Tag Archives: 3.5 noms

Shalom in your belly – Tabouli Grill, Stamford

14 Nov

New location in Southport is now open!

Kristien and I were fans of Margot Cafe in the Bull’s Head shopping center on High Ridge for quite a while.  We hoped something good would come up in its place last year…and it did.  It’s better than good, though.  Tabouli Grill proves to keep the same kind of quaint and charming atmosphere, but offers new fare.  Although I’ve had hummus and falafel, I can’t say that I’ve eaten at an Israeli restaurant.  Well, after going for a run this past Friday, we didn’t feel like going anywhere, so we let Tabouli Grill come to us.

When you go to Tabouli Grill, there are some key dishes that are made very well:  the falafel, the hummus, the megadarra, and the israeli salad.  This, no matter what, should be included in your meal, even if you have to eat for 10 hours to finish everything.  The falafel comes to you nice and warm, crispy on the outside, but oh so good and moist on the inside.  The megadarra is a combo of spiced rice, lentils, and the most delicate caramelized onions that taste like candy.  Finishing off, the Israeli salad has tomato, red cabbage, cucumbers, parsley, olive oil, and lemon in it, coming together to make you cry out oy vey.

I usually stick with the chicken schntizel platter (juicy breaded chicken cutlet with lemon) but I wanted to branch out and try new things.  I got the beef kabob platter with sides of megadarra and Israeli salad.  Unless you feel brave, I’d save their french fries for eating at the restaurant–they get soggy by the time you get the food delivered.  To start, the beef kabobs had nice chunks of meat that were nicely seasoned, finished off with a strong dose of clove at the end.  That touch at the end might have been a bit too strong for some, but it didn’t ruin the dish.  The peppers and onions were grilled to perfection and added great flavor to the entire dish.  The beef was a bit well for my taste, but was still tasty nonetheless.  Kristien had the chicken shawarma, which isn’t even on the menu (they always have either lamb or chicken shawarma so just ask for it).  Being a big fan of the delicious combination of tahini, hummus, lemon, garlic and a plethora of spices, Kristien thoroughly enjoyed her dish with no complaints.

We finished off our meal two hours later with the baklava.  You know that you’ve had some bad baklava when the phyllo dough crushes into your teeth and stays there for the next month, tormenting you.  But not this sweet, delicately layered dessert with a beautiful honey-sweet sauce dripping through, and had just the right amount of filling and walnuts.  This has to be added to the list of must haves because we proclaim this the best baklava that we’ve ever had.  Oh, it’s been certified by a Rabbi near where I teach.  It’s legit.

We’ll end this review with a statement that is likely to get us some hate comments: Based on the moist, delicious falafel, nicely cooked and spiced meats, amazing megadarra and the best baklava ever, Tabouli Grill, at a total of 3.5 noms, is hands-down better than Laylas Falafel.

B’taya Von!

Note:  delivery fee of $2 with a minimum order of $15.

Wine suggestions: To round out the spices, try a dry rosé, soft red like a grenache, or medium bodied white like an avellino.  We mistakenly had a slightly sweet, but spicy rosé and the sweetness didn’t work well with the lemon and caramelized onions.

Noms:  3.5

Cost:  $$

Tabouli Grill
Address:  59 High Ridge Road (Bull’s Head)
Stamford, CT 06905
Phone:  (203) 504-8888
Site:  http://tabouligrill.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tabouli-Grill/182978816688#%21/pages/Tabouli-Grill/182978816688

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New Italian spot offers inventive menu – Tappo, Stamford

7 Nov

Ah, to try new restaurants, in hopes that you might find the one that becomes your favorite, that jewel to place in your proverbial crown (or something like that).  Tappo, only opened a few weeks ago, and based on our friend Dave’s recommendation, we were really wishing this would be true.  When we arrived, we were struck by how nicely the dining room was decorated.  The space is small, with a limited amount of tables.  We checked in with reservations, but still had to wait, though the hostess was very friendly about it.

To start, we ordered the Insalata di Rucola con Pomodorini e Scaglie:  arugula, cherry tomatoes, and shaved grana.  The lemony/acidic hints of the dressing were cut nicely by the earthy and sharp taste of the grana cheese.  By itself this was a very good salad, but we added the softest, most delicate Prosciutto di San Daniele from their nice menu of Italian meats.  Making this combination ourselves was good and made up for a limited amount of salads to choose from.

