by Valerie Schroth
Jun 14, 2013
10:52 AMTable Hopping
A New Foodie Destination in Bantam
Arethusa al tavolo, the wine bar and restaurant envisioned by Arethusa Farm and Manolo Blahnik visionaries George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis, has arrived—opening officially for dinner this Friday, June 14, after a dry run throughout the week of “soft opening” dinners for invited guests.Take note of the number for reservations—860-567-0043—because the place is fabulous, from the inventive, beautifully presented and delicious food of executive chef Dan Magill to the stylish interior with design influences from Italy.
It’s the type of sparkling, happy, noisy and casual-but-sophisticated place you might find in Milan, say, with models from runway shows and financiers salted among travelers savvy enough to find the place to eat. The place will seduce you, but the food will make you fall in love, and it’s no wonder, as Mr. Magill, who has worked with the likes of Daniel Boulud, is the type of chef who in past endeavors has garnered very high praise and even an "Excellent" rating from The New York Times.
So call quickly for a table—and, meanwhile, anticipate such dishes as a Maine lobster and avocado salad ($16), pan roasted veal sweet breads ($15), Moroccan spiced seared rare tuna ($28), Day Boat scallops with braised pork belly ($27), pan-seared tournedos of veal tenderloin ($31) and many, many others.
At a dinner Tuesday, it was immediately clear that all those dishes were rendered sublime in this chef’s hands, and each was presented as a work of art. Portions are just right, and the price points are on par with those of other upscale Litchfield County restaurants. For those who gravitate toward the more casual wine bar experience, the bar itself is snug and welcoming. There are scores of well-selected wines available by the glass—and beers like City Steam Innocence and Smuttynose IPA on tap—and the Brasserie menu offers some outstanding affordable choices, such as the Arethusa Farm Dairy grilled cheese, a bargain at $11 with its heirloom tomatoes, True Love Farms smoked bacon, béchamel sauce and homemade chips, or a locally sourced, charred grilled burger with herbs, farmers cheese, homemade cumin-sriracha mayonnaise, tomato jam, pickled onions and homemade, hand-cut fries ($12).
It should come as no surprise that Arethusa al tavolo is a gem poised upon its opening to garner excellent reviews, given the taste, style and dedication to details of Mr. Malkemus and Mr. Yurgaitis, whose touch seems to turn everything into a manifestation of perfection.
Another example is the adjacent Arethusa Farm Dairy Creamery, separated from al tavolo by a courtyard, where Arethusa Farm’s gourmet cheeses, which guests can enjoy in the wine bar, may be purchased, along with the dairy’s nonpareil ice creams, milks, yogurts and more. (The phone number for the dairy is 860 361-6600.)
Look for a full story on the new Arethusa al tavolo in the July issue of our LCT magazine, but call 860-567-0043 now to reserve a table, and then get ready for one of the best dining experiences you’ve ever had in the summer-blushed Litchfield Hills at al tavolo, which translates as "at the table," the place where people are happiest.