Reviewed by a Galpal
Reviewed By a Galpal - Martel Bistro & Bar
Monday, March 09, 2009
From the same owners that brought us Pane Vino in Westport comes Martel, a new French bistro at the old Rory's site. If the first week is any indication, this place is going to be a big hit!
An ample sized bar area with a few tables greets you upon entry and opens into a small, cozy dining room decorated in jewel tones. The menu is decidedly bistro-like, and offers a good selection of sandwiches in addition to entrees for those who would prefer a more casual meal.
On this night I started with the yummy mushroom ravioli – a duxelle of wild mushrooms tucked into expertly made pasta, nestled into a rich veal demiglace. Not a great option for sharing given it a modest sized portion, but the complexity and depth of the dish makes it just the right size to whet your appetite. Next came one of my wintertime favorites – braised short ribs. Martel's version is as good as I've had it, the richness of the slow cooked meat shining through. Roasted root vegetables were the perfect accompaniment.
From the list of six or so side dishes, we chose a creamy potato gratin, bespeckled with pancetta, as well as the broccoli rabe, in which plump golden raisins were the perfect sweet counterpoint to the bitter green.
There is an ample selection of bottled wines, and three selections each of red and white are offered by the glass or carafe.
As a side note, the restaurant's dedication to quality can be seen in their bread - they employ a baker in Spain to make the dough and send it to them to bake, insisting that the water there imparts a different taste. Being a former Brooklyn gal, I can relate – the water there definitely makes the best bagels!
Martel is open nightly for dinner starting at 5:00. Given the close quarters, I'd recommend leaving the kids at home unless you go early.
Suzy Tip: They don't take reservations
Martel Bistro & Bar
2316 Post Road , Fairfield