Reviews

Title Issue
LeFarm, Westport

LeFarm, Westport

When chef Bill Taibe opened his new restaurant, LeFarm in Westport last fall, he and some friends also acquired 12 acres of land in northern Fairfield County, an acre of which was quickly turned and sowed. Not that chef Taibe lacked small-farm sources—he’s been establishing unique relationships with local growers and artisans for years and building menus around what they produced, even when he was top toque at Napa in the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Stamford.

February 2010

Barca, Hartford

If Barca were theater, it would be off-off Broadway. Located on the first floor of the Design Center in Hartford’s hip Parkville section, where the real action is in terms of avant-garde art and design, it fits right in. In a vast loftlike space, its walls fairly vibrate with huge Rorschach blots of the primary colors Miró and Picasso favored. Like modern art, this restaurant/tapas bar/lunch spot/nightclub is designed to banish boredom—no matter how many decibels it might take.

December 2009
Basta, New Haven

Basta, New Haven

Basta is right around the corner from Claire’s Corner Copia. That’s all the directions you’re likely to need in New Haven, where Claire’s has long been an institution. Remove it and the corner of Chapel and College might cave in.

December 2009

O'Porto, Hartford

Years ago, David and I racketed around Portugal in a cute little rented car, falling in love with the country, the people, the food and each other. Dining at O’Porto in Hartford recently, I was reminded that the bold, earthy, sea-splashed food of Portugal is a distinctive cuisine in and of itself, not to be confused with or lumped in with that of Spain.

November 2009
Lolita, Greenwich

Lolita, Greenwich

Want to spark a Mexican revolution? Rave about or deride a Mexican restaurant. At the drop of a sombrero, everybody and his or her mamacita weighs in with fiercely held opinions. “Authentic” versus “new”—both have their charm.

November 2009

Bosc Kitchen & Wine Bar, Avon

Bosc Kitchen & Wine Bar is ensconced in an antique farmhouse in the center of Riverdale Farms, a small shopping complex so low-key and beautifully landscaped it’s easy to drive right by the entrance even as your GPS insists you are already there. We did just that, doubled back and found what we were looking for

October 2009
Sarah's Wine Bar, Ridgefield

Sarah's Wine Bar, Ridgefield

For a decade, Bernard’s in Ridgefield has been a shimmering example of fine dining at its finest, showcasing the considerable talents of its French chef-owner, Bernard Bouissou. I love the silver, the serenity, the fresh flowers, the foie gras, and hope this special-occasion restaurant stays as special as it is forever.

October 2009

Chao Chao, Sandy Hook

When it comes to food sophistication, there are no hinterlands anymore, culinary terms and exotic ingredients are common parlance and sushi is the new pizza. Discriminating gourmets live, work, cook, and would like to dine out, in every nook and cranny of the state. Resourceful chefs and restaurateurs are moving out to meet the demand. In short, country dining is heating up, and Chao Chao in Sandy Hook is an exciting example.

September 2009
Trattoria da Lepri, Ellington

Trattoria da Lepri, Ellington

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Good advice. But where? When Pastis in Hartford closed, its talented chef, Frank Lepri, chose a bucolic corner of Connecticut to activate plan B.

September 2009

Outriggers Restaurant, Stratford

Connecticut’s wandering shoreline is full of surprises, and Outriggers is one. With a boatyard to starboard and a marine supply store to port, it looks like a neatly painted storage shed. Enter and find a window-walled dining room, an open-air deck, and an unimpeded view of a saltwater harbor crammed with pleasure craft—sailboats, stinkpots, spiffy sportfishing boats with chrome superstructures catching the light.No commercial harbor this; these boats are here for fun.

August 2009
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