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Recent Cavey's (Manchester) experiences?

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gordon wing Aug 25, 2007 08:48 AM

My wife who grew up in Manchester would like to finallly eat at Cavey's. She grew up hearing about it but never dined there. I've read a lot of the old posts about Cavey's and read various other opinions - most of them several years old. They don't appear to have a website. Saw one post that mentioned a 5 course menu for $60 in 2003/4. Someone else mentioned the entrees range from $21-38. The upstairs Italian is now more Northern and a bit more informal than the downstairs which is French. Nice decor and atmosphere. Several diners mentioned very small portions for the price but others didn't touch upon that at all in their appraisals. Great wine list. Would appreciate any recent updates ... is it still a dining experience not to be missed? Relative merits of upstairs/downstairs? TIA !

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    Earle Aug 25, 2007 09:04 AM

    The last time I went there was about Dec. of 2006. On a Saturday night. They advertise that its a Italian Restaurnat , but they didnt have any menu items that were Italian. I was looking forward to having a nice Veal Dish of some type, but there was nothing on the menu. And you hear about the small portions , that seams to be the normal for them. There main dishes start at about $20 and up. It is very well decorated but not really over the top. Nice place to eat upstairs but down stairs is FRENCH and very expensive. Dinner for two runs about 150. With a nice wine. So I guess its up to you on what you want to eat and how much you want to spend. Personal I wouldnt pay to go there but , I guess thats what makes the world go round. Good luck, Earle

    1. Gary Soup Aug 25, 2007 09:12 AM

      Is that Manchester NH, or Manchester VT (I have a niece there)?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gary Soup
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        gordon wing Aug 25, 2007 09:23 AM

        Manchester, Connecticut.

        1. re: gordon wing
          Gary Soup Aug 25, 2007 09:59 AM

          Too many Manchesters! I think most people's first thought is Manchester NH (because of its historically prominent role in politics) so it helps to specify.

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        Waquoit Aug 25, 2007 09:31 AM

        Your wife sounds like me as I grew up in the area and always wanted to go to Cavey's. I finally went for a special occaision just over a year ago and I thought it was just great. We went downstairs. I had fish, my friend had the lamb. We had the host suggest a wine for us that was perfect ($55.). It was an entire experience that made our occaision special. I enjoyed every bite of everything. I left wishing I made more money so I could do it more often. With wine and a cocktail and it was about $200. I left wishing I made more money so I could do it more often. It was money well spent.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Waquoit
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          gordon wing Aug 25, 2007 10:22 AM

          thanks for chiming in! we're looking forward to it....

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          sodagirl Aug 26, 2007 07:54 AM

          Somewhere you get to a point where the experience overtakes the amount of money spent. I am not talking about blatant gouging...but an understanding about what it takes to ensure the entire experience is provided..and consistency is achieved.

          I paid well over $500 bucks at Michael Jordans a few weeks ago for four...and was placed right next to some tank topped goomba and his "friend" with 3 inch nails from New Jersey...makes you wonder?

          The upstairs is Northern Italian (or whatever is fresh, organic, local or just downright teriffic as of this morning..and it is Italian if you know what todays Italian is all about...but not pasta and red sauce. I have Veal Saltimbocca last Friday and while we sort of laughed at the cost...and that it was old school redone when it arrived... and it was the best I had ever had.

          (If old school turns you off...don't ever eat the The French Laundry... it's all about nostolgia, interpretation, remixing old with new)

          Steve Cavagnaro is one of the most unknown great reatsuranteurs in America...he got it from his grandmother (and her little dog) who gave it to Big Steve who gave it to Steve and Kate... and those who dined at the Straiught Wharf over the past ten years (no longer affiliated) will back me up. His attention to the experience, and hs unwillingness to compromise are legendary. Chefs (and this term is earned not assumedat Caveys) are led quickly to the back door not when they make a mistake but if they show a inkling of not being able to slash their own wrists on quality and creativity...

          Do you know if you ask for Bernaise...it is made to order...and that old standard...order the souffle before dinner so it is ready on time??? Not at Caveys...maybe throw in a cheese course if there is a lag..but even thinking of asking the customer to make an accomodation for the sake of the klitchen is a travesty. Andre would be aghast at such a suggestion.
          The prices in both restaurants are comparable to any good restaurant. (The price of corn and itls affect on ther food chain over the past two years is killing food cost).

          I eat routinely all over the country... in the past six months I have paid similar prices in Minnesota, Iowa, Washington DC, Napa, San Fran and New York...the only problem with Cavey's is that it is located in CT where most frugal nutmeggers don;t really understand what it costs to provide the experience.

          $150 for two...(not sure you ate there the cost is at least twice that)...that's the price wine and the tip. But to have a professional serve you...not a student (Hi guys...my name is Ashley?) and written upside down with caryons on the tablecloth...

          Cavey's...up or down... is really for for anyone that lives to eat, not eats to live.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sodagirl
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            gordon wing Aug 26, 2007 08:49 AM

            thanks for your perspective!

          2. Gary Soup Aug 26, 2007 09:21 AM

            Incidentally, another reason I confused your Manchester reference with Manchester VT is because you are the only SF-based chowhound I know of who's been to A Single Pebble in Burlington. If you have any other interesting Asian dining experiences in New England (outside of Boston, where said cuisine is well covered on CH) up your sleeve, I hope you will report on them

            2 Replies
            1. re: Gary Soup
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              gordon wing Aug 26, 2007 11:33 PM

              Good memory, Gary..... although when I ate at A Single Pebble it was at the Montpelier restaurant. It sounds like they have closed that branch now and only have the Burlington one at the moment. We're headed back to New England in October - may have to go to Burlington. :~) And I'll ask my friends in Montpelier about any new discoveries.

              1. re: gordon wing
                Gary Soup Aug 26, 2007 11:51 PM

                I think it was actually Berlin, VT where the first A Single Pebble was. I guess that's close to Montpelier.

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              Whitemarshjohn Aug 26, 2007 03:00 PM

              I live in Maryland and have family up in Connecticut. I was trying to find some great restaurants to take my family to when I go up to visit. Unfortunately "they" don't like French. I've read great things about Cavey's in Manchester (I think I'll have to go there) and will probably also check out Ibiza in New Haven.

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                FoodieJim Aug 27, 2007 12:19 PM

                Cavey's remains a terrific restaurant. If it were in Fairfield County it would win every "reader's choice" award there is. It is a bit of an anachronism in Manchester. All the better for me. I never have trouble getting a table. The upstairs restaurant is not "Northen Italian". But many folks think that any place that doesn't serve Spaghetti and Meatballs is "Northern". It is a true Italian menu borrowing from the likes of Milan to Sicily, as freshness in local ingredients warrants. It has the finest wine list in the state, at reasonable mark-ups. Make sure you ask for both lists, as they have one that they call "Italian" and one they call "French". Why the separation, I don't know, because I am just as likely to order a Barolo downstairs from the "Italian" list as I am to order a Russian River Pinot Noir upstairs, found on the "French" list.

                I have friends and business associates from Chicago, L.A., San Francisco, New Jersey and beyond who insist that we go to Cavey's when they are in town. To me, that speaks volumes. It is not just a "good Central Connecticut" restaurant. It is a great restaurant in its own right.

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