Northern Galapagos...Torrington, CT
The Galapagos were calling so my co-pilot and I recently took our time to enjoy a meal here before a show at the Warner. Aside from enthusiasm by Chow-poster MagnumWino and a few other praises(mostly for their weekend breakfast), we were seeking feedback for their dinner service since the menu offered some items of interest and tempting wines to boot. The setting had been described as "sterile" and "not big on atmosphere" perhaps lending itself more in appearance to the weekday breakfasts they once served(agreed). As far as what awaits on the plate: there's much to like with some selective choosing..
an "understated asset to Torrington dining" as best summarized elsewhere.
There are touches of Eucadorian influence from Chef/Owner Pedro Rivera that appear on the 'Northern Galapagos' menu but it is no doubt balanced with other Spanish-infuenced food for more widespread appeal. I would have liked to see more of his own country's inspired creations(even if for specials) but we made do nonetheless. Is a Hound's only chance to try some 'Cuy' a spooky Halloween game-dinner at Foster's?!? ;) . Chips and salsa were brought to the table as we looked through the well chosen list of very reasonably priced wines. Mostly focused on reds, the list emphasized the high quality to price ratio of several bottlings from Argentina, Chile, and Spain. Since we were camping out for a while it was different bottles for each in our party of two(woo-hoo): a Chilean reserve Chard for her and a VERY special 'Quimera Malbec' for me. Admittedly I've done nothing to deserve such a treat but come on..you go around but once.
The 'Eucador Sampler' included a Tamale(made of corn slightly sweet and topped with cheese consistency enough to be drizzled) that grew on this guy with each bite, an Empanada filled with chicken and vegetables(though entirely different I need 'Ola's' again instead), and no fail grilled plantains. Although another appetizer we were eyeing wasn't available we lucked out that the back-up and almost afterthought of a choice was the superb 'Lamb Stuffed Mushrooms'. A few to a serving thus plenty to share, these larger overfilled beauties delivered in taste what at first did not tempt in description. Each was filled with lots of seasoned lamb and perfect amounts of a surprisingly balanced pairing of Feta cheese and Marsala wine. This was the hands down winner here and an obvious choice for a first appetizer on a return visit. To put it kindly, a cup of 'Lobster Bisque' was not in this same area of quality. Soup(that night an Escarole and White Bean with Tomato) or salad(a fairly-sizeable House version) was also given as part of the meal and both were enjoyed before the mains.
After a long break my dining companion predictably chose the 'Paella'(from the menu: "Fresh pepper and onion sauteed with garlic in extra-virgin olive oil and Spanish chorizo sausage then brought to a simmer with risotto, clams, mussels, shrimp, chicken and combined in a seafood saffron broth and finished with fresh tomato, scallions & fresh peas). It was "good" but unspectacular and I got the sense she wanted to kick herself for not ordering the 'Eucador-style Roasted Pork' with cumin and garlic..Hey, for once we agreed :) . Be sure to see the excellent thread "Paella near New Haven, CT" on the old New England board for more memorable options and other opinions with discussion. After hearing the Chef proudly turned out a great 'House Roasted Duckling' I had to accept. "Vote For Pedro!" I exclaimed as it was that good. He must enjoy preparing this dish because it would be tough to not order again, definitely among the best I've had recently. Plated with a tastefully balanced and impressively subtle Dried-Cranberry/Orange sauce, this crispy skinned motherducker was served with killer Scalloped Potatoes and Roasted Root vegetables(both thicker-cut)...yes this one was mine oh mine. I'll always share during the meal but the woman with no shame seated across from me actually wanted these leftovers for herself. Sorry dear, in the words of CT's own Marvin Lee Aday..."I Would Do Anything For Love(But I Won't Do That)".
We're looking to see what a soon to be scheduled wine-dinner has in store but we'd definitely return in due time when in the area since they're conveniently just up the road from the theatre.
From sky to table?:
281 Winsted Rd Ste 3, Torrington, CT 06790
A friend of mine has been praising them for a couple of years now. I think I'm going to have to find an excuse to get up there.
I'll pass on the Cuy but if they offer ceviche that is another story. There was a Peruvian market in Stamford selling cuy for a while. They actually had pictures of them in their ads in the local Spanish newspaper.