The Boat House Restaurant at The Saugatuck Rowing club
The village of Saugatuck located in Westport, CT is a bastion for restaurateurs. Back in the day Paul Newman lent ‘Duke’ Merdinger the cash for his liquor license to open Via Zapta’s on Saugatuck Avenue.
The Black Duck Café has been teetering on the banks of the Saugatuck River for decades and still serves up the best hamburgers and fries. Mario Batali recently opened the Tarry Lodge in this little New England hamlet. Foodies love this enclave because there are so many dining options within a stones throw of one another.
And the legacy lives on. The famous Winklevoss twins of Facebook and the ‘Social Network’ lore, learned to row here. Their father Howard stepped up and transformed an antique train station into a world class-rowing club.
The gracious Nantucket style building is spectacular. Ralph Lauren would blush if he had a chance to visit. It’s collegiate and proper. The vibe is relaxed Ivy League. The wow factor tops the Richter Scale when you head up to the new Boat House Restaurant.
Foodies who crave Northern and Southern Italian food with a modern flair ought to make a reservation. The menu is out of this world and the views while eating alfresco from the teak deck, will transport you to Nantucket and beyond. This experience is well worth a 45-minute drive or train ride from New York City. The restaurant is only a five-minute walk from the Westport train station. Haven’t you always wanted to visit Westport, CT? Now you’ve a great reason to go.
The restaurant is located on the second floor of the club. Access is through the main entrance off Saugatuck Avenue. There's plenty of parking off street. Please announce yourself to the attendant before using the elevator or stairs to head up to the restaurant.
The main dining room was just renovated. The space is grand. It has lofted twenty-foot coffered ceilings that are framed in white. They look like they came from the structural stringers of a boat. The new paint scheme is smart. The valleys on the ceiling are painted in a sophisticated New England navy blue and sound deadening material has been added to soften the ambient noise levels at full capacity. The half walls are adorned with a rattan textured wallpaper on the top and painted the same color blue as the ceiling on the bottom. The overall affect radiates a smart casual ambience.
We especially liked the new intimate black marble bar! It's the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine or break the ice with someone special. From this vantage point you can also appreciate the visual planning that went into this space.
The restaurant's tables are fitted with fine white linens, place settings and glassware. Overhead hangs a vintage eight-man boat that looks as if it's navigated the Henley Royal Regatta many times. Above the cozy bench seating against the south wall proudly hangs a picture of Tyler and Cameron on the water. The north facade has enormous windows that look over the Saugatuck River and a teak deck that is hands down the best alfresco dining spot in town.
While taking all of this in and sipping your Super Tuscan you may find yourself thinking about sitting with friends or clients and enjoying the conversation, food and wine. You may even ask yourself, who knew that this place even existed? It's a hidden jewel waiting to be discovered. Come on... let's sit-down and stay awhile.
Raffale Gallo calls himself a 'front man'. He's been in the business since coming over to the states from the island of Capri in 1994. He started off as a waiter at Buonasera in Palm Beach and hit the big time when he opened La Contina Toscania in New York City. With the help of Chef Giuseppe Castellano and his business partner Audrey Longo, they've reinvigorated the Boat House Restaurant. The menu features fresh dishes from the Northern and Southern regions of Italy. The chef served us a tasting menu that enabled us to sample all the Italian flavors and zest the menu has to offer.
We started off the night with the Speck Wrapped Scallops with Lemon Scented Whipped Potatoes and Caviar-$13.00. This modern Italian appetizer is interesting. The soft speck bacon added just the right amount of texture to the scallops. The flavors will sequentially tantalize your pallet. The caviar added a modern twist to the dish and the lemon scented whipped potatoes finshed off the expereince pefectly. This starter is filling. Please save some room for the main courses.
For the main course we were served a Black and White Fettuccine with Crab, Lobster Meat and Pink Peppercorns-$21.00. This dish is superb, delicate and light. The plated presentation is gorgeous! All the pasta is homemade in-house.
Next we sampled the Homemade Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Sauteed Onions and Caviar-$21.00. This decadent entre is made from fresh thick spaghetti and olive oil. The smoke salmon and the caviar blended beautifully with the pasta. The use of flesh olive oil in the dish brought the entire composition together into an elegant offering. Delicious. Exquisite. Priced right.
For dessert we sampled the Torte Capresse Almond Cake with Pistachio Gelato. The recipe is from the island of Capri. The pistachio gelato is flown in from Torino, Italy. You can close your eyes and let the flavors transport you to Capri!
Next we tried the Lemon Sponge Cake with Lemon Zest. This is light desert with subtle flavors. It melts in your mouth. Delicious.
Here are some photos of what the presentations looked like:
The Boathouse Restaurant
521 Riverside Avenue
Cappesante Appetizer -$13.00
Speck Wrapped Scallops With Lemon Scented Whipped Potatoes
Carbonara Entree $21.00
Homemade Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Sauteed Onions and Caviar
Black & White Fettuccine with Crab & Lobster - Pink Peppercorns
Torte Caprese Almond Cake with Pistachio Gelato
Lemon Sponge Cake with Lemon Zest