Best of Connecticut 2010: Food and Drink
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Katz’s Deli Restaurant Woodbridge, (203) 389-5301 (katzsdeli.net)
Katz’s hot pastrami on rye is worth kvelling about. The lean, tender meat is still generously seasoned and carved thin, as it was when this true New York-style deli opened 12 years ago. So stop by and treat yourself to a mouthwatering hot pastrami on delicious fresh rye with complimentary pickles and homemade coleslaw. Enjoy your nosh!
Cove Fish Market Mystic, (860) 536-0061 (covefishmarket.com)
Cove serves up a fish sandwich that stands far above the rest. You’ll love the fresh-caught flounder or cod, served perfectly breaded on a hot dog roll and accompanied with homemade tartar sauce, coleslaw and french fries. And good news: It’s available year-round, as they offer indoor café seating in addition to the 40 outdoor picnic tables to be enjoyed in warmer months.
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough Noank, (860) 536-7719 (abbotts-lobster.com)
The hot lobster roll is a Connecticut invention, so where better to enjoy one than at this icon of the Connecticut waterfront? For lobster roll purposes, Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough might better be called “Lobster in the Round,” because the quarter-pound of fresh, warm lobster meat is served, with melted butter, on a round roll rather than the traditional hot-dog-shaped vessel. If you plan to visit Abbott’s, keep in mind that it’s a seasonal spot; beginning Sept. 10, it’s open Fri.-Sun. only through Oct. 11, and then shut down completely till spring. So what are you waiting for?
Chester’s BBQ New London, (860) 447-1406, and Groton, (860) 449-6868 (chestersbbq.com)
If you can’t imagine a sandwich that can “melt in your mouth,” you’ve never had the beef brisket sandwich at Chester’s BBQ. Then again, the credo of chef-owner Chester Dugas is, “It’s not the sauce; it’s what the sauce goes on.” So since it is slow-cooked and smoked for 15 hours, then piled high on white bread before the homemade sauces are added, no wonder the brisket here is so amazing. It’s the most popular item on the menu—one taste will leave no doubt as to why people trek from all over the state to enjoy it.
Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant South Norwalk, (203) 899-0088, and other locations (barcelonawinebar.com)
The excellent Spanish fare is only better when accompanied by Barcelona’s sangria. Order a glass of white, made with white wine, peach purée, Spanish brandy, orange juice and fresh fruit, or red (red wine, Spanish brandy, Amaretto liqueur, orange juice, fresh fruit and soda). On second thought, go for the pitcher.
Morton’s The Steakhouse Stamford, (203) 324-3939, and Hartford, (860) 724-0044 (mortons.com)
It’s not because romantic memories of France waft up with the scent of this
dish, honest, it’s just that Morton’s Lyonnaise potatoes are so darn good. Named for the small, intensely sweet onions of Lyon, Morton’s version is almost classic but not quite: cubed potatoes and onions sautéed and mixed with—here¹s the twist—salty, smoky, lean bacon.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse West Hartford, (860) 676-9463 (flemingssteakhouse.com)
We don’t even like carrots, but we fell for the sweet baby carrots that recently appeared among the sides at Fleming’s. These babies are indeed sweet and tiny, roasted to caramelize them a bit and tossed with golden raisins and California mission almonds—kids love ’em.
Sauteed Gingered Spinach
Blue Lemon Westport, (203) 226-2647 (bluelemonrestaurant.com)
The gingered spinach at Blue Lemon began as an entrée special of sautéed leaf spinach flavored with ginger and topped with wild salmon and house-made preserved-lemon vinaigrette. Now you can have it anytime you want: It was such a hit it’s now offered as a side.
Alchemy Juice Bar Café Hartford, (860) 246-5700 (alchemyjuicebar.com)
Serving only organic food free of pesticides, herbicides and other harmful toxins, Alchemy is committed to making a difference in the health of the community. They’re even in the process of raising money to buy their own farm, where they can grow organic, local, nutrient-dense food. Oh, and did we mention that their 100-percent organic smoothies are out-of-this-world? Tasty options include Super Green, Berrylicious, Ginger Ice and Razberry Tart.