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Dec 27, 2009 12:48 PM

Bar B-Q Milford, CT - It IS Reopened!

So here's prior link to the first talk of this story.

The Enabler will be happy to hear that Arturo from Il Forno is back at the Bar BQ as a server.

Here's what I found out; I'm not sure I got the entire story as the woman had to leave me mid-conversation as she was being beckoned away. The bartender formerly from Il Forno (a really nice, down-to-earth woman who appears to have a lot of followers) is now a co-Permittee with the original owner of Bar BQ Rest's son (owner from the 1960s as she said Bar B-Q had three different owners during its existence). She told me that Il Forno has nothing to do with the new Bar BQ. Arturo is back as I stated above, but I am unsure if he is also a co-permittee or just a server. A busboy from Il Forno is also back. I asked her about the original neon red sign, and I guess in typical Milford not-business-friendly-planning-and-zoning-permit fashion, they were not allowed to grandfather in the original neon landmark sign. She said they worked on the new sign for four months to get it right. It is quite similar to original sign but no longer on the roof or in neon. The inside decor has not changed from Il Forno's renovation as far as I can tell. When I called to come in on a Wednesday night and asked if casual was OK, she said absolutely. The music is more casual. The menu is just a bit odd, almost like they can't find their definite direction or niche just yet. The sign outside says Bar BQ, Chicken, Seafood, Ribs, so tThey had BBQ on the menu of course, along with fried food, and burgers and sandwiches and more formal entrees, but they appear to have some fancier items on the menu as well more on the Italian side. I ordered the BBQ Rib and Chicken combo. When I asked what kind of chicken it would be since they had it listed alone on the menu in three different forms, our waiter told me it was going to be roasted. It came barbecued (Server Error #1). The chicken was barbecued exactly like I remember the original restaurant with a very almost fake looking red sauce--it was a quarter chicken--the thigh and leg were great, but the breast was kind of dry. The pork ribs the same bright red sauce. Clearly they are not smoked but I enjoyed them. They appear to be boiled and then broiled with the sauce on at the end. They were very tender, but no smoke ring, etc. My husband had rib dinner. He asked our waiter if he had a choice of potato, and the waiter told him they would come with an au-gratin style potato on the side. Both dishes came with fries (Server Error #2). We went with our two kids and the menu had the usual kiddie options too and they appeared to be welcomed there. Other tables had kids as well. Getting to the funny direction of the restaurant, was for appetizer we had a wonderful perfectly seared scallop and chestnut and arugula appetizer and a delicious beet salad with goat cheese--see what I mean. My husband had delicious fried calamari that was cooked perfectly. Is it casual or more refined? Arturo delivered our barbecue meals and said in his heavy accent "Buon Appetito" when he placed the bbq plates down--cracks me up. I guess ultimately it is a good thing as whomever you dine with, they will be able to find something on the menu to eat. We did not have desserts and are non-drinkers so I can't speak to the wine selection. The most annoying thing that I found, which is a huge pet peeve of mine when dining out: I overheard another patron who dined there with his family talking to the owner about how great their meal was and when she asked "what did you order?" he responded with "your pineapple porkchop special was incredible" and something his wife had that was also one of the "specials." We were never told of any specials (Server Error #3). Usually because this has happened to us in the past, I specifically ask if there are any specials, but that night I didn't as we went to try the ribs. Annoying. I hate that. I think our server Chuck was new and learning; he was very nice and worked hard. Anyway, that just drives me crazy when they are too lazy to make the patrons aware of the specials. I cannot recall if they offer a twin lobster special or even if they had lobsters on the menu which was always a staple at the original Bar B-Q.

I have not yet found a website, and no one was around when we left to ask for a paper copy of the menu. It'll be interesting to see what folks think of it. Overall, the folks inside were very friendly and welcoming that created a very nice atmosphere. And I'm sure as with any new restaurant, they have to get all the kinks out, etc. And. . . it'll be interesting how the City of Milford takes to it--you know for years, there was talk about who was the longest running restaurant in the City--the Bar BQ, Pilgrim, or Lasse's. Well, Lasses never shut down and reopened, so I think they still hold that claim. Anyway, do go. I'll be curious to read what the Chows think.

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  1. Interesting....if you read my blog on Conti's (we won't go back), I'm going to try Il Forno's this week. I'm hoping that they do have something of the old menu left. The scallop appetizer sounds wonderful and is right down my alley. My husband knows the owners and he told me that they have the same chefs that Il Forno did. We'll shall soon see... stay tuned.

    1. We went to this place last night. The food was good but we felt like we were being rushed the entire time we were there. Our server "Howie" seemed to be watching over us. As soon as my dining companion had the last bite of food in his mouth his dinner plate was removed. The men's room smelled so bad of urine that we could not walk in. As I said the food was good but the service was kinda funky. I felt very uncomfortable and not sure we will be going back. When the change was brought back to us after paying the tab he gave us bigger bills and I almost got the impression he thought we were going to give him a 20% tip so we had to go to the bar and ask for 2 fives and leave a 15% tip. I did not like this atmosphere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: javaandjazz

        We did try the BBQ and I gave them two chances. That was back in January and I haven't been back since. They just couldn't seem to cook salmon so it didn't taste like a hockey puck. I go by there now and then and there are cars there but just not my type of restaurant. When there are so many good restaurants to choose from in MIlford, why bother.

      2. My sister asked me to post an update here as she is not a register CHer. . . She's gone to the Bar B-Q two separate times in the last month. She said the swordfish was cooked beautifully, melt in your mouth, and could not beat the twin lobster $19.99 deal. She said both times, sadly, the place was very quiet and is concerned it won't make it if folks don't give it another shot. Steamers and shrimp cocktail excellent quality. Arugula salad with pears. A patron nearby was raving about his broccoli rabe app asking the server to ask the chef how it was prepared as he had never tasted it so good. Just thought I'd pass it along. Also, two twin lobster rolls for $19.99 as well. Great service as there is not a lot of wait staff because it's been quiet--manager (maybe still Arturo the Great!) or owner waiting tables she thinks. It's sad. It's right down the street from my house, but I sort of forget about it. She's been bugging me to also give it another shot.

        18 Replies
        1. re: cheereeo

          I ate at the BBQ regularly in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Then again in the 2004-5 time period. Then it changed hands and got really bad and I stopped going. I saw it had reopened a couple of years ago, suggested to my wife that we go, but she said her mother had been the previous night and was unhappy with both food and service. My wife's taste is similar to her mother, so we didn't go. I have driven by at least twenty times in the past month and have never seen a car parked at the BBQ or any sign of life. I just assumed they were again closed. I asked my brother, who lives in Milford and also used to frequent the BBQ and he told me he thought it was gone.
          So, it looks dead and has no word of mouth or noticable advertising. Unfortunately I think its days are numbered. As they say, X has been dead for years, they just buried X this week.

          1. re: bagelman01

            Seems to me the Post Road is a death wish these days. Not sure why so many places insist on opening there. It seems like downtown Milford is where the action is. I live rather close to BBQ and have to say that nothing about it remotely excites me. Maybe sprucing up the exterior might help?

            1. re: kwhitehead

              There is no question that it looks like a dump and inside had the worst bathrooms I've ever seen in an American restaurant. But they generally made good lobsters, decent fried seafood and in the 80s they made great prime rib (have't had that there since about 1985 so don't know if they even have it in a current menu.

              I don't live in Milford, but since they are right off the connector, it's a quick trip on the parkway from Trumbull. I find downtown Milford to be a parking hassle and geared to youth and drinkers. It's perfect for my 24 year old, but my wife and I don't enjoy the hassle to parking, noise and crowds.

              1. re: bagelman01

                I've heard that parking issue brought up many times but I just don't see it. And there are many palces downtown that don't cater to the younger set. But to each their own, I guess. But either way, BBQ needs to shape up.

                1. re: kwhitehead

                  The last few times we attempted to park downtown Milford for an evening's dining parking was an issue. We are in late 50s and drive large vehicles, so small-short-narrow spaces don't work. Towards the weekends the lots at the popular places fill up early with the after work group crowd and we are not prone to a walk of several blocks from on street parking. Last time we had a valet park at Stonebridge (about three years ago) we got the car back reeking of smoke and with food litter in the back seat. Seemed the car hop decided to spend a bit of time in the car instead of hanging around in the elements.

