Located in Southport Center, across the street from the elegant Delamar Hotel, Gray Goose Restaurant is one of Fairfield's newest bistros. Featuring lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch fare made with local organic produce and seasonal ingredients, Gray Goose attracts local clientele with its inviting atmosphere, enticing entrees and experienced staff.
According to owners Tom Febbraio and Kevin McHugh, natives of Westport, and Peter Mennona, of Fairfield, comedian Paula Poundstone raved about the Gray Goose during her appearance at Westport's Levitt Pavilion last week.
"Apparently she really liked our apple tart dessert and while she was onstage, she told everyone that the apple tart at Gray Goose Restaurant changed her life," Febbraio explained.
Following this unsolicited endorsement, Mennona added that there's been a substantial increase in apple tarts sold this week at the Southport restaurant.
Although chef Thomas Carney, formerly of Spazzi's Restaurant in Fairfield, is responsible for creating the now renowned apple tart, gelato provided by Café Madeline is also one of the Gray Goose's hot dessert items.
Complementing the restaurant's main course entrees are homemade bread and rolls delivered daily from Fairfield's own Billy's Bakery.
Mennona said that entrees are moderately priced to attract a wide clientele from Fairfield County. However, although it's possible to receive a hefty portion of day boat scallops for under $20, taste is not sacrificed. "People love this scallops dish, which is served over spaghetti squash with a lemon sauce," he said.
Mennona said that another excellent fish dish that patrons consistently enjoy is the Gray Goose's sushi-grade Ahi Tuna Taco. Seared rare, the tuna is served with wasabi lemon yogurt and jicama slaw, Mennona added.
Because the restaurant is relatively small, the owners said that all menu items are made from fresh food that is purchased daily. "There isn't any room to store food so we must get it delivered every day," said Febbraio, owner of famed former Post Road establishments Tommy's and Sidetracks.
Although the menu is the same for both lunch and dinners, many people like to consume lighter fare mid-day, such as salads and burgers, which are made using organic meat.
Gray Goose recently started offering a Sunday brunch menu that includes Brioche stuffed French toast with blueberries, strawberries and apples. Goat cheese fondue and flatbread breakfast pizzas are also on the brunch menu.
Located in the former site of the Wine Knot, Gray Goose received a major makeover before its opening this summer. According to Febbraio and Mennona, its interior is completely renovated and refurbished.
"We completely gutted the place," said Febbraio. "We want to especially thank Kevin's brother, Brian McHugh, who was the project's builder. He is responsible for turning it into the great facility that it is today."
Wide-plank, distressed oak flooring, exposed wooden beams and textured, plaster walls created by a craftsman brought over from Ireland all contribute to Gray Goose's cozy ambiance. A stone fireplace in the main dining room, which seats 30, enhances its "European" feel, said Febbraio.
He pointed out that an outdoor patio that holds an additional 30 guests will be enclosed, heated and used year-round, too. "There is also a fireplace out there," he noted. "You could sit and watch the snow falling down in the wintertime. It'll be very nice."
The Goose -- as it has become known -- offers an extensive selection of wine, with 66 different varieties offered by the glass.
"We have a unique wine list and what you get at Gray Goose, you're not going to find at the liquor store," Mennona said. "We sampled hundreds of wines before deciding what to offer."
"This is a place for everyone," Mennona emphasized. "Our crowd is diverse and it's a comfortable and safe environment."
Patricia L. Ritchie, executive director of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, said she's excited to visit the Gray Goose. "They should do very well. I heard it's very nice," Ritchie commented. "Tommy has had a ton of experience with his former restaurant in Fairfield Center. We look forward to having him join the Chamber and the Chamber Bucks program."
The Gray Goose is located at 246 Old Post Road, Southport, and is open seven days a week. For more information, call 203-292-8779.