Business Dinner Between Springfield, MA & Avon CT
I'm a regular poster on the Boston board, but I'm hoping the New England crowd won't mind the brief intrusion and plea for your help. In 2 weeks I am taking a couple of clients to a group dinner...one is from Springfield, MA, one is from Avon CT, and one is from Newington CT. I work for a small business, so don't think over-priced dinner on the VPs Amex card dinner! I'm shooting for really nice dinner (really good food valued over pretention) in a place that isn't too noisy (Thursday night though, which should help) and hopefully somewhat attractive decore. I don't want it to be cheap or look like we're being cheap, I just don't want to pick one of those cheezy places people go to impress the client even though there's better food for 20% less around the corner.
My vision is somewhere along Rt 91, maybe Hartford or something, but the main goal being easy for everyone to drive to. I am hoping for an eclectic menu as I don't know how adventursome eaters they are. I could also be swayed to "fun" atmosphere over "white table cloth" as long as the fun doesn't feel like a frat boy meat market or restaurant briming with crying 5 yr olds....they need to be able to talk to each other without screaming.
Since two of the three clients are from the Hartford area I would assume it wouldn't be asking too much for the Springfield guest to make the drive. I'm not aware of much between Springfield and Hartford.
West Hartford town center (near where I live) has much to offer. It's a nice walkable town center with easier parking than Hartford.
I'd suggest in roughly this order:
Simmer Grill: inventive American with global flavors. Probably the kind of menu you're looking for. Nice room for a business dinner. http://www.simmerct.com/
Bricco: very good N Italian - make a reservation, it's hard to walk in and be seated. http://restaurantbricco.com/bricco.htm (they have a sister restaurant in WH called "Grants" which is more American steaks/chops. You'll see on the site)
Max's Oyster House (you'll find info on Max's link in above post). A bit more bustling.
Max's Oyster Bar in WH will be very noisy on a Thursday night...I would go to downtown Hartford..easy for everyone to get to..
Peppercorn's on S Main St is great, food, atmosphere etc.. it will not break the bank or look like like you're trying to hard..
Max Downtown is a good choice for a business dinner...