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North of Hartford, South of Springfield?

Hi, all--a friend works in Hartford, and lives south of Hartford; I work in Springfield, and live north of Springfield. We'd like to meet somewhere "in the middle," between Hartford and Springfield, for dinner occasionally. Good food is naturally the priority -- but we'd also like somewhere quiet enough to chat and hang for a bit, which rules out road food spots; even Serapes seems like they'd want the table turned over pretty quickly. We tried the Hazard Grill and weren't impressed.

Any recs? Thanks!

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  1. I like Bamboo Garden off exit 38 on Day Hill Road. It's a nice place with excellent Chinese food. They also have Japanese food but I have only tried the Chinese.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Waquoit

      Don't get the Japanese at Bamboo Garden. The place is fine if you play it safe and order something from the Chinese side of the menu but we once made the mistake of getting some sushi and it was, uh...inedible. More or less.

    2. My auntie, who lives in Windsor Locks (and is a terrific cook in her own right), is big on La Notte in East Windsor. I haven't been myself, but have wanted to try it. Perhaps other local hounds can elaborate.
      http://www.lanotte.com/

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      La Notte Restaurant & Lounge
      17 Thompson Rd, East Windsor, CT 06088

      2 Replies
      1. re: kattyeyes

        I didn't even realize LaNotte did anything other than banquets. I've been there a few times for buffet-type functions and it was just ok, although it's hard to judge a restaurant's food based on what they serve for a banquet.

        1. re: Teraesa22

          I actually went to LaNotte last month for a buffet after a funeral and agree, it was exactly as you said: just OK. Not bad, certainly not spectacular--but also agree it's tough to judge a restaurant based on banquet fare only.

      2. There is a place in East Windsor that might be what you are looking for, its called Johnathan Pasco's, (http://www.jonathanpascos.net/) Nice place, good food, a little moderately priced(in my opinion). But you can check out the menu. Also there is the Maine Fish Market and Restaurant also in East Windsor,(http://www.mainefishmarket.com/)

          1. This is so a recurring problem for me. I work in Hartford and live just over the MA border so I run into this prob a lot. Jonathan Pasco's is ok but there is def a total need for some good places in between. I usually wind up staying in Hartford or going up to Springfield since it's only 30 minutes and there are so many more options. Pacifica in Suffield is good for asian/sushi. Everywhere near the airport is pretty much a disappointment. Another place in East Windsor-Maine Seafood (I think it's called) is pretty good but overpriced I think. There are a few good restaurants in bloomfield, although at that point you may as well just go to Hartford-Ginza, Tuscan Twins, and a new mediterreanean restaurant that recently opened are all good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Teraesa22

              <<Another place in East Windsor-Maine Seafood (I think it's called) is pretty good but overpriced I think.>>
              You mean Maine Fish Market Restaurant in the Warehouse Point section of East Windsor. I don't know about overpriced--they seem comparable with other places I've had similar seafood dishes. I will say this: their fried scallops are the best I've eaten anywhere (including Lenny & Joe's, which are great, but these are even better--must be the batter). I do NOT like their roll--it's not a hot dog roll, more like a grinder roll, but skip the roll altogether and just get some scallops. I am also not big on their sides, but having been three or four times in the past few months, I highly recommend any of their seafood if you're heading up I-91--scallops, oysters, clams--all excellent.

              http://www.mainefishmarket.com/

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              Maine Fish Market Restaurant
              60 Bridge St, East Windsor, CT 06088

            2. Higashi Japanese Restaurant has been recommended by Chowhounds for excellent sushi.
              Perhaps not too far out of the way; about 5 miles off I-91.
              1735 Ellington Rd., South Windsor, CT 06074 (860) 644-7788
              Haven't been there. On my "to do" list. Perhaps others could tell you about atmosphere.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Scargod

                This is a favorite of one of my best friends. He and his wife are local to the area and it's their go-to sushi spot. I also can't think of other sushi in the area, so it's kind of a big fish in a small pond, so to speak! I've been a handful of times. Certainly decent and worth a try if you're in the area, but not as outstanding as some of the places we've been. Atmosphere is pretty standard sushi restaurant in a strip mall concept--nothing out of the ordinary there.

              2. You might consider the Nutmeg Restaurant in East Windsor. It's on route 5, about 2 and a half miles south of Jonathan Pasco's. It's not the best there is, but like La Notte and Pasco's, it's satisfactory and will probably fit the bill. They're closed on Monday, and offer a $20 prix fixe dinner Tuesday through Friday that includes an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. It's a good value. Here's a link:

                http://www.nutmegrestaurant.com/

                1 Reply
                1. re: moskey

                  Great, thanks for the tip!

                  We ate at J. Quincy's in Springfield the other night, my friend agreed to drive up...it wasn't bad, and we were able to stay and chat for more than 2 hours, but it was a little inconsistent. My entree (lamb chops) wasn't as warm as it should have been, and the polenta looked like it had been applied with an ice cream scoop, but her pork tenderloin was excellent.

                  The CT spots recommended here will be next on the list to try.