Restaurants & Bars 8

121 Restaurant @OXC

chowgirl | Feb 24, 200811:19 AM

A few friends and I checked out this new restaurant at the Oxford Airport. We got there a little before 6:30 per the prompting of the host who said they don't take reservations for groups under 6 pp, and they've been getting busy. She was right. We got there to a pretty full restaurant, and when we left an hour plus later, the place was completely full with a wait for tables.

Location--it can be a little tricky to find, but if you get to the Airport Access Road in Oxford and follow the restaurant signs, you'll find it.

Ambiance--it was dark (even too dark for my 30 something year old eyes), so it was hard to pay attention to a lot of the details, but it seemed nicely done. I'll definitely look forward to going back during the daytime. There were a combination of tables (mostly four tops) and tables with booth seating on one side and chairs on the other. There was a wall of windows to see planes flying in and out of the airport, but we were behind a metal screen, so we only saw an outline and movement of the one plane that landed while we were there. I'd definitely recommend increasing the lighting, even just slightly. There were many groups of what seemed to be 60 and 70 somethings, and I imagine that once the novelty of a new, upscale restaurant near them wears off, they may not want to dine in such a dim setting. It was noisy (again, that's coming from a 30 something who has two small children), and we were very aware of the constant noise around us, but we did not have to shout to hear our friends, which was appreciated. If you want a more subdued setting for sustained conversation with friends, however, this is not the place.

Service--service was pleasant. Our waitress was genuinely nice without being the Outback, kneel down at the table and be our chum kind of server. She was attentive but not obstrusive by any means. My only quibble, shared by my friend, is that after getting back the bill once giving her the credit cards, she took the signed receipt while we were sitting there. Wait until we've put on our coats and walked away from the table, please. You can wait a couple minutes to see that yes, we did leave you a generous tip. The owners also were around, and it was nice to see them interested in diners' experiences. I think this could be a nice addition to the area dining scene.

Food-the menu was American, primarily, in its focus, and it had enough to appeal to the masses. I would definitely say it was not particularly innovative, but it had safe entrees and such that appeal to many. Appetizers tended to run around $8-12; salads were about the same. Pizzas and sandwiches were in the $8-10 range, and pastas were in the mid-to upper teens. Entrees were the priciest at $23-25 on average. Desserts were mostly $6. There were no specials, but we were told that as the restaurant continues, there will be specials available.

At our table, we had French Onion soup (very good according to those who ordered it), chopped steakhouse salad (really good--I think my husband was ready to slap away my fork). The salad had nice cold, crisp iceberg, non-anemic cherry tomatoes, and crisp bacon in a buttermilk based ( I think) blue cheese dressing. Dinner brought us a smoked salmon, creme fraiche, capers, and red onion pizza, my husband's choice. He was thrilled to have his favorite things (lox, cream cheese, capers, and pizza) all in one, and he enjoyed it very much. A friend had the seared yellowfin tuna, proclaimed good, and another had the linguine with seafood (scallops, shrimp, and mussels) in a garlic, white wine sauce. She said it was okay, but not super. I had a (very expensive) but sizeable filet mignon. It was in a green peppercorn sauce (which I did not taste) over sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes with bits of lobster (uninspiring, a bit overcooked, and probably the reason the price was jacked up to $29) with a Rioja (?) reduction. The filet was decent, cooked a little more on the medium side of the medium rare that I ordered, but overall okay. I think next time I will try something different.

I definitely think that this restaurant has the potential to stick around, particularly with a large number of retirees moving into the active adult communities in Oxford. Many are coming from lower Fairfield County and New York, and they are coming from areas where they have many more restaurant choices. I will say that I reported back to my parents, living in one of those communities, to encourage them to try the place but at lunch. It should not be as dark, it may not be as noisy, and the lunch prices are bound to be more reasonable.

I'd love to hear others' experiences.

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