We don’t know much about commuting in and out of Connecticut, except that Westport commuters tend to have their station skipped now and then, and our pal ConnecticEnergy sure seems to encounter some boneheaded riders out of Stamford. But we do know that there’s a very enticing dining option available to people who ride out of New Canaan each day.
Our pal Nick Martschenko opened South End Grill, across from the station, in the old Pine Social space, over Labor Day, and it’s really good. Nick worked the kitchens of Gramercy Tavern and i Trulli, among others, before relocating up to the wilds of North Stamford. There were a handful of New Year’s Eves back when we both lived in the city, when The Missus and I–back when she was The Girlfriend–did not feel like venturing very far out and dealing with the perils of the ultimate Amateur Night.
But Nick and his wife Erin would invite us over for a small gathering–it was walkable from our old Gram-Murray apartment–with plenty of good beer, and some super-tasty apps Nick would whip up in the kitchen.
Now he’s got his own joint, and it’s a good one. Here’s what the local Patch said:
The service treated me as if they’d known me forever. The decor was definitely comfy-chic, with dark colors, wood, and soft antique lights to brighten the decor. The tables were not mashed together as in so many New Canaan restaurants; they were spread out in a normal, civilized manner – the way you might spread them out at home.
I remember Nick, back in the old Gramercy Tavern days, coming out with a giant plate of cheeses from all over the globe about halfway through our tasting menu experience, and South End’s got a wide assortment of them as well. We didn’t see kids meals on the menu, though I’m sure the kitchen could’ve accommodated Little G and Little Miss C, but we opted for a few of the $4 farmstead cheese offerings for Little G’s meal. (He’s actually happy just with bread from the basket.)
Among the apps, a Warm Tomato Tart special was real good, as were Nonna’s Meatballs. I liked how the salads on the menu were grouped under “Ruffage.”
The Missus got the Diver Scallops and I had the steak frites, officially known as Grilled Flat Iron Steak, so Little Miss C could have some fries.
The place was packed by around 6:30 last Saturday. Our meal, with our Connecti-spondent Saugatucker, his wife and wee boy, was long and leisurely, which meant we didn’t have time for dessert, outside of the kids wolfing down ice cream.
We’ll have to make that a priority next time–especially the Ricotta Donuts, with lemon cured dipper chocolate sauce and a single shot of espresso.
South End is upscale, but not fancy–we saw no one in sweats, which always pleases us–and lively but not loud. Entrees run around $30, and we enjoyed some hard to find beers as well.
The trip from central Westchester took us 30 minutes, and I’m glad we made it.