Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Local Favorite

As new parents, date nights are rare so you want to make the most of it.  K and I got the opportunity last night to get out of the house so we tried a restaurant I've been dying to go to for a while: Chris's American Restaurant on Federal Rd in Brookfield.  I'm really excited to report that this quaint little restaurant did not disappoint. 

Chef Owner Chris Bruno has clearly poured his heart and soul into this restaurant and has reason to be proud of his 19 years of work and the resulting menu which is inventive and varied--I'm loving the international influences, particularly Asian.  (More on the food in a minute.)  The space is small but cozy and we loved the fireplace and candles.  It was a little disappointing to be seated at the smallest table in the corner of a nearly empty dining room, however it quickly became clear that was necessary as the place filled up--surprising on a Wednesday night during a supposed recession!  The by-the-glass wine list was small but clearly well thought out and I chose the Harlow Ridge Pinot Noir (with which I was extremely pleased) and K had a Bass. 

It was hard to choose off the extremely interesting menu, but we started off with the Avocado "Carpaccio" which was great.  Plated like you expect carpaccio to be, it consisted, of course, of thin slices of avocado, but the sauces and condiments were clever and delicious--rice wine vinaigrette, wasabi mayoinnaise, and soy mirin, along with pickled ginger, nori strips, and cucumber salad.  I was really pleased.  We followed that up with Chicken Ferrara (tender chicken with spinach, mushrooms, roasted peppers, sherry and cream over penne) and Wok Fried Panko Crusted Tilapia (perfectly cooked with red chile sauce, Japanese black rice and baby bok choy--which was a tiny too undercooked for me, but that's a personal preference.)  We really enjoyed every bite, which means the portions were right on, too.  I did have to add salt and pepper to the chicken ferrara--and it's extremely rare for me to salt anything--but that did the trick.  Oh and the entrees came with a delicious salad and house vinaigrette--sadly, a complimentary salad that the chef actually takes pride in is something that is all too rare these days.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to stay for dessert, but I'll report on that the next time we go, which hopefully will be soon.

As for service, we can't complain--one of the best things was that the server knew the menu which is extremely important to me, and usually is to chefs but the passion for the food doesn't always translate to the front of the house.  I'm glad it does at Chris's.  Oh and thank goodness they marked our table (took our used utensils and brought new between the courses)--why in the world is this still the exception as opposed to the rule?  I did have to ask for a to go box as I was not offered one, but I think we threw the server  for a loop by asking for the check before we were finished eating--hey, we were enjoying ourselves but this was date night and there was a movie to catch!  Next time we'll make a point to linger longer.

So check out Chris's website at (you'll need some time to decide what you want...but don't forget the menu is printed daily and might have even more choices) and then head over to the restaurant for a great dining experience.  From the site to the ambience to the food and even the plating, the attention to detail at this restaurant is really inspiring.  Let me know what you have and how you liked it!