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Nov 13, 2007 09:48 AM

HAs anyone had a good meal in danbury,ct lately


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    1. re: TrishUntrapped

      I had a decent meal recently at Barca on Mill Plain Rd. This area really seems to be a black hole for good chow

      1. re: lysholm


        I don't mind that people can't be bothered to go out and find unsung places. I'm resigned to that.

        I don't mind that people who can't be bothered to go out and find unsung places assume that there's nothing good out there....and complain about it. And circulate that notion. I'm resigned to that, too.

        But it deeply bums me out when people who hang out on this web site do this. They go to the standard same-old places, are disappointed, and conclude that there's nothing good out there. As if the dining scene was an "efficient market" where anything good would be widely known. It's circular reasoning: if a place was good, it'd be widely known, and I've tried all the widely-known places and don't like ' therefore there's nothing good.

        It's crazy. And it's wrong. Within 10 miles of Danbury's center there is there is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the northeast United States, the best flan I've ever had, the best feijoada I currently know in the Northern Hemisphere (no, not in the disgusting places on main street), dreamy great Columbian, andplaces serving the best meatballs I've ever had, the best corn muffins I currently know, excellent Portuguese and Ecuadorian, incredibly delectable baby back ribs, and lots, lots more.

        They're not places you'll find in Zagat. They're not places you'll find on this board (because many locals using this board depend on found information rather than going out and finding their own finds). They're not talked about, reviewed places. They're just places you'd find if you TRIED places, refusing to assume that that little place you drive by everyday "can't be good or you'd have heard." There's LOTS of good stuff no one has heard of! It's all over! That's the very theme and mission of this web site! I found great stuff nonstop for 8000 miles worth last year ( ). Greatness is low on the trees, ripe for the picking. You have to stop relying on conventional wisdom, and you have to look outside the shiny spotlight directed to places that pay for opportunities to attract your attention.

        Rather than shift your reliance onto me as the source of your found information, I'll make a deal with you. Get intrepid. Start TRYING those little places, proactively and without anyone directing you. Find a couple good places from scratch - places you haven't read about in the News Times or on the internet, but just found by CHOWHOUNDING, for goodness' sake! And for every score reported, I'll match with one I've found.

        1. re: Jim Leff

          Where are these corn muffins, Jim?

          1. re: pronek

            Post a find (not repeating someplace you've read about...I mean a FIND!) and I'll tell you. :)

            It's not hard. Just next time you go for lunch, try a new random place. And again. And again. Until you hit jackpot. They're out there...lots of 'em!

            1. re: Jim Leff

              Touche! I don't live in the Danbury area but am up there sometimes and usually have Mexican food at El Ranchero or Pancho's Tacos. Next time I find some deliciousness I will certainly post about it...

              1. re: Jim Leff

                You make good points, Jim, but a lot of us are short on time and money and would like to avoid the many mediocre meals you get taking a random approach. That's what's great about Chowhound--it's a way for lots of people to pool their information. That said, I will make more of an effort in the future to pick places I've never heard of.

                1. re: newhavener07

                  The trick is to use what I call the Colorado River Technique: instead of getting your corn muffin at the same place every day, instead, try a different one every single time. If you don't do corn muffins, swap in the nibble of your choice. Lunch sandwich. Bagel. Whatever you normally eat in the course of your day (or every few days), simply force yourself to venture somewhere new as often as possible.

                  That one single move, alone, is unbelievably powerful. That's how I acquired my Grand Canyon of restaurant know-how (I've spent very little time over the years on expense account).

              2. re: pronek

                Carluzzi's Market. One branch in Bethel, one in Ridgefield, and a new one somewhere I haven't figured out. I can only vouch for the Bethel one. Don't get other muffins...only corn. Also, they have the best small seafood selection I know anywhere. Almost entirely wild-caught. Lots of other little treasures (a full line of Happy Herbert's snacks, for one thing...don't miss the wild rice snacks).

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  Many thanks, Jim, I will check it out next time I'm up there.

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    They're opening a new store in Newtown on Church Hill Road/Queen Street where a Grand Union used to be.

                    1. re: Jim Leff

                      I love Carluzzi's market. Glad to hear they are moving to Newtown. Still a ride for me but a shorter one.

                  2. re: Jim Leff

                    oh sure leave me drooling...I need a place for my birthday on friday for lunch. I agree some of the best places in danbury are the tiny ethnic but since I moved my studio from west st I dont get there as much anymore. so should I go to barca or prespa for lunch on friday?

                    1. re: lori8

                      A fun celebratory time can be had at My Place in Newtown. It's got good atmosphere for that sort of thing. The food, unfortunately, tastes like it was cooked by a team of 15 year olds with tons of sincerity and not much talent or training. But I find even that fun. GREAT beer list. Good service.

                      Alternatively, if you want really good food, I'm very fond of Kolam, also in Newtown, at 316 South Main Street (203) 426-7143. They do a fine buffet, though i usually do menu. Coupons at Hit wonderful Newtown Chocolatier 71 S Main St on your way back.

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        I ate at My Place a couple of weeks ago. They try really hard on the service end of things. I would say a little too hard, at times. Unfortunately, the night I was there somebody in the kitchen got a hold of a salt shaker and used it with abandon. Managed to render my appetizer and entree almost inedible.

                    2. re: Jim Leff

                      Jim Leff, would you please tell me the name of 'one of the best Mexican restaurants in the northeast?' I'm afraid I don't have a find to tell you about, since I don't live or eat in Danbury (hence my search, resulting in this thread), but I'm spending my birthday there this year and would like to investigate your Mexican fave.

                      1. re: marmite

                        I'm curious to hear about the Mexican place, too. I may be heading through that area at least once or twice over the next couple of months and would love to have a good option for Mexican cuisine.

