Arethusa Al Tavolo
Thinking about a Sunday drive with a sweet finish? Head to Bantam (with a stop in Woodbury for some antiquing) and Arethusa al Tavolo. This chic and sophisticated hotspot is the brainchild of two Manolo Blahnik execs. When an ancient farm across the street from their country weekend getaway came up for grabs, they snapped it up to maintain their view and, voila! All of a sudden they were in the dairy biz. For them, it’s all about the cows. Their award winning herd of Holsteins, Jerseys and Brown Swiss are prized worldwide and spoiled silly (we hear they’re shampooed!). But over-the-top care creates old fashioned taste and that’s what the owners are after. We could have toured the immaculate barns and seen for ourselves, but we were there to EAT! After obsessing for a few minutes over the perfect pale yellow paint color on the walls (of course), we settled into the cozy leather banquettes for a lazy Saturday lunch. A platter of charcuterie with Arethusa’s fresh farm cheeses and wedges of country pate got us off to a happy start. Then on to a picture perfect chopped beet salad sprinkled with micro greens, before an absolutely delightful main dish of butter-poached salmon perched on a potato latke and topped with one flawless poached egg. (If you ask me, everything is improved by a butter bath!). Joe was torn between veal sweetbreads (really?) and a classic Cuban sandwich, prepared here with the farm’s very own Crybaby cheese). The Cuban won out: heritage pork and ham pressed inside a sweet bun with a pile of crispy plaintain fries alongside. Lovely, leisurely service and a surprise greeting by the affable owners almost completed our heavenly meal, but here, you can’t miss dessert. Arethusa is known for their indulgent ice creams. Some sweet chocolate for me, and delightfully bitter coffee for him, plus a trio of doughnuts to split. Of course that didn’t keep us from running next door to load up on farm goodies: coffee milk, several pints of ice cream (peppermint fans be forewarned, their version is epic!), a wedge of that Crybaby cheese and a pint of fresh farm butter. What a day.
Good to know: We won’t have to drive so far to stock up on ice cream and butter: Arethusa is opening a dairy on Chapel Street in New Haven in March.