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When in Monroe, CT, don't waste your money at Carl Anthony's

n
NoelleAsh Jan 16, 2007 07:09 PM

If you enjoy a high priced menu with mediocre delivery, accompanied by an arrogant waitstaff, you'll absolutely love Carl Anthony's. The menu promises dishes that are found at high end establishments but the food is far from what the price you're paying would have you expect. The cheeses are oily and cheap, the beef carpaccio was cold and covered with a melted parm (who does this unless you're hiding what should be a melt in your mouth exquisite experience?) and the corking fee was $25. The food experience was one to be missed.

  1. f
    fenway68 Jan 17, 2007 08:28 AM

    shocked to hear this, my wife and i have always had a good experience there, find the staff to be nothing but accomadating, and the food has been good...

    sorry you had a bad meal, was it only one visit?

    do youhave any other rec's in the area you feel are better, we moved here a few years ago (newtown) from Boston, and frankly find the eat-out scene around here for the most part, mediocre...Carl's was one of a few places we liked, along with John's cafe and Carol Peck's in Woodbury....

    La zingara in Bethel was great, then it died on us,we here its back , but we've been hesitant to re-try...

    so what else?

    1. n
      NoelleAsh Jan 17, 2007 02:15 PM

      La Zingara's is my favorite. Hands down. And to be fair, I was there on Friday night and then went to Carl Anthony's on Saturday night. CA's was a let down (but the same price). Carol Peck's is my second fave and John's Cafe is VERY spotty. When they're on, they're on. But to spend $125+ and have a meal we could make better at home, well ... I usually hit Peck's in that case. Have you tried the flash fired beef at Peck's? If only I could reproduce that dish at home ... But you're right. The dining around here is just OK. High prices with rather disappointing results. Inn at Newtown can be quite good, but it's been on and off (perhaps it depends on which of the two chefs is on?). Perhaps if there was an Elephant Walk in Newtown .. :))

      1 Reply
      1. re: NoelleAsh
        f
        fenway68 Jan 17, 2007 06:18 PM

        that would be nice, i would love to bring good dining to the area, but for some reason, people out here are happy with mediocre, i just dont get it...Christopher's i thought had potential, but was dissapointing, Bernard's in Ridgefield was dissapointing for the price, (the wine list was good) we tried a new fish place in new fairfield last year that showed some potential..(sorry cant remember the name), havent tried Ondine's yet...

        Sake..now there's one we love..in Southbury on main street..Pan Asisn fusion and very good sushi..the prices are a little high, but they are consistent and very friendly, and the decor is quite "hip"..we also like Panda garden in danbury for standard chinese and also really quality sushi...fageddabout that place in Bethel..the one the locals like for sushi..ick...

        I can be a harsh restauant critic..(La Zingara in their downtime, served me raw quail and half cooked bruchetta, half burnt half raw stale bread...i know bruscetta is a god use for day old bread, that i expect, but, COOK BOTH SIDES and dont burn it!!) so maybe i have let a few things pass with Carl Anthony's trying to convince myself that good food does exist out here, outside red-sauce italian..(Armando's btw is the place for that) and Cookhous BBQ...

        lets get some chowhounds out here to demand some good food up here..we cant always drive to stanford/norwalk/greenwich...

        ok my rant is done for now..

        fenway68

      2. n
        NoelleAsh Jan 18, 2007 01:05 AM

        I can be pretty harsh too but honestly, if you go out for a good dinner, why shouldn't you expect a good dinner? And wow ... I'm glad I missed the downtime at La Zingara's. It's my absolute favorite. Not a bad dish there yet. The roasted tomato saffron calamari is perfect. I had forgotten about Sake- love their sushi/sashimi. Armando's in Stony Hill area?

        Regarding Ridgefield ... I've heard good things about Tuscany, but haven't tried it first hand. But I agree, there aren't enough restaurants of high caliber (or even worth spending money at) in this area. Can I tell you how much we savor going into New York??? :)

        1. j
          Joanne Davis Jan 18, 2007 02:09 AM

          ok, try Viale in Bridgeport, that's right Bridgeport. Sarabande in Fairfield Center.....and for Sushi not to be missed Fin in Fairfield opposite Post Office

          1. c
            cgallagher Feb 14, 2008 03:33 PM

            This is a classic example of someone needing more than one visit to objectively rate a restaurant. It also sounds like someone doesn't know what they are talking about. This place offers unique choices, like duck duet, assorted fish or braised rabbit, and also offers old favorites with the Carl Anthony touch like mac & cheese made with squash and pearl onions and pancetta. Also, I know a number of people that go there just to order the balsamic calamari. I number of other area restaurants have added this to their menus, but nobody does it as good. When in Monroe CT, don't waste your money going anywhere other than Carl Anthony's.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cgallagher
              j
              Jimmy W May 16, 2008 09:05 AM

              Carl Anthony's... I have been three times. So I guess I can judge? Not worth the money. Wait staff was slow each time, got orders wrong, forgot appetizers (made up by giving us half off dessert).
              Calamari was good. Any other dish we tried was mediocre. Under cooked chicken. Chicken Francese with no taste. Lobster Ravioli- salty and the sauce was warm, ravioli cool. Fish dishes were ok, but not great.
              I just would expect something more for the price they charge compared to other local places. It is like home cooking- so why go out and pay the price when I could cook the same at home?