                        1. re: hiddenboston

                          Unfortunately it went out of business. Why? Two reasons:

                          1. locals don't explore. they go to the tried and true places they've heard of, the places with good locations that seep into popular consciousness. Even the CT denizens of Chowhound, a site supposedly devoted to diners who refuse to slavishly follow the crowd to obvious places or conform to conventional wisdom, endlessly discuss the same 20 known places. Some like those places (and post lots about them), others don't (and post lots about how there's nothing good to eat around Danbury). Pretty much nobody just drives around and finds places. There's virtually no chowhounding going on.

                          2. I didn't help. Forgot to post. And now it's too late. I suck.

                          Garcia's, quietly hidden on a non-main street (Balmforth) was extremely authentic, impeccably wholesome and clean, and truly delicious. Though in the end, as they hurt for customers, sometimes stuff wasn't as fresh and they pared down their menu to the boring usual dishes. now it's hollowed out and gone. Argh.

                          Here's the place to go now. Sanchez Grocery 14 Wildman St, just south of the railroad tracks (there's a large parking lot right next to the tracks). It's a decrepit-looking grocery store with few groceries. Very minimal decor. But the Sanchez family cooks their sincere heart out. Excellent tamales (especially early on other times, they're not as fresh), tacos, and tortas. Little English spoken.

                2. Yes, its a small Vietnamese place on route 37 or 39 (I can never remember which one) whichever has the prison on it. Its in a strip mall and its called Pho Vietnam. Affordable and delicious. And I have to agree with Jim, try the little, out of the way places, they may surprise you.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chefwife

                    " try the little, out of the way places, they may surprise you."

                    Some will, but most won't. Most places, at every price range, are mediocre or lousy. That goes without saying, and applies equally to many things beyond restaurants. Chowhounding is all about developing skills for maximizing the odds, and enjoying the passionate adventure of sussing out treasure.

                  2. The Danbury, CT restaurant scene is getting better each year. Barca, a newbie in town, is great for a nice range of med. fare - their oysters were surprisingly good! Spasi is an old classic for reliable italian food. Bombay (indian) is fantastic - while the ambiance of the place is a bit weak, their food is well worth it and very inexpensive. It's exciting to see these types of restaurants open up as opposed to the same old chains that seem to be all over the rest of the town.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: eater13

                      Those are still pretty well-known places. And they're mostly good (bombay's got some good stuff, but they cut lots of corners, and you can do far better over the NY border at Jaipore Royal India Cuisine in brewster). People, even here on Chowhound, tend to narrow their sights to usual suspects. But it's so rewarding to drop off that map and find diamonds in the rough. They're out there! The best purpose of this message board is for folks to swap notes about their finds, rather than to endlessly rename the same namey names! :)

                    2. Jim, I know a spot in the Danbury area where you can get melt in your mouth homemade lasagna (using freshly-made pasta and a slow-simmered sauce using San Marzano tomatoes), delicious porterhouse steak grilled to juicy perfection and seasonal vegetables that taste like the garden they were picked from an hour earlier.

                      That place is my own house.

                      The Danbury area has some okay dining to be sure...but I think most times I do as well, if not much better, in my own kitchen and for a lot cheaper.

                      Yes, in Danbury you can ferret out a good find here or I did with that drive thru BBQ spot that went out of business and resurfaced in Brewster to your reviews of mediocrity. And yes, my kids have found a good fresh-made churro and guava-filled Portugese doughnut here and there.

                      But please...laziness on the part of myself and other CH'ers has nothing to do with the lack of good dining in Danbury. In my case, the ability to cook better than a lot of restaurants keeps me at home.

                      Also, you are right in that more times you will find bad places, that little hole in the wall gem that serves good food is rare indeed. (i.e. Goulash Place)

                      Granted I have not tried Pho Vietnam, although I have driven by it many times. I am highly allergic to seafood, and a lot of Vietnamese dishes rely on oils and sauces that have seafood derivatives. Yes, I know you can always ask them to hold off...unfortunately that does not seem to always work well... So I tend to avoid places where I think I might not fare so well. (And yes this keeps me away from a lot of Chinese restaurants too.)

                      If you've been dining well in Danbury, that's great. Bon appetit.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                        That was a truly astounding posting. I'm absolutely speechless.

                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                          Bravo Trish...I think the food from my kitchen is best too but sometimes you just like to sit and be served. I could come to your house and vise versa? Has anyone had the empandas from the tiny place accross from St Joseph's church? Unfortunately it is gone now but my neighbor is columbian and she told me about the salsa, empanadas with lime...they were greasy but good! Unfortunaely small places don't seem to stay around too Bentley's?

                          1. re: lori8

                            Has anyone tried Food For Thought, up on Railroad St, in New Milford? They recently reopened and the owners are Peruvian, I think. Food and service was quite good; interesting menu. I've been back there twice already.

                        2. Good to see this thread back up again!

                          Jim, since you made the trek to Caraluzzi's.... by any chance did you happen to go up Route 7 a bit further to Ancona's supermarket.? This place is seriously good for so many reasons. Let me count the ways:

                          One, extremely good customer service.
                          Two, great lunch/dinner prepared foods, especially fried chicken (which I am not able to eat now because hubby and I are in a fitness regime).
                          Three, great fruit and produce, which I am able to enjoy.
                          Four, very good selection of meats, seafood, and pork not injected with saline crap.
                          Five, by the seafood counter, a desk with cookbooks are there for customer's convenience.
                          Six, fresh sushi if you are so inclined.
                          Seven, never a line at the cash registers, if it gets busy they open more.
                          Eight, when I wanted to special order eight bottles of Torani raspberry syrup, they did so for me graciously.
                          Nine, locally made ice cream in the freezer case.
                          Ten, clean, clean, clean.