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A Taste Of France At Ondine Restaurant



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A Taste Of France

At Ondine Restaurant

Fanciers of fine French food have voted Ondine the best French restaurant in Fairfield County in Connecticut magazine’s annual reader poll every year since 1998. Located on Route 37 near the Danbury/New Fairfield border, the restaurant is perched on a hillside 3.6 miles north of Exit 6 off of I-84 and overlooks Margerie Lake Reservoir.

Opened by Dieter Thiel in 1985, Ondine is advertised as being “Like a postcard from France.”

The stone and pink stucco building with white and green trim is surrounded by greenery and an abundance of flowers, including several hanging baskets on the full-width porch in the warmer weather. A stone staircase opens onto the porch; there is also a ground level entry on the side.

The elegant dining room with crisp white linens, fine china, and fresh flowers on every table seats about 60. The restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 9:30, Sunday brunch from 11:30 to 2, and Sunday dinner from 5 to 8. It is closed Monday and Tuesday.

The menu, which changes seasonally, is available à la carte or as a five-course prix fixe dinner for $55.

About half the entrees diners choose are seafood based, but Mr Thiel notes he serves a lot of venison in the summer, and some diners come in for the veal tenderloin or sweetbreads.

In general, the menu features a choice of at least ten appetizers, three soups, about a dozen entrees, and up to ten desserts. Appetizers currently range from escargots, $9, to American Sturgeon Caviar with garnish and blinis, $27. Other offerings included mussels prepared four ways, $13, Scandinavian style cured salmon, $13, and poached pear salad, $9. The soups are cream of white asparagus with crisp capers, consommé of wild mushrooms, and cream of mussels with saffron, $7–$9.

Among the entrees ($24–$36) are Monkfish sauté with tarragon topped with Sturgeon caviar, salsify and hen of the woods, $28; rack of lamb in herb crust, $29; duckling roasted with peaches and pink peppercorns rack, $30; and tenderloin of veal medallions, $29. The dessert selection features assorted cheeses, lemon tart, and chocolate tort with cherries and marzipan, as well as three soufflés ($7.50–$11). There is an additional $4 charge for the soufflés with the prix fixe dinner.

The Sunday brunch is a three-course meal, prix fixe at $30. Offered are a first course choice of six appetizers, such as escargots or game pâté, and two soups, onion and cream of escarole. The nine entrees include poached eggs on crab cake, petite filet mignon, lamb chops, and sweetbreads, and the desserts include chocolate marquis, poached pear, and croissant bread pudding.

Ondine has a fine wine selection of some 250 labels, predominately French and Californian and 15 of which are available by the glass, to complement its food. The full menu and wine list can be viewed at Ondine’s website, www.OndineRestaurant.com.

Ondine, 69 Pembroke Road (Route 37) in Danbury; 746-4900; Zagat rated. Open Wednesday–Saturday, 5:30 to 9:30; Sunday brunch, 11:30 to 2, and dinner, 5 to 8. All major credit cards accepted.

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