Reviews

Title Issue
Ibiza Tapas, Hamden

Ibiza Tapas, Hamden

What I like best about Ibiza Tapas restaurant and wine Bar is that it gives us a taste (actually a multiplicity of tastes) of the real Spain, a place far more exciting than the “Sunny Spain” of tourist brochures. Galicia, for example, where chef-owner Ignacio Blanco comes from, has a long, craggy, windswept, rain-washed coast with thrilling views and the best seafood in the world—which Ignacio (as everyone calls him) personally imports for his restaurants.

May 2010

Nicholas Roberts, Norwalk

On Main Street, two minutes south of the intersection of the Post Road and the old Route 7 in Norwalk, Nicholas Roberts Gourmet Bistro couldn’t be more prominently located. Still, it’s amazingly easy to miss, in part because you have to enter the building through the parking lot, and because until recently there was no sign that you could see from the road. There’s a sign now, but the interior lighting is pleasantly subdued so what catches your eye as you drive by is the pizza place next door ablaze with light. Talk about hidden in plain sight!

April 2010
La Belle Aurore, Niantic

La Belle Aurore, Niantic

Hmm, a small storefront restaurant named for the Roman goddess of dawn in a 1950s strip mall in Niantic? Now that’s interesting. What’s cooking? Ethereal morsels for discriminating mortals?

April 2010

The White Horse, New Preston

Can a man fall in love with an Indian Scout, a 16th-century queen and a down-at-the-heels tavern near Lake Waramaug? John Harris could and did.

March 2010
The Mill at 2T, Simsbury

The Mill at 2T, Simsbury

When malls pall and franchised food outlets induce ennui, The Mill at 2T is the perfect antidote. In an antique building, it’s younger than springtime and a million miles from a corporate boardroom, as are its co-owners—a dynamic duo, he the chef and she the front of the house.

March 2010

Ferme, Avon

The menu is a playbill of coming attractions with whimsical titles: “Table Snacks,” “Shares,” “Supper,” “Flights of Fancy.” Any questions? “What about dinner?” Our cheerful young server explains that this is the dinner menu. It is also the lunch menu. Understandably, it’s long but it’s an interesting read. “Pickled martini vegetables,” “calamari with andouille, spinach and white beans,” “warm nut & spice crusted dukkah.”

February 2010
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
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