This Mediterranean bistro in Darien blends the best of French and Lebanese fare
Rack of lamb with a mustard and breadcrumb crust
As Darien’s dining scene continues to heat up, Café D’Azur brings two new cuisines to the mix. The Mediterranean bistro, located in the heart of downtown Darien, blends traditional French and Lebanese fare. This culinary combo reflects the background of the restaurant’s dynamic chef duo. Executive Chef Regis Saget grew up on a vineyard in southern France and counts La Colline Vert in Fairfield and Versailles in Greenwich among his previous posts, while Chef Joseph Jabbour has been cooking his native Lebanese dishes around the world for some fifty years, most recently at Myrna’s in Stamford.
If you’re longing for a French meal that’s pure Paris bistro, you’ll find all the classics here—from foie gras to beef bourguignon to apple tartine. But don’t miss out on the Lebanese delicacies, which are among the menu’s highlights. Starters range from a basic hummus to sardines topped with greens over an eggplant caviar on crostini. The escargots were my favorite French appetizer, a real treat in a garlicky butter sauce; among the Lebanese-inspired starters, I loved the creamy, zingy baba ghannouj, roasted eggplant blended with tahini sauce and lemon.
For seafood fans the bouillabaisse is a standout entrée. With its delicate broth—not overly salty or heavy as some versions tend to be—the dish is piled with shrimp, salmon, scallops and mussels as well as beautifully shaped vegetables, including zucchini rounds and crisp summer squash. Another gratifying choice is the bronzini, which has a slightly crispy skin and is served with a vegetable salsa. Lamb kebabs are noteworthy too, the meat marinated with fresh herbs and then grilled along with vegetables and served with a tangy Tzatziki.
Keeping up with the crêpes trend, Café D’Azur counts several varieties on its dessert list—I’m partial to the bananas with chocolate sauce. For a lighter, less-sweet end to the meal, you could try the katayef ashta, ricotta topped with chopped pistachios and honey, and a Turkish coffee.
980 Post Road, Darien