Located in Old Saybrook.
Attached to the Country Barn Furniture store on Main Street, Aspen is dining in a slightly upscale, but still relaxed atmosphere.
The dining room is modern, but still warm with it's earth tone appointments.
Though it's a tiny bit noisy, the menu reassures you that you are not in a typical Friday night grille.
It's more lively than loud.
Not surprisingly, seafood offerings are prominent on the bill of fare. Certainly this is not unusual in a shoreline New England town.
Appetizers include grilled tiger shrimp, the ubiquitous clam chowder, calamari, yellow fin tuna, and lump crab cakes.
I started with the pan seared foie gras, I seem to always start with foie gras, served with a brioche crouton, pear marmalade and a cherry reduction.
My wife ordered the grilled hearts of romaine salad with pancetta and dill and avocado dressing.
We were offered bread, but had to ask our server for bread plates.
The bread came with a very nice, creamy butter.
My foie gras was very tasty, no complaints, but not the best I've had.
My wife was served the wrong salad, and debated whether to have this error corrected.
Thank goodness she did. The grilled hearts of romaine she had served as proof that not all salads are created equal.
Lovely flavor, it put in the mind of a nice steak!
For mains, I had the braised pork shank with parmesan polenta, roccolini, and rich red wine veal jus; my wife, the seared monkfish medallions truffled potato gnocchi, brussel sprouts, and brown butter with lemon sauce.
Now, I am of the opinion that any thing braised should simply fall apart with moist succulence simply when you look at; and though the meat did fall off the bone, it was not as moist as I would preferred, though the flavor was fine, if subtle. The polenta with veal jus was fantastic.
My wife's monkfish was also slightly overcooked but still good. The truffled gnocchi was, to my taste, overpowering, but she enjoyed it.
Again, we had a white wine from the San Cerre region of France and it did not disappoint.
For desert, I had the chocolate bombe, which was rich, creamy chocolately goodness.
So, the shoreline now has a nice addition to its fine dining roster.