An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Sep 16, 2013
01:00 PMThe Connecticut Table
ON20 in Hartford: Lofty Views, Gorgeous Food, Top Chef, New Prix Fixe Lunch Menu
One of the spectacular views at ON20, the restaurant located on the 20th floor of the Hartford Steam Boiler building at 400 Columbus Boulevard.
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The season we’ve just entered, that glowing, golden transition from high summer to early autumn, with cooler temperatures and the first blush of fall foliage, is the year’s best backdrop for fine dining—and here’s the season’s best invitation: ON20 in Hartford, a nonpareil Connecticut restaurant with a very talented young chef, is spicing up Farm to Chef Week by launching a new $30 prix fixe lunch menu that highlights locally-grown ingredients.
While Connecticut Farm to Chef Week (Sept. 15 to 21) will come and go, this menu of gorgeously-presented, heavenly-tasting farm-to-table cuisine will continue indefinitely—just like the unparalleled views of the cityscape and the Connecticut River Valley that guests enjoy at the restaurant, named for its location on the 20th floor of The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company.
Close your eyes and order anything on the menus created by Executive Chef Jeffrey Lizotte, who, barely into his 30s, has worked with David Bouley, at Le Bernardin and at the two-star Michelin Restaurant, La Bastide St. Antoine in France. He’ll send out plates that are works of art, and bites that will leave you trying to put words to the rhapsody of flavor epiphanies with each forkful.
(ON20 is open Monday through Friday for lunch, Thursday and Friday for dinner, and hosts happy hours Wednesday through Friday. More later on how easy it is to connect with ON20; now, here’s more on the why to connect.)
Any conversation about a restaurant that has the distinction of owning the highest rating handed out by Zagat in Connecticut—a 29 for service—should start with the food, but the location of ON20 is so dramatic, and the views so unparalleled, that the conversation for most folks starts with that factor, which recently earned the restaurant recognition from OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Awards for top 100 scenic-view restaurants nationwide. The views are simply spectacular, as this photo of the cityscape, with the landmark Travelers Tower as the centerpiece, demonstrates.
Tables in the main dining room look over the long blue ribbon of the Connecticut River—looking wide, sparkly and pretty from above—alongside I-91. The signature blue dome of the Colt Armory building glimmers nearby, and planes from Brainard Airport rise up into view, instead of descending.
Meanwhile, smaller spaces on the other side of the building reveal the Hartford cityscape, punctuated by the Travelers Tower, which, at 24 stories, was the seventh-tallest building in the world when it was built in 1919.
When you’re not looking at the views (or, presumably, your gorgeous companion or companions), you’ll be looking at the food—it’s as compelling as any dining partner.