The Dressing Room

25 Powers Court, Westport, CT

Hours of operation: Tuesday to Sunday from 5:30 p.m.

Brunch on Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

***** out of *****

$$$ out of $$$$

Tucked behind the Westport Country Playhouse is your home away from home. The Dressing Room is the first farm-to-table restaurant in Westport, opened in 2006 by chef, cookbook author and food activist Michel Nischan and actor Paul Newman. They support a movement for sustainable food and their mastery of comfort food makes this restaurant the ideal fall destination. The warmth of the menu is complemented by the staff’s positive energy and the comfortable, country décor. Nischan and his wife Tori are often at the restaurant. He joins the manager, Tor Newcomer, and other local friends in a house band that plays live music nearly every Friday.

The atmosphere embodies the soul of the Westport community and is extremely inviting. They have excellent beers on tap and a wide selection of interesting spirits. Stop in for a great meal or grab a drink and have a laugh with Johnny O’, the witty and well-versed bartender. Here are my selections:

Recommended Small Plates:

Preserved Tomato Soup: paired with grilled cheese and topped with crème fraiche, this dish is light and sweet and will put every other tomato soup you’ve had to shame. The sharp cheddar grilled cheese makes the perfect pairing.

Cast Iron Yellow Apple and Leek Corn Bread: served in a cast iron skillet and drizzled with local honey, this is classic comfort food. Rich, buttery and heavy.

Kettle Macaroni and Cheese: cheddar cheese, fresh cream, cured pork belly and breadcrumbs. Each individual cast iron skillet of heaven is made fresh to order and the quality is reflected. The pork belly is cubed and easy to avoid but is simply there to add to the richness.

Recommended Entrées:

Dressing Room Meatloaf: mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and caramelized onion gravy. This dish is for any meat lover. There is a tangy glaze and the meat is so tender your fork will cut through it like whipped cream.

Smoked Connecticut Buffalo Wings: served with blue cheese dressing. These wings are unique because the sauce is more along the lines of a barbeque-buffalo fusion than a traditional hot sauce. They will be sure to confuse your palate’s expectations.

No Goat Left Behind Burger (served in October): ground goat meat with roasted jalapeno, bacon and apple marmalade, cheddar and a farm fresh sunny side up egg. This dish blew my mind. Goat meat is surprisingly lean and tender; it is milder than beef and not as oily as lamb or pork. The staff at The Dressing Room is doing everything in their power to raise awareness about the sustainability of goat meat. Many farmers are killing off their male goats upon birth because they cannot produce milk. The tender and delicious meat is an adequate reason to let them live before being humanely slaughtered. Having this burger was an extraordinary experience and certainly expanded my palate.

Recommended Dessert:

S’more in a jar: unbelievable presentation of crushed homemade graham cracker with marshmallow and chocolate sauce served in a mason jar. When this is on the menu, you have to try it. The presentation is remarkable and one-of-a-kind.

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