French restaurant opens in Westport

Fairfield-Rive-Bistro-logoChef/owner Eric Sierra opens his newest restaurant, Rive Bistro, 299 Riverside Avenue, Westport on April 1.

No stranger to the discerning palates found in this rural Fairfield County town, Sierra has once again created a delightful European bistro featuring the hearty French fare he grew up with in Biarritz on the Bay of Biscay in southwestern France. Once stateside, Chef Sierra settled into Westport and introduced classic French fare in the form of Bistro des Amis, a charming eatery in the center of town from 1991 to 2001, which offered locals a taste of France. Chef Sierra would then go on to create the popular Il Palio, a Mediterranean inspired restaurant in Shelton.

Chef Sierra’s newest venture, RIVE Bistro (riverbank), has made itself at home, nestled on the calming waterway of the Saugatuck River. While pastoral from the outside, the interior 72-seat dining room has been transformed into an urban-chic waterside bistro, replete with dark wood floors and furnishings, rich burgundy leather banquettes and bistro chairs, a warming fireplace, and stunning décor in the form of the panoramic riverside view. Café seating for up to 50 guests fills the stone lined patio and a convivial 15-seat bar greets guests upon entering the bistro.

The menu is French all the way — sans pretense, with a hint of flavor from various French speaking territories. Chef Sierra has created a casual menu that instead focuses on the better ingredients, bigger flavors, and heartier dishes associated with French country cuisine, with a nod to more refined and classic preparations, without the higher price tag.

Soon-to-be favorites include Duck and Foie Gras Sausage with warm green lentil salad; Charcuterie Board with jambon – pate – saucisson; Frisée au Lardon with crouton, soft poached egg, and warm bacon vinaigrette; House Made Merguez Lamb Sausage Sandwich with sautéed onions, bell peppers and harissa aioli; Croque-Monsieur with imported ham, Gruyère cheese, and béchamel; Duck Confit with fingerling potato, wild mushrooms and frisée, Moules Frites Provençale prepared with garlic, tomato, fresh herbs, served with French fries; Roasted Lamb Loin atop ratatouilles, served with potato gratin; and of course, Steak Frites, a NY strip loin with black peppercorn sauce, garlic butter or Roquefort sauce.

A global wine list features chef’s favorite French varietals, as well as Californian, Italian, and smaller boutique wines. Extensive martini and cocktail offerings are of the classic and not-so-classic kind, and the “night cap” is back en vogue at RIVE Bistro.

For more information, call 203-557-8049 or visit rivebistro.com.

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