French restaurants often get a bad rap, but maybe there’s a reason for that. Many of them give off a snooty, better-than-you, hands-off, 1% kind of vibe. Plus, you need to be prepared to foot a major bill that may require you to sell off one of your kidneys at the end of the whole experience. But, then there are some really great French restaurants that offer an authentic experience without all that baggage. And, yes, Bistro Versailles in Greenwich is one of those great places.
Recently, we attended their La Soirée Printanière event to celebrate the start of spring. The dinner consisted of 8 courses that were paired with 7 different French wines: yeah, they definitely went all out. But before we even dug into that they kicked things off with a few different hors d’oeuvre like freshly smoked salmon and pate on toast, a rich and flavorful housemade chorizo with flavorful chayote, and a cocktail made of pureed cantaloupe, rum, and orange. All the small bites were tasty and the cocktail was very refreshing, with an exotic, on the beach in Cannes taste to it (or at least that’s what we imagine a drink on the beach in Cannes tastes like–hopefully next year we’ll find out for sure).
That title is pretty much ’nuff said for our review of Sunday brunch at Amore Cucina & Bar (11-3), but in typical OmNomCT style, we’re going to give ya every mouth-watering detail just in case you’re one of those people that needs to see their odds of a killer meal before they place their bets on a new spot.
First off, let’s talk drinks. In addition to their regular drink menu, they also have a plethora of brunch must-haves: a soon-to-be famous bloody Mary bar with 40 different toppings and bottomless mimosas and bellinis in various flavors for $15. Then they get even more creative with some surprises: Magic Milk, featuring brandy, milk, vanilla bean, and chocolate, and different shots too, including a breakfast shot, which Chef Jared Falco (a French Culinary Institute grad and former Executive Chef at Washington Prime) lined up for us a couple times throughout our brunch. This shot is like buttah, made of Jameson Irish Whiskey and butterscotch, chased with a shot of OJ. Yeah, that goes down waaaaaaaay too easy.
When we heard a brunch buffet was coming to SoNo we had our doubts. When we hear the word buffet we get an immediate scowl on our faces. I mean let’s face it, there are plenty ‘o crappy buffets out there, packed full of stale, processed, fatty, fried, foods that are luke warm at best. On the flip side, we love us some brunch . . . except for the price tag that often comes along with it. So we figured, if the brunch buffet was actually going to be any good, well, then we assumed it was going to cost a stupid amount of money. Here’s the thing though (spoiler alert), the brunch at Washington Prime was actually delish AND, at just $29.95 a person, yep you read that right, it’s frickin’ dirt cheap. Especially when you see what that gets you. Let’s do this . . .
What’s better than a wonderfully relaxing weekend getaway at a charming inn and spa in beautiful costal Connecticut? Oh, you know, a wonderfully relaxing weekend getaway at a charming inn and spa in beautiful coastal Connecticut, centered entirely around amazing food! Yeah, that’s happening at Saybrook Point Inn and Spa in Old Saybrook and you need to get in on it, stat!
Saybrook Point Inn and Spa’s Food Lovers Weekends offer “food enthusiasts” an amazing opportunity to go behind the scenes of their highly acclaimed casual fine dining restaurant, Fresh Salt. Executive Chef Leslie Tripp and his team will be your tour guide through the whole experience, not only telling you about the restaurant’s philosophy and practices with local farmers and food suppliers, but also walking your through, step by step, how to create culinary masterpieces. You know you’re in great hands with Chef Tripp since he’s a graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and spent some time at Michelin Starred Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in England alongside our hero, Gordon Ramsay, when he was just a sous chef for the legendary Master Chef, Raymond Blanc.
Near the end of an epic Saturday with our buddies Alicia and Renato, we stopped by the newly opened Bear’s Smokehouse in Hartford. Perhaps by some divine work of Bacchus, god of gluttony, we saw a parking spot right outside the restaurant and snagged it. You know, we figured the closer the better, so we could roll ourselves out the car after we devoured ribs, pulled pork, Paw Paw’s poutine, and a ton of sides.
