Dining Review

Table-to-Farm Dining in Westport

European and American styles blend at Bittersweet Farm Restaurant


Over the past few years, we’ve been hearing a lot about farm-to-table dining, but how about table-to-farm dining? Established in 1998, Bittersweet Farm Restaurant is located in the historic central village of Westport, a town abundant with local farms, and the view alone is a good reason to make a stop here this fall. Surrounded by - well - nothing, this quaint, homey restaurant is a perfect place to take a date, and they even host weddings and special events outdoors in their beautiful courtyard. From the outside, the restaurant is a massive three stories, which initially worried us. A restaurant that has a huge dining room can easily feel empty and barren when it is any less than half full, and it would take a lot of people to fill this space. When we got inside, however, we were relieved to find out that the top two floors are mostly reserved for busy weekend nights and special events. This evening, the only dining room open was the tavern, located on the lower level, which is a smaller, comfortable room. With mostly wooden décor and low, warm lighting that gave the space a homey feel, they’ve done a good job of creating the farm-esque atmosphere they’re going for.

The menu is a blend of classic American comfort foods and traditional European dishes, mostly Italian and French. They were offering a good selection of specials, both appetizers and entrées, and on Tuesday and Wednesday nights they also offer a three course prix-fixe menu for $24.99. To start, we were brought a bread basket which also contained fresh cornbread and a lovely housemade sweet red pepper jam. Our server was pleasant and happy to explain anything on the menu, although it seemed like the restaurant was unexpectedly busy for a Tuesday night, and she was a bit overwhelmed so we often found ourselves with empty water glasses, waiting on refills.

The first appetizer to arrive was the Lobster Ravioli ($11), one of the current specials. The filling contained recognizable chunks of lobster meat - always a good sign - and the pasta dough had a nice authentic texture which was complimented well by the nutty brown butter sauce which they were served over. We also ordered the fig and prosciutto flatbread ($11), a personal-pizza-sized portion of house-made dough topped with figs, prosciutto, goat cheese and balsamic glaze. Overall, the flavors were good, and the fig-prosciutto-cheese combination is a classic favorite, but my companion and I both agreed that it was a little heavy on the balsamic glaze, which masked some of the delicate flavors of the other ingredients. As a whole, our first course was definitely a success, and we left nothing on our plates.

I was excited to try their selection of local seafood, and for my entrée I ordered the Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon ($22). The salmon was cooked perfectly; flaky and tender, while retaining all of the rich texture and moisture of this delicate cut of fish. It was also seasoned well; brushed with brown sugar, and a light citrus-bourbon sauce with a flavor just strong enough to shine through, but not enough to overpower the natural flavor of the salmon or the light smoky flavor of the cedar. It was served on the small cedar plank, accompanied by rich mashed potatoes, seasoned with copious amounts of butter and garlic, just as mashed potatoes should be. My dining companion - already stuffed from the appetizers - ordered the sandwich special, whimsically titled the Chicken Garden Explosion ($10.50). Just as the name implies, the sandwich was packed with fresh vegetables such as heirloom tomatoes and avocado. It was served with a red pepper mayo in a wrap (also available on a French baguette). As tasty as the sandwich was, the star of the plate were the house-made onion rings. Unlike the thick, heavily battered freezer-to-fryer onion rings you’ll find in some restaurants, these were thin slivers of onion, barely battered and lightly fried. They were crispy and flavorful on their own, but tasted even better when piled onto the sandwich.

To finish off our meal, we decided to go with a classic dessert - the Crème Brulee ($9), a traditional French custard, topped with caramelized sugar and garnished with whipped cream, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Although they weren’t reinventing the wheel with this dessert, they pulled off a great execution of the beloved classic. Overall, the meal was wonderful. Bittersweet Farm Restaurant offers tasty comfort food and friendly service in a quaint atmosphere with a view. Our experience was not so bitter, and very sweet.

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