We enjoyed a fine French meal today at The French Corner in Stone Ridge, located on Route 213 just west of Route 209. This is inventive, regional French cooking that is different from your typical bistro. The chef, Jacques Qualin, has a very impressive background at some of NYC's best French restaurants and it shows. Everything is homemade by Jacques including the breads and all of the desserts.
The butternut squash soup with wild mushrooms was excellent but even better was a special, creamy mussel and fennel soup. Perhaps the most impressive appetizer was grilled shrimp with a risotto cake and a blood orange reduction. The blood orange sauce had a spicy kick that I loved.
The restaurant's signature main dish is turbot with a comte' crust and champagne sauce. I always thought that fish and cheese together are a no-no, but not in this case. The thin comte' cheese crust adds a sharp note to the mild white fish which is layered on top of a simple spinach saute and chanterelle mushrooms. The champagne sauce is a classic rich rendition that sparingly naps the fish. Chicken breast was coated with a hazelnut crust and sliced on top of a homemade fettucini in a shitake mushroom broth making for a very earthy combination.
Desserts are just as impressive. One of the best desserts that I have had in a long time is the butternut squash citrus creme brulee. Jacques replaces most of the basic cream and egg base with a butternut squash puree laced with citrus flavors and other surprises such as fennel seeds. Another unusual dessert was a decadent chocolate soup with slices of poached pears.
There is a nice selection of reasonably priced wines by the glass. And, the service was great. The menu is very appealing and I am really looking forward to going back soon.