Perfect Harmony

New Canaan’s restaurant scene gets a taste of Modern American

Featuring seasonally driven Modern American cuisine, Chef Brian Lewis’ elm restaurant is a nice complement to the growing list of dining options in New Canaan. The first day of spring (March 20) is an appropriate debut for this restaurant that’s “rooted in tradition, inspired by the seasons.”

The menu is creative yet traditional. “I love food that’s familiar, with a right hook,” says Chef/owner Lewis, formerly of The Bedford Post Inn. Offerings will change regularly to showcase locally sourced vegetables, meats, sustainably raised seafood and house-made pastas. The menu is divided into “The Sea”, “The Farm”, “Pasta”, “Fish & Shellfish”, “Meat & Poultry”, plus housemade desserts. A “Chef’s Farm Tour” includes four courses with or without wine pairings.

At a press preview of the restaurant, the food was delicious from the first taste of caviar brioche (caviar and fresh beets in a golfball-sized brioche). Leeks from Annie Farrell’s Millstone Farm in Wilton—part of a network of farms that Chef Lewis will source for ingredients whenever possible—topped foie gras on toast.

Walnut tables, custom artwork, a pewter bar (Bastille Metal Works) and sophisticated lighting (love the Edra Campana lamps over the chef’s table) add up to a cozy yet elegant dining experience. But don’t get the impression that this is strictly a “special occasion” restaurant. Chef Lewis emphasizes that his “guests” should be comfortable here any night of the week. Between the diversity of the menu and the configuration of the space, this is destined to be an all-occasion place for anything from a quick bite right off the train or an intimate meal for two to a dinner party for 12 at the chef’s table.

Elm, 73 Elm St., New Canaan, 203-920-4994, Opening for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. 85 seats include 45 in the main dining area, 10 at the bar, bar booth seating for 15, 12 at the chef’s table, four at the chefs tasting counter with views into the kitchen.