juicy center. As a whole, the dish reminded us of traditional french-cooking, perhaps inspired by coq au vin. It was comforting in such a way that you feel invigorated after eating, rather than ready for a nap.

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We were sufficiently satisfied after our two courses, but I look forward to returning next time to check out their desserts!  For more information on Martel please visit martelrestaurant.com.

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