For my main dish, I didn’t have much trouble deciding on the Guanciale pizza.  This dish really had everything that I love in the world on it:  browned fingerling potatoes, cured Italian bacon, white cheese sauce, and a sprinkle of truffle oil.  Start with a light, fluffy crust that isn’t too thick or too thin.  It reminded me of the consistency and taste of a zeppole.  All the tastes together synced so well and were amazing.  The only thing that I wished was different was varying textures because everything was soft/chewy.  The Italian bacon was in strips and few parts were crunchy.  If the chunks were smaller and crisped up a little before putting on the pizza, I think this would be a killer dish.  It was a bit hard to swallow when you were down to the last slice, so this is a dish that would be better to be shared.

Ending off the meal, I had a nice thick and strong duo shot of espresso and had two scoops of gelato:  chocolate/hazelnut and olive oil.  The scoop of chocolate/hazelnut was definitely strong and had a nice light hazelnut taste, though there was quite a strong after taste of cinnamon that I didn’t particularly enjoy.  I was left with that “gritty,” “drying” taste that cinnamon can often have.  On the other hand, the olive oil gelato was creamy, fresh, and had that nutty, fruity taste of olive oil.  It was surprisingly good and left me wanting more.

In all, this restaurant has a unique and creative view on Italian food.  The food was great, but the wine was overpriced as compared to the price of the average dish.  We ended up paying $45 for a bottle that would probably cost $15 at a wine shop, and should cost $30 for a restaurant like this.  There was only a handful of wines under $50, the lowest being $35.  The dishes were reasonably priced, though, which brings us to a rating of $$$ out of 5.  Nomability?  We’ve got to give this new Italian a very respectable 3.5 Noms out of 5.  Ciao!

 Also, check out our review on their San Danielle pizza, featured on CBS Connecticut.
 
Noms:  3.5
Cost:  $$$
 
Address:  51 Bank Street
Stamford, CT 06901
Phone:  (203) 588-9870
Site:  http://www.tapporestaurant.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001655225989

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It’s all about the margaritas baby – Riviera Maya, Stamford

31 Oct

Let’s lay it all out on the table right now–I consider myself to be somewhat of a Mexican food snob. I’m not sure where in my life I earned that right, considering the closest to Mexico I’ve ever lived is Atlanta, but nonetheless, here I am. In fact, when I moved to CT, I thought there couldn’t possibly be any GOOD Mexican food around here. Clearly, I was mistaken.

Riviera Maya is one of those restaurants I’d categorize under GOOD Mexican. Not fantastic, but definitely good and reliable. On our recent visit I ordered the Atlixo (which I clumsily flubbed the pronunciation of 3 times): two crispy fried tortillas topped with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, onions, avocado, sour cream, and best of all, strip steak. While the steak was cooked medium rare, just as I like it, and very nicely seasoned with a little salt, garlic, and perhaps some cumin, I don’t think I’d order it again. Overall it was a bit bland compared to other items they have on the menu (like the Taquitos Pastor de Pollo Danny’s going to tell you about).

Ok, now here’s where Riviera Maya goes from just good to GOOD: FRESH GUACAMOLE and JALEPENO MARGARITAS. Yep, both take the award home for best I’ve ever had!

The guacamole is made fresh at your table, exactly as you like it. Choose from any or all of the typical ingredients: onions, cilantro, tomato, salt, pepper, fresh-squeeze lime juice, and jalapenos to go as spicy (more please) or as mild (lame) as you want. The finished masterpiece is served up in a heavy stone bowl placed in the center of the table (or right in front of my face if you’re dining with me).

To wash it all down is the most fantastic margarita that both cools the senses and burns the tongue at the same time: the jalapeno margarita. Not too weak, not to strong, get it frozen or on the rocks, you really can’t go wrong with this ying and yang cocktail, which is just spicy enough to give you that tingle, but refreshing enough to wash down the spiciest meal.

And, to round out our score of 3.5 noms, the wait staff is friendly and accommodating, service is fast, but unhurried, and the prices are reasonable.

Noms: 3.5
Cost:  $$
 
Riviera Maya
Address:  20 Summer Street
Stamford, CT 06901
Phone: (203) 588-9400
Site:  http://www.rivieramayact.com
 
 

Riviera Maya on Urbanspoon

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