FAIRFIELD, Conn. – It took a lot of work and planning for owner Patrick Jean to change his Fairfield restaurant from French to a classic American steakhouse.
But once the planning was done, it took only three weeks to build a menu, redesign the dining room and kitchen and rebrand the 14-year-old French restaurant La Brasserie into the T&C Steakhouse.
“I think it was time for it,” said Jean. “I think it’s good to make some changes and to do something different, something exciting. You make people talk about it.”
And Jean is doing that by working with high-quality products and serving 28-day dry-aged steak. He said he buys it at 21-days aged but then stores it in a special freezer in the kitchen where they age it for another seven days.
“I did want to make a change but also keep the quality of food we serve,” Jean said.
One of the main reasons Jean said he made the change was because he saw a shift in the demographics of Fairfield residents since he opened La Brasserie in 1999.
“At the time, if you wanted to have good food you went to a French restaurant or an Italian restaurant, today it's different,” Jean said. “Today, there are a lot of good restaurants, and it doesn’t have to be French and younger people don’t know French and they are scared of French.”
For head chef Winnie Togonon, the new T&C Steakhouse is a chance to be creative. He has spent the last 20 years working with Bobby Van’s Steakhouses in New York, so he knows his way around a steak.
“I’ve been consulting for steakhouses for the last 10 years,” Togonon said. “It’s not just a steak restaurant, they expanded the menu to cater to a wide range of tastes," something both Togonon and Jean agreed they needed to do.
“It’s a classic American steakhouse with a twist,” Togonon said.
He started cooking in the Philippines and then studied in Japan, he said, something that Jean said can be seen in little ways throughout the menu.
And so far, Jean said the rebranded restaurant has been well received, gaining new customers and keeping its regulars.
It will be opening for lunch starting Monday, Oct. 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then for dinner starting at 5 p.m.