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Mar 10, 2008 06:33 AM

New Haven for "gourmand"

Looking for a place in New Haven CT for a "gourmand" for friday night. He knows a lot about food. He has lived in Spain for a few years and is especially fond of Spanish food but he says that Barcelona does not do it right. We can always go to Ibiza but is there anything else worth trying that is new? Open to anything. Thanks, Rich

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  1. It's not in New Haven, but Bistro Basque in Milford is very good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: redfox697

      My advice: don't take an expert on a kind of cuisine to a restaurant that specializes in that cuisine. In my experience, it always disappoints, no matter how good the food is to everyone else.

      I'd recommend Zinc for eclectic American food or either Kudeta or Bentara for Asian. Kudeta is the newest and probably hippest and cheapest of the bunch. I've been to all three numerous times, and they have always been excellent and consistent. (Zinc's creativity sometimes hits an off note, but it gets full credit in my book for trying). If your guest is a real wine lover, Bentara has an amazing wine list.

      1. re: shoes

        Kudeta may be "hip" but not cheap and also not good. Went for the first time a few weeks ago and was 'wowed' but our second time failed to impress. Bad imitation of Asian food. If you want REAL Asian, try Rice Pot on State St. for Thai; Bentara, I agree is very good. To impress a gourmand, you might think about L'Orcio (on State near Eld)- tiny, wonderful Italian, Skappo's, Ibiza or Zinc's. We really enjoyed Bespoke when it was Roomba's but now, the food is not as great even though it has a wonderful ambience. They've lost their edge, I think.

    2. I would suggest Union League Cafe. I always think of it first for best food, service, wine list, atmosphere and consistency. Sounds like you know a little about the NH food scene so I wouldn't suggest anything Spanish in NH for someone that "knows" Spanish food.
      I think Bistro Basque is a very good suggestion for something not too far away, but you did say "New Haven". Top notch; I would suggest early or late. It's small and can get a little "busy".

      This is a little off-the-wall but how about Guadalupe La Poblanita? I think their Mexican food is excellent. If you decide to go, remember that they only serve beer. You can (as we do) bring your own wine. They have wine glasses, so I think they can un-cork, too!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Scargod

        I think you guys are right about not going to a spanish restaurant. It will always be better in the country you were in like you said. I never thought of it that way but now that you mention it I can be that way also. Scargod, where is Guadalupe La Poblanita? I know they used to be in East Haven but they moved....right? Thanks, Rich

        1. re: javaandjazz

          It's on Grand Ave, but it's pretty standard for someone who's a real gourmand. Why not try some upscale Italian? I'm high on L'Orcio right now (state st).

          1. re: newhavener07

            I have wanted to try L'Orcio myself for a long time.

            1. re: javaandjazz

              We continue to be a fan of Franco Camacho and the dishes he presents at his "dual restaurant under one roof" establishment - bespoke and Sabor. Both have very creative dishes that are almost always well executed.
              A bit father out in Milford (where we, too, really like Bistro Basque) is Bin100 which brings upscale, innovative dining to an anrea of Milford where fine dining has been completely lacking.

          2. re: javaandjazz

            Guadalupe La Poblanita is at 136 Chapel Street (across the river-in Fair Haven), in a stand-alone red brick building, on the south side of the street.They've been at this (new) location for at least a year, I think. They were on Foxon, in a Taco Bell looking kinda place. Their new digs are much, much nicer.

        2. Thali or Bespoke for guaranteed top notch food.

          i am also a fan of bistro basque, but I agree that taking a spanish expert for spanish food is probably not to way to go. And I can attest that L'Orcio is delightful, but if you are looking for something different Italian is out


          6 Replies
          1. re: EastRocker

            We're gonna take him to Bin 100. Both of us have been here before and we think he will enjoy it. He likes appetizers and we both enjoyed their appetizers before. Thanks for reminding me about this place. Richie

            1. re: javaandjazz

              As noted in a previous post about bin100, we absolutely loved our first 2 visits, but the recent "dumbing down" of the menu and the addition of a number of quite "pedestrian" dishes, our last visit was, at best, okay....but given the ambitious prices and the now not-so-unique menu, I think there are better options...

              1. re: lsnhc

                We went to bin100 with friends and I was a little bit disappointed. The food was good, but 2 things disappointed me: the ambience (I felt like I was in a fast food restaurant because of the location and all the bright lights right outside the plate glass windows) and the service was not great. The busboy was more attentive than our waitress. I don't think I will go back. Bistro Basque is the better place. It's got everything going for it: great food, nice ambience, and great service! We will defnitely go back there!

                1. re: joan mar

                  When did you go and were they busy?
                  The food was just good, meaning average?
                  I don't mind the glass so much but it is a factor.
                  I'm debating whether to go back if I'm in the area. Bistro Basque is hard to say no to...

                  1. re: Scargod

                    We went on a Saturday night (2 weeks ago) and they really weren't that busy (we had an 8:00 reservation). Several empty tables. The food was good (meaning average) and I was a little bit disappointed that there wasn't a veal dish on the menu.

                    1. re: joan mar

                      I have noted this in previous posts (and in different threads), but it would seem to me that given the current menu, prices, and location, bin100 is ill fated. I am very disappointed, as we enjoyed a couple of wonderful meals there when they had the "old" menu (i.e. innovative, daring, interesting) only to be very disappointed with what they are calling their "spring menu." While I do understand that it was created to accommodate diners that were overwhelmed by their initial menu, what it did, in my opinion, was create a very routine menu at upscale prices. Given the current economic climate and the seemingly increased rate of restaurant failures, I cannot see how they can endure....and given the talent and innovation that came from the kitchen in the first few months, it is a shame.

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