The National: a celebrity chef, great menu and fine design make for a great evening of dining

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Described as an American Cafe by its celebrity chef and owner, Geoffrey Zakarian, The National in Greenwich is a dining delight and features a menu that has been called “dynamic American”.

The space located on Greenwich Avenue is a wonderfully designed place to dine.  The decor is a combination of both the elegance of a prior era blended with clean, modern lines. Seating in the approximate 100 seat restaurant is at small wood or marble top tables, some with curved banquettes that create a dining environment that is both elegant and intimate.  The walls are paneled in rich white oak, and potted palm plants give the impression of dining in the subdued elegance of a cafe in the classic Hollywood era.  The feeling is both familiar and comfortable as we settled into our corner table .  We knew that we were in for a special night.  See slide show below for interior photos.

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The evening we dined at the National there was a special price fixe dinner called the “Cider and Harvest Dinner” that offered a family style menu in three courses.  With each course there was a pairing from Downeast  Craft Cider.

First  Course: Our first course was actually three different courses wich were meant for sharing.  Included were Bibb Lettuce and Lolla Rosa  salad prepared with blue cheese, fennel, thinks sliced apple and dressed in a white balsamic vinaigrette.  It was light and delicious.

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We followed that with a Chicken Liver Mousse that was blended with a persimmon citrus chutney and served over thick hearty slices of toast.  Although I am not a fan of liver, I must admit that the combination of the soft pate and the fruity chutney made for an interesting taste experience.

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The final appetizer was the Connecticut Burrata, a locally sourced soft white cheese served with artichokes, rapini, and a green olive vinaigrette. The cheese was so soft,fresh and virtually melted in your mouth.  The cider pairing was the Downeast Cider Original Blend composed of fresh pressed local apples that was light crisp and refreshing.

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Burrata

Main Course:   We really enjoyed the three main course samplings.  First was a pan roasted Chatham Cod served with butternut squash, pomegranate and five spice.  The cod was splendid with a light roasted crust revealing a soft, tender and delicious white fish that was so fresh.  The preparation with the butternut squash fit the harvest theme and was fantastic.

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Pan roasted Chatham Cod

Keeping with the harvest dinner theme was the Wood Grilled Pork Shoulder served in small slices with polenta, spiced apples and an apple cider jus that was nicely presented and very satisfying.

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Wood Grilled pork with Polenta

Rounding out the main course was the classic Wood Roasted Chicken with rice, kale, cured red cabbage and a natural jus. The chicken was roasted to perfection and the combination of kale and rice made for a hearty and healthy dish.    The cider pairing was a custom blend of cider, grapefruit and crushed coriander which tasted more like a cocktail then a cider and was a complex blend of flavors.

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Wood Roasted Chicken

Dessert:  As part of the cider dinner we sampled two wonderful desserts.  First was a local Honey Mousse with mulled wine gelee and almond, that was light, airy and sweet

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Honey Mousse

. The second was a perfect complement to the harvest theme which was the National Apple Cobbler.  This classic was prepared with Granny Smith Apples, cranberry and malted ice cream.  A fresh, fruity and so very delicious dessert.  The cider pairing for the dessert course was a  Winter Blend of pressed cider with cinnamon bark and nutmeg.  Its classic blend of spices was the perfect capstone to the Harvest dinner.irene 671.JPG

Cocktails:  I would be remiss if I did not mention the craft cocktails available at the bar or at your table. After dinner I sampled the  “Greenwich Means Thyme”, a sweet concoction of gin, fresh lime juice, honey syrup and fresh thyme.  A   refreshing cocktail and great way to round out the evening.  This drink is just one of the many interesting and innovative cocktails to try.

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Greenwich Means Thyme cocktail

 

I really enjoyed my special evening at The National.   Executive chef Gregori Pena and his staff presented a delightful harvest meal with a tasty variety of dishes.   If you are looking for a new dining experience, I highly recommend that you try The National in Greenwich.  Check their website for special dinner nights once a month and for evenings featuring music and a late night menu.

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The National

376 Greenwich Avenue  Greenwich Ct      tel: 203-861-8651

web:  http://thenational-ct.com/

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