UPDATE: Please note that as of April 2009, Fraiche Restaurant is closed.
The Fairfield restaurant scene has always been reliably good, if not always exciting. However, in recent years, several newer restaurants have received quite a bit of attention. Many of these buzz-worthy eateries were almost destined to succeed. Hotspots like Pepe’s Pizza, Barcelona, and The Beach Café already cracked the code to success in other Connecticut towns before hitting Fairfield. Other newcomers including Osianna and Café 4 Quattro became instantly popular thanks to the huge following developed by their winning sister restaurant, Quattro Pazzi.
Fraiche (pronounced “fresh”), is the newest eatery sure to become a new favorite among Fairfielders. While the modern, American restaurant is the first solo-venture for Chef Marc Lippman, it definitely has the recipe for success: great location, fantastic ambiance, an exciting menu, and an experienced chef.
Located at 75 Hillside Road in Greenfield Hill (the former site of La Colline Verte ), Fraiche is dressed to impress. Brooklyn-based design firm, John Loecke Inc., completely transformed the space In order to give an “urban farmhouse” feel to the interior. Rustic furniture and modern accents adorn the two dining rooms, which feature stone walls and birch-patterned wall coverings. The tables, which were handmade in the Catskill Mountains, are created from reclaimed barn wood, and farmhouse-inspired wire chandeliers line the ceiling. The chocolate brown and smoky blue palate give the entire space an updated, contemporary feel, and create a cozy setting in which to sample Lippman’s modern-American fare.
The menu is described as “market driven”, and therefore will change seasonally. To coincide with the opening, Lippman has designed an eclectic, fall-themed menu with signature dishes like Fresh Maine Scallops with Black Truffles and Sunchoke Puree, and Free-Range Axis Venison Loin with Quince Jam and Butternut Squash-Brussels Sprout Hash with Smoked Bacon. If that sounds too fancy for you, have no fear….the menu also includes a 100% Kobe Beef Cheeseburger with Fries, Heirloom Chicken with Potatoes and Roasted Root Vegetables, and a Prime New York Strip Steak with Mashed Potatoes as well. “I really wanted to balance out ‘casual-elegance’,” states Lippman. He adds that his hope is that Fraiche becomes a true “neighborhood restaurant” where people can simply drop in for a burger with their kids (there will be a children’s menu too), but will also want to return for that special occasion meal.
Lippman’s culinary career has taken him all over the world. After graduating from La Varenne Ecole De Cuisine in France, he worked at top restaurants in Paris, New York and Miami. Later, after serving nearly three years as the as Executive Chef at one of Mexico’s most luxurious five-star resorts, Lippman’s wife and PR manager, Karen, gave birth to their first child. This prompted a move back to the States, and after landing the position of Executive Chef at the popular seafood restaurant, Ocean Drive, in South Norwalk, Lippman and his family decided to settle in Connecticut.
Four years and another child later, Lippman decided it was time to break out on his own. “It was really a family-motivated decision,” he states. Wanting to be closer to home in order to spend more quality time with his wife and children, he searched for the perfect space for over a year. “I was looking mainly in the Fairfield/Westport area, and when I came upon this location, I really could see beyond the space,” he states. “It was definitely the best location for me.”
As Fairfield becomes more of an eating-destination than ever before, Fraiche is a welcome addition to the many new and exciting restaurants to open their doors this year. Early indications are that Marc Lippman’s inspired, seasonal menu will entice Fairfielders back again and again.
Fraiche is located at 75 Hillside Road in Fairfield and is open for dinner only, beginning at 5:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday. Appetizers range from $9 - $18, entrees from $16 - $36, and desserts are $9. For reservations, please call 203.256.5744.
Check out the New York Times review of Fraiche, which appeared on February 17, 2008.
Photos courtesy of Fraiche Restaurant.