Sails American Grill in Rowayton, CT.
It was a friends and family preview. I’d never been to a restaurant opening before, so it was exciting! I did go to a chef’s tasting once, where you sit in the kitchen and watch them prepare the food you’re about to eat, but I didn’t think this would be like that. I’d expected it to be kind of like a cocktail party, where we’d be standing around chit-chatting and get a chance to sample little nibbles of what’s on the menu.
I was wrong!
It was a full-size, 3-course, sit-down dinner with the whole menu, which was amazing. AND there wasn’t a bill at the end of the meal, which was amazing-er. It was all complimentary but the vino, which I don’t actually drink. It gives me a headache (while I’m drinking it, that is -- I’m not talking about a hangover here) because I am allergic to wine. So I'm typically the klassy girl who orders a beer. Except last night, I had a Diet Coke.
I live on the edge.
It was such a unique experience to eat in a restaurant before it’s actually open. They officially open their doors to the public this Tuesday for dinner, so this was their opportunity to whip up the whole menu, train the staff, get feedback from diners, and generally just work out any kinks.
We had probably the best table in the restaurant, right in front of a cozy fireplace. I'm guessing that was because I was with my dear friend and her husband who works with the guy who financed the place. It helps to know people...
Of course, I do not actually know "people" myself. But I know a few people who know people! I’m like a social Kevin Bacon (btw have you seen his new Google TV commercial? LOVE it).
Anyway, this isn’t their first culinary venture, so THEY are all professionals at this. But it was new to me. So it was very cool to hear why they chose particular lighting fixtures to reflect the restaurant’s nautical theme. Or how they got the custom-made sails that hang from the ceiling, or where they found the trophies that sat on the fireplace mantle.
Usually, I don’t think about my plate beyond wondering what it will look like when it’s empty and all the food is in my belly. However, once they delivered all 4 of our entrees, alongside the wine/water/coke glasses and the bread plates, the table seemed kinda small for a party of our size. Now, how else would you learn something like that if you didn’t do something like this? So smart.
Ok, but enough about decor. I bet you’re wondering about the food… it was delicious!
(If I could think of a nautical metaphor, I’d use it here -- ship shape? Anchors aweigh? Red sky at night, sailor’s delight?)
The menu is really seasonal, so it was perfect for a cold night. I started with the roasted butternut squash bisque, and had a bite of the meatball sliders and the fried Maine clam bellies. Yum. For my entrée, I went with the grilled skirt steak marinated in black peppercorn cognac sauce because it came with truffle French fries. And for dessert I ordered up a frozen treat called the Salty Turtle mainly because I couldn't resist the name. It was just a bonus that it came covered in cashews (my 2nd favorite nut, behind the pistachio).
I don’t think there was a bad choice on the menu. It all sounded good, and more importantly, it all tasted good.
I’ve already got my order all picked out for the next time we go -- I think the truffle mac & cheese and braised short rib flatbreads with a side of tater tots has my name written all over it. I'll wash it down with a rootbeer float for dessert. And then I’ll walk home.
So, matey, you should definitely cruise by Sails if you’re in the area -- or else walk the plank. Ahoy!
Too much? Yeah, I thought I shoulda quit while I was ahead... but seriously, you should go. (And please don't talk like a pirate while you're there. It's embarassing.)