            2. TheFoodGuy Jun 27, 2008 07:01 AM

              I have to agree with the original poster on this one. We never try a place just once due to the fact that some nights are just not good nights. We are on our third try at Carl Anthony's and still have the same perception, blah. Each time we have gone there have been 10-12 tables open on the floor, and it was around 6pm during the week. Both times no sooner than we sat down, 7 seconds this time as I counted, than did our waiter come to our table to ask us if we wanted drinks. My wife just went with diet coke because we had no time to look at the wine menu. I myself asked for more time, the waiter said okay and took the wine menu?!?! I settled with water apparently.

              The menu items sounded like they should taste good, so we ordered the skirt steak and the linguine vongole. We also started with calamari, which took almost 20 minutes to get to the table (all of which time we saw our waiter once, and I had to call him over). When he did come by I asked if there was bread coming as I was starving. He said, yeah a few minutes. It arrived five or so minutes later with the calamari. The calamari was okay, but nothing special.
              Our salads came and went without issue.
              Our food arrived next, eh. My wife's skirt steak was tender, but sweeter than sesame chicken at your local chinese take away. My linguine was covered in, eh, clams? They were the size of a quarter at most and several weren't even opened. If you are going to charge higher prices, make sure your food is presentable. In case you don't know, it is good practice not to eat unopened clams, they are usually bad. My linguine had little clam taste and mucho butter, oil, garlic in its place.
              I ordered a gin and tonic when our food was delivered, but it took so long I asked the waiter where it was, and he said it is coming right out (we saw him go to the posi and enter it into the system).

              So, I guess I end with....Sweet beef, oceanless clams, absent waitstaff, and an aire of arrogance.

              Save your cash.

              1. b
                bcsuka Jun 27, 2008 09:15 AM

                Wow, well there you go. Amazing how two people (or several actually in this case) can have completely different experiences at a restaurant. I've eaten at CA's several times over the years, and have always been extremely pleased with the food and service. TheFoodGuy describes it as being empty -- anytime I've been there it has been completely PACKED. The calamari as nothing special? As cgallagher states, I've always found it excellent. I've never experienced an under-cooked entree and the desserts have always been very good. I'm generalizing a bit -- there certainly have been nit-picks from time-to-time -- but overall I've had good experiences here. I'll admit that it is probably going on a year or more since I've been, so maybe it has taken an enormous nose dive in that time??? Curious to hear other recent reports.

                1. g
                  Gnocci Nov 22, 2009 05:29 AM

                  Not a table vacant, we wiggled our way to the back of the bar.

                  4 of us enjoyed dishes in a wonderful glass corner that I can only get when my Mama cooks for me. That's the point. I can't get the authenticity that i crave unless I or one of my family cooks these dishes.

                  Zuppa de Pesce cooked to perfection, Gnocchi that was as good as you're going to get this side of NYC and my Nona's kitchen, and a wicked nice spin on Calamari.

                  Our waitress; spot on, She was busy as hell slinging drinks and menu's and not once forgot us in our secluded corner.

                  4 Stars for the very good Gnocchi, 5 Stars reserved for a reserved table when we remember we can reserve a table for 4 or more :)

                  -----
                  Carl Anthony's Trattoria
                  477 Main St Ste 19, Monroe, CT 06468

                  1. j
                    jbaloney Sep 5, 2010 06:40 PM

                    I have to agree with Noelle. Tho the drinks were generous (maybe b/c the sauce was horrible) and the calamari was absolutely exquisite, the presentation of dinner was totally laughable, like trying to be a French/Italian restaurant by serving on huge plates with little food. We were first timers so we tried the chicken parm and felt if that was good maybe we'll try something else next time. The sauce was tomato paste with absolutely no flavor and the cheese was cheap and greasy. It was so disappointing and the bill was over a hundred bucks. We won't go back b/c an Italian restaurant should know how to make sauce. Their bread with garlic spread was bland as well. How can that be? So over a hundred buck mistake, I do not recommend this restaurant. Save your money...go to Rivalry just down the street where the chef knows what he's doing. I gave it one star for the calamari and the drinks.

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                    Carl Anthony's Trattoria
                    477 Main St Ste 19, Monroe, CT 06468

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jbaloney
                      bagelman01 Sep 6, 2010 11:47 AM

                      General consensus in our extended family that the only 2 things worth eating at Carl Anthony's are the calamari and Fried spinach.

                      That said, it's not wortyh dining therte unless we use certificates from restaurant.com bought at 80% off less the additional bigcrumbs.com kickback.

                      Remember, the heritage of Carl Anthony's is NOT fine food, it's just a gussied up branch of Giove's Pizza a not great locally owned chain.

                      The bar business keeps them afloat, and now that it appears they're taking the old 707 on Main space good luck. The overhead may kill them.

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                      Giove's Pizza
                      946 White Plains Rd, Trumbull, CT 06611

                    2. Pipenta Sep 7, 2010 04:40 PM

                      I had a business in Monroe about ten years ago. And I ended up eating a fair amount of Carl Anthony's food because my partner was keen on it. But I never set foot in the restaurant. It was always takeout. And I was underwhelmed. But then the genre is not one that I gravitate towards at the best of times; Italian American how-soon-would-you-like-that-heart-attack fare.

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