Aug 8, 2011
08:27 AMCafé Connecticut
Italian plus steak equals power at Gabriele’s in Greenwich (203/622-4223), where movers and shakers convene to cut deals and 24-ounce porterhouse steaks, and recap ball games over a zuppa-to-Nutella Italian meal. New in town, Gabriele’s calls itself a contemporary Italian steakhouse and delivers on the promise with appetizers like charred pear and prosciutto with truffle honey and desserts like dreamsicle parfait with “campfire browned” marshmallows, and a core menu of monumental steaks, chops, pasta and seafood. Large, loud, lavishly appointed with a ton of wow appeal, Gabriele’s celebrates the good life in a big way.
On the banks of the Quinnipiac River, a century-old post-and-beam building has been turned into The Hearthstone Pub (860/628-0877) by enterprising residents (one of them a chef) who thought the Plantsville section of Southington needed a nice place to dine. Antique-building buffs will love the arched doorways, trussed roof, chestnut moldings and huge stone fireplace. Chef-owner Mark Tiso has a trove of signature dishes in his repertoire: chicken à la Marko, baby-back ribs with his own sauce, bread pudding and cheesecake made from his own recipes. With 16 beers on tap and an interesting wine list, the 50-foot granite bar is part of the charm.
Cold beer, hot bands and summer fun are on tap at a new open-air rooftop beer garden in Westport. Located on Main Street atop Bobby Q’s Bodacious BBQ and Grill (203/454-7800), the beer garden was designed by owner Robert LeRose to answer the call for more nightlife downtown. It’s open Thursday through Saturday nights, with live music on weekends, and a connoisseur’s collection of beers, ales and porters, such as Hoegaarden Belgian White, Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter and Shipyard Brewer’s Brown Ale. Some diners come early for barbecue downstairs, some get take-out for a rooftop picnic, some just swing by for a drink and a listen under the soft summer sky.