BIG THANKS to rbailin for recommending Brasserie Pip for steak tartare. We went for dinner on the 4th of July and had a truly stellar experience from beginning to end.
We sat out on the porch overlooking the gardens--what a picture-perfect setting. I chose the seasonal fruit caipirinha and would highly recommend this very tasty adult beverage! My dining partner had a Dark & Stormy. Bien sûr, we shared steak tartare to start. I cannot compare it to others I have enjoyed because it's not so readily available I can compare it from place to place. I can only say it was delectable and the toasted baguette slices they brought to accompany it were just right. Their housemade fresh baguettes and butter are simply wonderful.
Next, we shared "THE Macaroni gratin with crispy pork." Imagine the creamiest, most flavorful, cheddar-loaded mac and cheese you have ever eaten, replete with peas, chunks of pork and crispy breadcrumbs on top. It was mindbendingly wonderful and left me wishing I could replicate this dish at home. I sopped up every last cheesy bite of sauce with the remaining baguette slices.
For the main course, I ordered the duck confit. It goes without saying it was fall-off-the-bone tender and no knife was necessary. It was rich and flavorful, served over white beans and Swiss chard and topped with a bit of fennel slaw.
My dining partner, who ranked this among the best meals he has ever eaten, enjoyed the fresh local fluke amandine with potatoes, capers, whole almonds and green beans. I had a taste and agreed the fish was supremely fresh, very light and perfectly seasoned.
I couldn't get my mind off the menu and the duck fat pommes frîtes. I just had to try them, so rather than dessert, we ordered them midway through our meal and enjoyed them last. Served with aïoli, these hand-cut fries were superb. I can't honestly say I could taste the difference that they had been prepared with duck fat. Perhaps I'd have to try them side by side with "regular" frîtes to see the difference, but they were fabulous as well.
Clearly, we hadn't saved room for dessert, so I only had a cappucino. But I can't help thinking about NEXT TIME. This restaurant is only about a half hour away and I definitely want to get back there again this summer (with friends next time) to try their charcuterie and have more tartare and...and...and...
Our server was very pleasant and helpful. When I asked for his help between a couple of dishes, he steered me to both the duck and the macaroni gratin and I am very grateful for his recommendations. He also helped my dining companion decide between two of his dinner choices.
One more thing! We arrived VERY early for our 6:15 reservation. As it was such a beautiful day, I wanted to head toward the shore and get outside before our meal. What luck--as we drove up Main St. in Ivoryton, we noticed several sculptures displayed on people's lawns. We learned that these sculptures will be on display (for a year?), so bring walking shoes and arrive early. A leisurely walk for 15 minutes in either direction of Brasserie Pip will give you a chance to take in a variety of interesting sculptures. My personal favorite is the moose!
Pictures as follows:
- outdoor seating
- view from porch where we dined
- seasonal fruit caipirinha
- steak tartare
46 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT 06442