Opened Monday. First meal last night. Topline: Very good, nice addition to Darien dining, if a bit 'spendy'
Showed up last night around 7:30, restaurant was 1/2 full, able to get a table right away. Very nice, helpful wait staff. Layout is similar to when it was Cozi up front, but kitchen is closed off from dining space, except thru hallway connecting front and back rooms/doors). Given the lack of hype, and announcement (I, as a semi-obsessive, didn't even know it had opened, and I suspect most people don't proactively stalk openings), the place was pretty busy.
Wife and I each had apps, entrees, and split a bottle of wine and dessert.
Apps: Nice list of choices, from mezzas, to more traditional apps. We had the vegetarian dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), and the lamb sausages, both with tzatziki sauce. Both excellent. Dolmas were among the best I've had, and the sausages were tender and very tasty--about the size of mini "pig in a blanket" type dogs, but clearly hand made (different sizes), and with a great middle eastern spiced lamb flavor. Need to go back and try the ceviche next time, but avoided because of wife's allergies to scallops, which limits sharing potential
Entrees: Bouillabaisse for me, Salmon with lentils and haricot for her. I didn't try the salmon, but wife noted it was perfectly cooked...not too rare, not dried out. Vegetables were great, nice texture, again, not under of over cooked. Bouillabaisse was very good as well. A finger depth of broth at the bottom of the bowl, with a nice assortment of vegetables (broccoli, pearl onions, etc., accompanied by 4 properly cooked mussels (plump, overcooked into "mussel-raisins"), a piece of halibut, a piece of tilapia, and 2 nice sized scallops. Delicious, though I could live without the tilapia, and its occasionally muddy flavor. Price range from low to high $20's
Next time, with the ceviche app, going for the lamb kebobs, which smelled great every time another order was walked into the room(they also have chicken, shrimp, and the ground beef, the name of which escapes me right now-kibbe?)
Wine: Price range from mid-$30s to $60's, with a few higher. Had a nice Beaujolais that paired well with the entrees. A bit tough to find a good bottle for under 50, but the Beaujolais was $39, and pretty nice.
Dessert: Split a crepe, with Nutella and bananas, which had a small side of berry coulis. Delicious crepe, crispy and rich, and quite large...looked to be the size of a dinner napkin, folded over. Not certain it was Nutella, looked more like melted dark chocolate. Of note, they also offer crepe entrees, which are probably worth checking out.
All in all worth checking out, and we will be back...I'd call the level of quality on par with Scena, which is also excellent.
I think she'll do much better in Darien than here Greenwich effort, given the smaller scale of the place. Quality is very high, service is excellent. My only concern is cost...our dinner was $115 or so, and people will have to view it as "special enough" to go there for a full meal, vs. traveling further. But then again, people travel from 3 towns away to visit 1020, and view that as worth the drive, so hopefully, she'll draw from beyond just Darien.
Plus, we get Casa Villa in her old space, just over in Stamford, so its a double win!
Now...what about the rumored Italian place on the Post Road, opposite the train station? Any details on that, anyone?
Casa Villa Restaurant
182 W Main St, Stamford, CT 06902