Here’s a look at some new Connecticut restaurants we’re excited about, from Simsbury to Stamford. 

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JAR (Just Another Restaurant)

JAR + Bar, West Hartford

JAR (Just Another Restaurant) opened in May from the owner of Division West in West Hartford Center, featuring global “tapas” like ceviche, yakitori, elote, carne asada, a Balkan-style lamb cevapi and birria taco pizza. Specialty cocktails like the “Let That Mango” are an early hit, with jalapeño-infused Cazadores blanco, Aperol and mango purée. Late-night entertainment includes weekend DJs. 179 Park Road, 860-263-7030, jarbarct.com

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The Wheel is the new signature restaurant at The Village in Stamford, a new indoor/outdoor premium waterfront campus featuring office space, private event venues and food and beverage offerings.

The Wheel, Stamford

The Wheel is the culinary centerpiece of The Village, Stamford’s new indoor/outdoor premium waterfront campus featuring office space, private event venues and an outpost of Nantucket-based Cisco Brewers. The food is described as coastal American and Mediterranean, with seafood-focused appetizers, a signature burger, lobster rolls, pizzas and grilled steaks and seafood. 4 Star Point, 475-270-1300, thevillagewheel.com

Abbott’s Outpost, Mystic

Fans of Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough and Costello’s Clam Shack in Noank know the drill: Abbott’s specializes in lobster, with whole lobster dinners and lobster rolls in three sizes, and Costello’s is where you get your seafood fried golden brown. But the Outpost in Mystic, which opened June 19, combines favorites from each menu, plus new items: lobster and crab dips with house chips, lobster crêpes, lobster “tater bombs” with beer cheese. The new restaurant in The Standard building also has a full bar. 3 Water St., 860-245-4729, facebook.com/AbbottsOutpost

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Dave’s Paletas makes handcrafted Mexican ice pop flavors in flavors ranging from classic to exotic.

Dave’s Gourmet Paletas, Fairfield

Remember the simple childhood pleasure of biting into a frosty Popsicle after a day in the summer sun? Dave Rock is aiming to recapture that feeling with Dave’s Gourmet Paletas, with 20 flavors of Mexican-style ice pops. The handcrafted, preservative-free flavors range from classics like strawberry, chocolate and coconut to more exotic choices like mango chamoy, matcha, banana Nutella and passion fruit. Paletas can also be topped with chocolate and extra garnishes, like candies, pretzels, sprinkles or dessert sauces. 1492 Post Road, 203-292-3757, facebook.com/Davesgourmetpaletas

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A Cajun seafood boil from RHK Seafood Boil & Bar in South Norwalk.

RHK Seafood Boil & Bar, Norwalk

The Cajun-style seafood boil restaurant is across from the Maritime Aquarium. The boils, the main attraction of the menu, start with your choice of seafood, including lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp and crab legs in half-pound or whole-pound portions. Customize your meal by choosing a sauce, with a range of spice levels, and then sides.The menu also features salads, sandwiches, burgers and even ramen, made with the broth of the boils. 19 N. Water St., 203-956-7171, rhkusa.com

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Strega has opened a second location in Milford.

Strega, Milford

Danilo Mongillo recently opened a second location of his celebrated Branford Italian restaurant, focusing on the best possible imported Italian ingredients: mozzarella di bufala, black truffles and balsamic vinegar. Top dishes include melanzana ripiena (lightly fried eggplant filled with mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano, topped with confit cherry tomato, San Marzano tomato mousse and basil powder) and meticulously crafted Neapolitan-style pizzas. 9-11 River St., 203-283-1849, stregamilford.com

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Beignets with powdered sugar are among the Cajun delights at Roux in Simsbury.

Roux, Simsbury

Owner Stephanie Civitillo brings her native Louisiana to the Farmington Valley, promising “authentic Cajun food and vibe”: beignets, shrimp and grits, chicken and sausage gumbo, jambalaya and fried shrimp po’boys. Crawfish boils are available when the crustaceans are in season. King cake, normally a special treat served during Mardi Gras, is available all year, with fillings like pecan praline, raspberry cream cheese or Nutella and banana. 10 Wilcox St., 860-217-9195, rouxct.com

Leeanne Griffin is the food and consumer reporter for Hearst Connecticut, handling coverage of restaurant openings and closings, trends, events and general news about Connecticut food and beverage businesses.

This article appears in the August 2021 issue of Connecticut MagazineYou can subscribe to Connecticut Magazine here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get our latest and greatest content delivered right to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.