The cool thing here about Bear’s Smokehouse is they serve up super high-end tasting BBQ in a super low-key atmosphere—cafeteria style, in fact. You just line up, think about all the food that you can handle, order, then bring it back to a table either downstairs, upstairs, or in the summer out on the rooftop BBQ garden owner and Pit Master Jamie “The Bear” McDonald plans to open. Yeah, the same Bear who won the 21st Wing Bowl by annihilating 287 wings in just 30 minutes. To find out more about his competitive eating gastronomic victories, check out his site. And, if you feel daring, you could challenge him to an eating contest on the spot or even try to down the Bearwich for a shot at $500.
In December of 2004, Bill Rizzuto started Rizzuto’s in Bethel. The menu featured good, classic Italian dishes paired with brick oven pies fresh out of the oven. As the success for the Bethel restaurant grew, Bill expanded Rizzuto’s into West Hartford, Westport, and Stamford. With expansion also came evolution, as they began to focus more on small plates, drink selection, and new concepts like recently adding more of a sports vibe to their Stamford spot.
To celebrate their continued success, Bill and everybody at Rizzuto’s Bethel will be offering up deals from 1/25-2/21 (not including Valentine’s Day). Lunch will cost you just $10 ($1 for every year) and dinner will set you back only $20.04 (2004, get it?)
Rizzuto’s Bethel is located at 6 Stony Hill Road.
The OLD Georgetown Saloon was known for that no frills, down and dirty, neighborhood dive bar vibe that locals can’t get enough of. The NEW Georgetown Saloon still is that, but this time around new owner, Chris Forland, and new chef, John Brennan (formerly Executive Chef of Plan B Burger Bar) kicked it up about a million notches with kickass, modern comfort food and creative cocktails that fit the vibe perfectly. So in honor of that super chill vibe, let’s just get down and dirty with the experience, food, and cocktails.
From what our friends tell us, the restaurant itself still has a lot of the same decor elements it had back in the day, but Chef Brennan himself amped it up by picking out some new, fun, modern additions (like graffiti), perfecting that neighborhood, roadhouse vibe that makes you want to hang there all night. There’s still a great stage for fun entertainment (we were there for Open Mic Night on Thursday) and TVs for the sports lovers. In fact, once the word gets out about all the new awesomeness Georgetown Saloon has to offer, we can see this place getting PACKED with fun entertainment every night.
Look, there are tons of Italian restaurants in CT, especially in Fairfield County. Some of ’em you can love, some you can just like, and some you can say aren’t even as good as Olive Garden (and that’s saying something). Well, after our press dinner we think Brick + Wood, the newest Italian spot to open in Fairfield in November 2014, is one you can love. We’re gonna break down the reasons why . . .
When we lived in Westport back in ’04, we became rabid sushi eaters. A typical week saw us picking up or getting sushi delivery at least twice a week. You might say we had a problem, though we’re sure Matsu Sushi didn’t think so since we usually got it from them! They were not only conveniently located right down the street, but their sushi was always fresh and delicious.
But, it’s been a loooong while since we’d been, so long in fact that we hadn’t realized that when we were invited to check out Matsu, that this was the restaurant we had always ordered from. Quite a happy coincidence!
Parking was very easy across the street at the Library (which we *think* is legal after hours, but we can’t be held accountable if not, lol). That particular night we had the pleasure of dining with one of the owners, Paul Teoh and his partner. They took us through their menu, their history, sushi culture, and seemingly every single dish on their menu.
So let’s dive in…
Although we’ve always been obsessed with discovering and sharing great places to dine out in CT, back in 2006 (when we lived in Black Rock) we were just developing our professional eating and dining abilities. We’d check out the hottest spots in the area, and (of course) we’d also try out the newest restaurants. One such restaurant was Viale, which we saw being built, start to finish. Ever the intrepid explorers, we had a meal during the first few weeks of their opening. While we didn’t remember all the details of our first meal so many years ago, we do remember the meal to be decent, but no amazing.
Now, fast forward to a few weeks back when we were invited to come in and try Viale again. We were very interested to see if things were the same or if they’d improved, especially now that we have so many great places to compare it to.