Cuisine: Long before “locavore” became the watchword for area foodies, Irish chef Cathal Armstrong was growing his own vegetables, making his own yogurt, curing his own pork belly, and combing local farms for just about everything else. His plates don’t strive for attention with visual fireworks—they’re often more earthy than ethereal—but many leave you marveling at their attention to detail and technique. This is a kitchen where shortcuts are a sin.
Mood: Whether you’re dining at the bar, the leisurely bistro, or the quieter and more formal tasting room, the service will likely strike the perfect balance of warm, precise, funny, and smart. That and the simple decor—hurricane candles lining the stone walkway, paintings of eggplants in the dining room—take much of the stuffiness out of fine dining.
Best for: A drop-in lunch or dinner at the bar; catching up with friends or celebrating in the bistro; a multi-course dinner in the tasting room; some of the best cocktails in the area.
Best dishes: The menu changes by the day, but look for Armstrong’s faithfully rendered version of the cool, tangy Indian salad papri chaat; lobster bisque, which manages to taste rich and light at the same time; crab bisque; bacon-egg-and-cheese salad; bouillabaisse packed with cod and clams; charcuterie; any foie gras preparation; tarte Tatin; Eve’s Temptation cocktail, which puts apple martinis to shame.
Insider tips: A $13.95 two-course Lickity Split lunch is available at the bar on weekdays and is the gastronomic equivalent of pro bono. In the bistro, appetizers tend to be more thrilling than the entrées. Reservations, especially for the bistro, can be hard to come by, so it’s best to book well in advance.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Expensive to very expensive.