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Eat Like a King at Versailles

The art of the bistro is one the French have perfected. It’s also one of their greatest exports. Ex-pat and Executive Chef, Pierre Bagnato, has mastered this art and presents it daily at his recently renovated bistro, Versailles.

“We spent ten months redoing the space,” says the charming Chef Bagnato, “We reopened on the 30th anniversary of the restaurant. Versailles has been here 30 years, so it was very important to me to reopen on that day.”

The new Greenwich space is head and shoulders above the old, which was lovely. Now, however, a raised ceiling gives the dining room a grander feel. Red walls and a corner bar add warmth to this elegant space. One thing hasn’t changed: the pastries remain displayed in a case at the front, almost irresistible for their authenticity.

What French bistro is complete without onion soup? Chef Bagnato’s is heaven in a bowl. A thick layer of melted emmental cheese, topped with croutons, covers the caramelized onion broth. The crunch of the croutons on top plays well against the softness of the soup-soaked baguette at the bottom of the bowl. And because Chef Bagnato is generous with the cheese, there’s enough to make sure you get some of the gooey, savory goodness with every bite. If it weren’t so filling, you’d find yourself contemplating ordering a second. You may still.

Buckwheat Crêpes are a must-try on the lunch menu. The buckwheat adds a layer of nutty flavor, a delicious twist on this standard French fare. Stuffed with things like asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes, or prosciutto, roasted onions, wild mushrooms and fresh goat cheese, these crêpes are proof positive that the French do comfort food better than just about anyone.

If you’re not ready to indulge in all that melted cheese, first, I would urge you to reconsider. But if you simply cannot be persuaded, the Cleopatra salad with asparagus and grilled chicken is lighter alternative on the lunch menu. This is a true entrée salad, bursting with flavor. Onion, paper thin cucumber slices, asparagus, grapefruit, green apple, and sliced grape tomatoes are served over a bed of friséé and mesculin and topped with moist grilled chicken.

If you don’t save room for a pastry, you should at least indulge in a coffee. The espresso at Versailles tastes like you ordered it in the town of Versailles, which is simply to say that it is delightfully French and not at all bitter. One sip and you may have found your new favorite coffee shop.

Much has changed at Versailles, including the address. Find the new Versailles at 339 Greenwich Avenue, in Greenwich. Stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Call (203) 661-6634 to make a reservation.

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