Cafe Routier Bistro & Lounge (Westbrook)

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We’d heard great things about Cafe Routier and finally gave it a try last night for dinner.  Instead of eating in the dining room we opted for a table by the bar for a more casual dining experience and for an opportunity to order off the tapas/small plates menu in addition to the regular menu.

The bar area was dimly lit and had an intimate feel.  We arrived at 6:30 and got a table right away, the one by the entryway into the main dining room.  As it was Saturday, the place was pretty full to begin with but got much busier after we arrived.  We placed our orders for Roasted Blue Point Oysters with Bacon Leek Butter and Lemon-Thyme Salt off the regular menu, and got two things off the tapas/small plates menu:  the Kobe Slider Trio and the Bulgogi.

The waiter asked if we wanted bread while we waited and I am glad we did because the bread tasted freshly baked and was warm like it had just came out of the oven.  It was served with a high quality fruity olive oil.  Our oysters arrived shortly after and they were wonderful.  I tend to be a raw oyster purist so, truth be told, I was a little concerned that I might be disappointed, but I was not at all.  The essence of the oyster was not lost at all, and if anything, the cooking method and combination of ingredients enhanced it.

Then came the Kobe Slider Trio.  On the menu the words Bacon and Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions and Jack Cheese, and Foie Gras Mousse caught my eye.  It was this dish that helped me decide whether to have dinner at Cafe Routier or another upscale Shoreline restaurant.  When the sliders arrived the first was topped with blue cheese and bacon, the second caramelized onions, and the third foie gras mousse.  All were excellent.  I asked for medium doneness and the meat on all three of the sliders were perfectly bright pink in the center with juice oozing into the bread with each bite.  Phenomenal.  I loved the variety of flavors.

My boyfriend enjoyed his Bulgogi.  I thought it was strange that they’d have this Korean dish here, but they really did it well.  It was presented elegantly in a medium-sized white bowl chock full of Korean BBQ beef and stir-fried vegetables mixed into noodles. I had a bite, and it was so good, I had to have another.

For dessert we shared the New Orleans Bread Pudding with a Bourbon Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream.  This was a generous serving of buttery and custardy bread pudding swimming in a delicious sweet bourbon sauce that complemented it nicely.  A handful of candied pecans surrounded the bread pudding and bourbon sauce love, and on top of all this, a big scoop of very good vanilla ice cream.  All the ingredients came together beautifully in this dessert, the candied pecans really bringing it all together.  Superb.  We were very happy with our first time at Cafe Routier and look forward to a return visit.

1353 Boston Post Rd
Westbrook, CT 06498
(860) 399-8700


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