On20/Polytechnic (Hartford) opening for dinner
Rumor has it that the Poly (now known as On20) will be opening for dinner. Interesting, in this economy, but long overdue. They currently have a special for $25 tasting menu on Jan 9, in conjunction with Hartford Stage's new play. I think you have to have theater tix for that night to participate in the dinner, but it is a great play (one of the 10 best for 2007 in NYC and a nominee for 2008 Pulitzer).
Nothing on the restaurant website re dinner yet, but the Hartford Stage email specifically said "celebrating the start of their dinner service".
Okay, it is official, they are open for cocktails and dinner on Friday nights starting tonight, the dinner is prix fixe $45, and there will be live jazz at 8 pm on the last Friday of each month.
If you have never been, it is worth every penny. Fantastic food, great views, and service unlike anywhere you have ever been (unless you were brought up in a palace with servants waiting on you). Here is the website: http://www.ontwenty.com/
I was at ON20 recently when the Whiffenpoofs were singing there. I was tremendously disappointed in the food served that night after all I'd heard about the place. Fish and chips or pasta Bolognese!! Clam chowder (not very good) or iceberg lettuce for starters!! I thought they were supposed to have a talented chef.
Memorable ON20 Friday dinners certainly came to the rescue of the problem of not being able to indulge for lunch. Not sure why they(..or I) waited so long. Couldn't think of many better ways to treat oneself than their tasting menu too.
Surprised to have read the one above-posted but understandable disappointment with that night's atypical menu. Then again, I've proclaimed "NEVER again" at Heritage Trail so anything seems possible when dining and later whining because of big expectations that were far from being met.
The Polytechnic ON20 Restaurant
1 State St 20th Floor, Hartford, CT 06103
No, no, no...please don't stop there. Tell us what you had and what it was all about. ON20 has been on my list for YEARS. Must_know_more_please. :) Was there live music also (seems I read about that being a "Friday night thing" when I've looked in the past)?
And oh, bummer. From what I've read of you, we are usually on the same page re tastes and favorites, so I'm sorry to hear Heritage Trail wasn't a winner. Would love to hear both the highs and lows (there are a couple of HT threads on this board where you could chime in). But for now, I'm all ears (all eyes?) about your Friday dinner. Talk to us! :)
Ah yes, yet another one of those places on "The List" that I wasn't sure I'd ever make it to either. Luckily with this year's dinner schedule and some unexpected celebration, I can thankfully say it happened. It takes alot to awe as ON20 does but we were rather taken in each time. I wasn't initially prepared for and was thus quite surprised by its spaciousness. While it undoubtedly has that "special occasion" feel, for this level of cuisine the courses of lunch and dinner "only" cost mid 30's/mid 40's respectively. One could end up paying more at O'Rourke's for goodness sake! Oh come on now...I kid, I kid. :)
Yes, dinners on our Fridays were in fact "jazzed-up" with rather nice music. Cooking techniques were quite impressive. Sous vide lives on here as we saw this preparation done with baby octopus, foie gras, and also a lamb rack on our own visits which were spread apart by considerable time. Some of their more favored ingredients that we had not tried before that we were able to check off of (yet another)list of desired must-tastes included Caledonia prawn, a unique Lagoustine dish, Iberian Ham(different from Ibiza), Wagyu Beef(different from Still River), and an all together new variation for us of Peking Duck.
Presentation is pretty splendid across the board as with a seafood dish(striped bass?) with mushrooms made to look like "scales" and a lamb dish with ON20-styling seasoned crumbs along with a tableside sauce(..we saw one and got the other). I get too caught up in such meals to take pics and thus share as some so kindly do here on Chow but it's safe to say there would be plenty of opportunities to do so given the plating. I was most impressed though with the broad selection of choices. Restaurants of this caliber usually seem to have less offerings than ON20 really needs to have but does deliver with.
On each visit my always "less-familiar ingredient seeking side" was indulged by seeing squab, smoked duck, wild boar, and rabbit loin at some point(in addition to the more customary ingredients in the other equally as impressive dishes). It's somewhat inaccurate to say "customary" in describing a restaurant such as this but all of their offerings were quite enjoyable. Truthfully, I'm not that much of a fan of the "foam" trend either(let's stand and be counted) but I have to say I really didn't mind a couple of its appearances so that's saying something. Oh, and just wait for dessert. It was that easy to enjoy ON20.
Haven't looked at the site recently Jim to see how they're now describing it but from my visits(again, spread apart by considerable time): While lunch has both the day's prix-fixe AND a la carte options, the Friday dinners where there was music(such as with the Jazz nights)..only prix-fixe(with considerable choices) was served. On the Fridays we went, there was music each time thus this was the only option.
Perhaps others on Chow have been to ON20 for Friday dinners without entertainment and were possibly given the option of a la carte but this was not the case with us. The tasting menu on another occasion was definitely arranged ahead but we spoke to other diners who had spontaneously added courses when visiting for their prix-fixe meals as well. So it seems to depend on when exactly you go(and perhaps who you might be with in the case of the "added" courses!). Definitely worth a call to clarify in advance of your visit as we(i.e. she) did.
It's quite difficult to get to 'ON20' with my hardworking honey's work schedule so we were glad to have been able to take advantage of a rare weekend dinner opportunity on Valentine's Eve. Oh the haters will say any Valentine's related dining will suffer in quality or in course options but those familiar with the adept creations coming out of this exceptional kitchen know that it's simply an everybody wins opportunity to enjoy this "any occasion is special" treat. Adding to the evening was the the music in my head(!) caused by Chef Noel Jones' consummate skill as well as the romantic sounds of the Mass-Conn-Fusion Jazz Duo composed of a String (striped)Bass and (safe)Sax. A toast to that duo of Jim Healy and Liz Roberts as well as the other familiar faces who were on the same delicious page. Being such an unparalleled experience in many ways, if it took a "Hallmark holiday" to enjoy a long overdue meal here then I'm all for it Cupid!
'ON20' offered a beautifully presented five course tasting which we supplemented with an additional option(*) as well their wine pairings. Yet again I'm getting a little emotional just recalling it all, so check out the menu while I try to keep it together :) :
Lemongrass Chicken Consommé, Chicken Soy Scallion Dumpling, Thai Basil
paired with '08 Napa Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
Trio de Mer: Kushi Oyster on the Half Shell(Blood Orange Sabayon), Seared Diver Scallop(Leek Custard, American Sturgeon Caviar), Mint Wrapped Langoustine(Sudachi Rémoulade)
paired with '07 Desvignes Ainé and Fils Chablis
Wild Branzino a la Plancha, Clementine Gastrique Pipérade
paired with '07 Chateau Grande Cassagne Rosé Costieres de Nimes
Wagyu Filet Mignon, Truffle Pommes Purée, Foie Gras Maitre d'Hotel Butter, Bordelaise Syrup...(so good one of us "needed to be held" at this point)
'07 B.R. Cohn Cabernet
*Irish Cashel Blue Trifle, Pear Relish, Walnut Dacquoise
Milk Chocolate Bombe, Marcona Almond Croquant(♫"Muh-Muh-Muh..Myy Marcona"♫), Terrine of Strawberry Ice Cream...(yet again someone needed assistance here)
paired with Vinedo de Los Vientos 'Alcyone' dessert wine