Infusing New England traditions with french flair at Artisan Restaurant
photograph by Eric Laignel
If you haven’t seen your neighbors lately, it’s probably because they are at the latest hotspot in Southport—Artisan restaurant at the Delamar hotel. Co-owners Charles Mallory and Rick Wahlstedt partnered with Chef Frederic Kieffer to open a stylish restaurant with a seasonally inspired, farm-to-table menu that’s got everyone in town coming back for more.
Don’t be surprised if you run into a familiar face from the business, political, philanthropic, and culinary circles of our community. On a seasonal evening, you and your guests will probably enjoy the spacious outdoor eating area and bar. If there’s a chill in the air, head indoors for one of the cozy tables. Warm or cold, expect company. Even on a Sunday night, this restaurant is hopping with a fully booked reservation list. People, it seems, had been waiting for this restaurant to open for a long time, and now that the doors are flung open, hungry gourmets are going to patronize it regularly.
When you come inside, consider settling into the Tavern room, which is located right off the outdoor area. This thoughtfully appointed room balances contemporary furnishings with eighteenth-century Scandinavian design. Colorful Swedish fabrics, oxidized mirror panels, and copper-string chandeliers are integrated throughout and alongside the fantastic Parisian pewter-top bar. On the other side of the room is the perfect nestling spot for a cold winter night; a kakelugh, or Swedish tile stove, warms this corner, creating an intimate space for small bites and cocktails.
Two murals that adorn both the Tavern room and formal dining room add another element of artistic delight. These large works were created by Swedish muralist and painter Jonas Wickman, who, for this permanent collection, focused on tulips and magnolias, adding femininity to the space. The four distinct areas of Artisan—outdoor bar and eating area, tavern, lounge, and formal dining space with a private dining room, known as the Copper Room, which seats ten—each offer a different ambience that is contemporary and elegant.
ON THE MENU
Chef Kieffer’s menu focuses on locally grown and sourced ingredients to create unexpected, elevated dishes. For starters, we tried the fried pickles with herbal ranch dressing and the pork croquettes served with tarter sauce. Both of these were interesting and delicious. The freshly fried pickles offered the perfect balance of tang, crunch and coolness thanks to the dipping sauce. The pork croquettes, served with tarter sauce, were succulent from the eight hours’ cooking time and slightly crisp from the bread crumbs. Pork and tarter sauce? Absolutely.
Photograph by Hildi Todrin
Now that the season is turning colder, be sure to try Artisan’s version of the nostalgic tomato soup and sandwich from the starter menu. The soup is made with roasted tomatoes and served with a toasted sandwich filled with smoked bacon and artisanal American cheese. Another signature dish is the New England Cioppino, or fish stew; the lobster broth elevates the dish with hints of brandy and wine. This dinner sized portion uses a white fish (whatever the catch of the day is), along with a combination of shellfish, like scallops and clams.
When it comes to the main course, anticipate delightful pairings. For example, the sea scallops are pan-seared and plated with a fragrant citrus brown butter, hen of the woods mushrooms and English peas, while the brined Berkshire pork chop is served with smashed fingerlings and grilled asparagus in a hard cider jus. Those seeking comfort food will be undoubtedly drawn to the beef pot roast with creamy whipped potatoes and roasted vegetables.
Save room for dessert. The vanilla cheesecake is light as air and topped with a single layer of rich caramel and a sprinkling of sea salt. One bite will have you believing that everything is right in the world. Another treat is the sorbet. “The Delight” is a four-scoop combination of raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry sorbet, plus cheesecake ice cream, all topped with a muscatel glaze. With fruit in each spoonful, this is a fresh, light ending to an artfully inspired meal.
Delamar Hotel Southport
275 Old Post Rd.
B: Mon.–Sun. 7 a.m.–10 a.m.
L: Mon.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
D: Sun.–Thurs. 5:30 p.m.–10:30 pm;
Fri.–Sat. 5:30 p.m.–11:30 p.m.
Brunch: Sun. 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
*Tavern is open until 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends