A chef’s food is an expression of their creativity — the smallest of inspirations can lead them on a path of innovation, creating delicious new flavor combinations. I recently dined at Appétit Bistro in Port Chester where I sampled some of the recent additions to their classical French–inspired menu.
I tasted a trio of new appetizers including a fois gras terrine, delicata squash, and a tarte aux champignons.
The terrine is served sliced on a platter alongside toasted baguette, sea salt, honey, wine–braised onions, and whole grain mustard —these accompaniments expertly complemented the rich, buttery flavor of the liver.
Arriving sliced into a thick round and covered in a mound of arugula, the delicata squash is finished off with a quenelle of Burrata with a balsamic glaze. The warmth of the squash is wonderful with the chilled Burrata that melts in the mouth as soon as it touches your tongue. The plate is garnished with pomegranate seeds that add a sweet and crunchy contrast to the soft and tangy dish.
Appétit Bistro’s rich and buttery coq au vin
The tarte aux champignons features a round of flaky puff pastry, topped with sautéed mushrooms and arugula, all sitting atop a slight drizzling of creamy mushroom sauce and truffle oil that accentuates the earthy flavors of the dish.
Executive Chef Edi Rivera, who was previously at L’Escale and Le Penguin, has also added three main course selections: cassoulet au canard (that’s duck, for those of you who didn’t take French in high school), coq au vin, and yellowfin tuna.
Perfect for cold winter nights, the cassoulet is a hearty casserole featuring a wonderful fork–tender duck, swimming in white beans and tomato with thick chunks of smoky slab bacon, pork butt, and halved merguez sausage.
The coq au vin is a dark and meaty dish with a rich and buttery mushroom flavor and a tenderness that is contrasted by the addition of crispy spaetzle. The meat swims in a wonderful brown sauce with mushrooms and roasted fingerling potatoes.
The fresh, bold yellowfin tuna
The tuna was fresh, citrusy, and bold in flavor with a spiced crust, served over a red quinoa salad with olives that added a nutty component to the dish. It’s served with a sauce vierge (olive oil, chopped tomato, lemon juice, shallots, and basil) and has an extremely subtle heat.
Although no sweet endings were new to the menu, what would a French meal be without dessert? The tempura–battered banana beignets are fried until crisp and served piping hot with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and caramel sauces. The crunchy shell gave way to a molten banana interior that was a deliciously sweet finish to a terrific dinner.
Stop in to this under-the–radar little taste of France and make sure to try out some of these exciting new dishes.
540A Willett Ave, Port Chester
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