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Roasted cod, haricot vert, celeriac noodle, olive gremolata & chive beure blanc.

Featured Article

The Chef is In Her House

Allium Eatery Comforts and Charms

Article by Robin Moyer Chung

Photography by Norah Harrington

Originally published in Westport Lifestyle

“This is my house - not just because we live here all day,” smiles Michelle Greenfield, chef/owner of Allium Eatery.

In fact, dining at Allium is very much like being in a friend’s home. You know, a friend who lives in a lovely home and cooks wonderful meals in a peapod-sized kitchen for a constant stream of guests and still manages to keep everything spotless.

Allium is her inaugural eatery, after working at Bernard’s in Ridgefield, with Bill Taibe in Jesup Hall, and as chef at Schoolhouse at Cannondale. Tucked into the end of Saugatuck’s Railroad Place, it’s tiny, pretty, and lauded for its fresh, creative cuisine.

We meet Michelle shortly after noon, plant ourselves at the bar, then pepper her with questions. She’s a fan of Sports Hill Farm (“Best vegetables ever - I love Patti!”). She enjoys constant change. She creates her own mocktails and cocktails, her most recent being “Honey, Honey."

Still chatting, she turns and pours a glass of wine, then politely excuses herself to ring up a tab, bring menus to diners who’ve just arrived, then returns with our salads.

We resume our barrage of savvy and insightful queries (“Wait, what’s the name of your wallpaper?”) when a sudden influx of diners interrupts us. So we turn to our lunches - an excellent rotisserie artisanal chicken on baby greens with herby cream, bacon, fennel, cucumber, and pickled shallot, and smoked fish with crème fraîche, whipped smoked fish, dill, shaved radish, celery, and arugula. Yes, they’re delicious and live up to the hype.

Despite Michelle doing seemingly everything, Allium isn’t a one-woman show. It’s all of a two-woman show. Norah Harrington, sous chef and a former Newtown High School culinary student of Michelle’s, is hidden in the little kitchen preparing meals while the restaurant hums for lunch and through the dinner rush.

Growing up, Greenfield family dinners were important. “We’re an Italian American household, always feeding and hosting. We always had 40 people at Thanksgiving dinners.”

As for parental support, she recalls the special horror of her dad dragging her into the inner sanctums of restaurants to scope out their kitchens. When she turned 16, her parents began ferrying her to every cooking gig she could find, like omelet stations, unaware that she sometimes cut school for jobs.

Some weekends, you can find her mom waiting tables and her dad pouring ‘tails.

For the most part, though, it’s just Michelle and Norah and 16-hour days that Michelle describes as “Fun!” Her collected exterior conceals an amperage that could power a rock concert.

Oh - I’d be remiss if I didn’t circle back to the poultry. “We always have rotisserie chicken,” she explains. “It’s comforting and familiar but how we prepare - just a sec, I have to check these people out.” She politely excuses herself.

She comes back and continues, “[With rotisserie chicken] we can be adventurous and have one safe option.” “Adventurous” referring to antelope tartare, ostrich squab, venison… her game night dinner ain’t no Yahtzee party.

These chickens are the only constant Allium has served since it opened in 2021 and remain one of the most popular items. If you’re hanging near the train station around dinnertime, you can score a chicken and whatever potatoes and green vegetable she whips up that afternoon for $32. (This jazzes me because I fear the ways in which I’d ruin an upscale chicken.)

A friendly man, who we learn is Simon Bowden, Head Baker at Leaven & Co. - one of NYC’s top artisanal bakeries - pops in with gorgeous boules of sourdough, the only edible not made in-house. He hands us WLM folks a boule to bring home. “I only work with nice people,” Michelle says.

The lunch crowd is thinning. Before we leave, I ask Norah if she enjoys her work. She smiles shyly and exclaims, “I love it! I do.”

54 Railroad Place, Westport

(203) 557-3060

  • Nora Harrington and Michelle Greenfield with sourdough boules.
  • Celeriac fazzoletti, collard green pesto, black truffle.
  • Roasted cod, haricot vert, celeriac noodle, olive gremolata & chive beure blanc.
  • Morels, asparagus, lavender oil brodo & egg yolk.
  • Foie gras mousse, rhubarb variation, almond & strawberry preserve.
  •  Jumbo white asparagus, crispy phyllo, tarragon goat cheese & ramp dust.
  • Rhubarb & salted caramel tart, creme anglaise.
  • Lemon tart, toasted swiss meringue.
  • Bronzino, baby turnip variation,  black garlic brod.
  • Rotisserie chicken dinner for take away.
  •  Simon’s bread with basil butter, pecan lemon oil.
  • Outdoor eating in warm weather.
  • Foie gras mousse, blood orange, pepitas & pickled squash.