                  That said on a Tuesday or Wednesday night downtown is doable, but adds another 30% to travel time. Just haven't found a restaurant that makes us want to do that, but are open to suggestions. We like most cuisines except Mexican.

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    Bagel, I know you venture all over, so you must have tried Biageo's Osteria in Stratford That's an easy commute from Trumbull right off 15 by the Bridge. My sister lives in Trumbull too, and there is nothing easy to get to from there. For a quick weeknight dinner, venture down to Black Rock in Bridgeport and try Bereket on Fairfield Avenue (NOT the Main Street location)--you and your wife would enjoy dining al-fresco if there's a table (nice view of cars driving by). Order a nice app to share, BYOB, and you can share one of their kebab plates since they are huge. It was quite good turkish food we thought: Then, walk or drive to Timothy's for the best fudge sundae you'll ever eat--especially if you drive down to scenic St. Mary's By the Sea and eat it there.

                    1. re: cheereeo

                      I rate Biageo's a 'B" but for neighborhood Italian I'm happy with Franco Gianni's here in Trumbull or Maione's on Stratfield Rd and Fairfield Woods Foad in Fairfield.

                      Bereket in Fairfiel is also good, the Bereket in Bridgeport is inedible. When we want Turkish, we tend to go to West Haven to Turkish Kebab House. I have a loyalty to the owners. 9 years ago I shattered my leg and was confined in a rehab facility for 12 weeks with bland institutional food. My wife would dine at Turkish Kebab House about once a week after work (she worked in West Haven) and they asked why she was in without me. She explained the situation. The next night the owner appeared at the nursing home with a complete hot meal for me as a gift. He continued to send a meal once a week for the 7 weeks I had left in rehab and refused to allow my wife to pay for it. So my loyalty remains.

                      As to Timothy's for ice cream, I like it, but I'm not a chocolate eater so skip the fudge.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Where is Bereket's Fairfield location? We dined at the one in Black Rock (Bridgeport) on Fairfield Avenue. I can see that you are partial to Turkish Kebab House in West Haven; I will add it to my list. We were going to try Saray also on Campbell avenue soon. Lots of cars and honestly, I wondered if the families were related as the websites were so similar. Have you tried Saray, too, to compare?

                        1. re: cheereeo

                          Our family often goes to Saray. Funny I thought that somehow Saray and Kebab House were related, maybe they are. Like those lunch places in New York :next to each other, similar menus and owned by the same people. The staff are very nice and welcoming. We love the assorted appetizer plate and the wonderful fresh bread. The entrees are very generous, some better than others. They are used to having large families and have large tables.

                          1. re: chervil9

                            The Turkish Kebab House was the original Turkish restaurant in West Haven. The people at Saray worked for him and took much of his style with themto open a competing restaurant. Saray is bigger and newer, but the food is not as good and the few times I've been there not as fresh.
                            As an observation: there are more Turks eating at Kebab House than at Saray. Saray gets more Americans and may have dumbed down the spicing a bit.

                          2. re: cheereeo

                            The Bereket on Fairfield Ave was the 'Fairfield' location I was referring to.

                            Stay away from Saray, VILE!!! They are the new owners of the original Bridgeport (Main St) location of Bereket. The worst Turkish food I have ever eaten.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              There is a great spot on the Post Rd in West Haven less than a mile from Kebab House called Cedar, In a dingy strip mall, but the place is spotless, great lamb schwama, kefta kabob, chicken, felafels and a really nice salad with fried pita on top.

                              1. re: mmalmad

                                He also worked for Kebab House originally, then started serving at a Turkish social club, then opened Cedar. We will go to Cedar for a quick lunch, But Turkish Kebab House to Dine in the evenings (More refined/relaxed)

                      2. re: bagelman01

                        bagelman, My mom figured out you can park behind the library. Then it is just a short walk across the bridge to any of a number of spots in Milford.

                        1. re: Pipenta

                          Thanks for the advice, I will be in downtown Milford tonight.

                          1. re: Pipenta

                            Be sure to be there after the commuters start coming off the train, and if there is a little league game, forget it--and it is currently baseball playoff season. LOL!

                            1. re: cheereeo

                              There's also a good-sized public lot down Factory Lane, behind the shops on the south side of the green. If you're willing/able to walk, Milford's a great town in which to park and stretch the legs.
                              Parking map -