HOME > Chowhound > Southern New England >


Middletown, CT - Fishbone now Mezzo Grille

Walked by the old Fishbone location on Court Street in Middletown tonight and saw a sign for the new incarnation, Mezzo Grille. It said opening late June, but that looked a little optimistic to me. They have a very minimalistic website: http://www.mezzogrille.com , but the promise of decent food is there. I never ordered food at Fishbone, but the drinks and music in the outdoor courtyard during the summer were great. If the food is good it will be a much better draw for us. Any info on the new owners would be welcome.

Fishbone Cafe
106 Court St, Middletown, CT 06457

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good to know--thanks for posting that, Jim. I have to ask, though, what the heck is that water picture supposed to be--Harbor Park when it floods every year?!!! :) Let's hope that's for placement only as they develop the rest of their site.

    06457 could really use a good spot for drinks and music downtown. Would be a great addition to our "restaurant row!"

    1. I am friendly with the operator of Order on Court (yes, now out too), same building, a couple'a doors down. They claim that the people who run Rookies have some sort of stake there. Never ate at Fishbone either, but it seems to have great potential, 'specially if they can take advantage of the summer season

      Fishbone Cafe
      106 Court St, Middletown, CT 06457

      1 Reply
      1. re: BiscuitBoy

        Thanks for the info BB. Sounds like at least it will still be a place for music and fun, and if we are lucky there may be some good food!

      2. More info on Mezzo Grille. Supposedly opening this coming week. I'm hearing that the Rookies connection is running the bar, entertainment, etc., but that the food is going to be handled by someone else (anyone know?). Check their menu at www.mezzogrille.com. Looks promising, but no prices listed. To me, that always says you're going to pay more than you want to. Maybe they just haven't sorted out those details yet.

        4 Replies
        1. re: jkuhlen

          <<To me, that always says you're going to pay more than you want to.>> HA HA, let's hope not. ;) Rookie's (formerly Ashley's) was fun way back in the day for HH when I used an alternate identity (thank you, Chrissy!) to get in. Let's hope they get it right.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            The food was good!! Small menu till glitches are worked out. Beautiful atmosphere. Geared towards an older crowd, which is what we need in Middletown. Hope to get there often.

          2. The website for Mezzo Grille has fleshed out quite a bit, and the folks involved in the place are detailed at http://www.mezzogrille.com/american_f... . I guess the Hartford Club guy is handling the food. I was smitten with the Hartford Club (great pool room), but my wife didn't like it. Too much of a "man cave" for her, I think. Come to think of it, the menus for women at the Hartford Club had no prices, only the men's. That's way old-school to the point of being offensive (I think I might have to sneak off to Mezzo's "cigar balcony", though).

            1. Checked out Mezzo Grille tonight for dinner. My husband had the ribeye. It was excellently prepared and looked divine on the plate. He raved about the potatoes, which had morsels of bacon in them. I had the roasted tomato and grilled corn chowder. It was also delicious. My cesear salad was also very good. We opted to eat inside instead of on the patio. The music was a little too loud for dinner conversation, but we'd definitely check out the patio if we're doing just drinks and apps. Bottom line is we both agreed that we'd try this place again. We hope it lasts.

              1. Tried to eat at Mezzo last night. Unfortunately sequence of events and my gut feeling led us out the door. When we walked in we were greeted promptly by a host and told that all tables were full, but we could eat on the patio. Not our thing on a rainy warm night so we chose to get a drink while waiting which is what we like to do anyway.

                Here is where the trouble starts. Listen, I know I am going to jumped on with those that say "They have only been open a week", but I will tell you my story anyway. There were two bartenders behind the bar. One lady seemed to only make drinks for the incoming orders for the floor while the other bartender took a dinner order from the bar and entered in the computer(which took about 5 minutes). So here I stand, just wanting a Ten Penny Ale and no one would make eye contact. Bigger problem. A dark haired older man, who I presume was one of the owners, was more worried about chumming it up with a front table, offering them a bottle of Prosecco and cheers while people stacked up at the bar. So after waiting about ten minutes I get my beer(my wife said forget it for hers). Even bigger problem. Peeking over the divider periodically to see when a table would clear I counted two booths and a table which sat no less than 10 minutes without being bussed after the people had left.

                So here we are. My beer is empty. There are empty dirty booths available. The suspected owner is still working the obvious "friends". And I have a decision to make. Stay or go?

                We left. Went to Luce and had a phenomenal meal with a highly trained waitstaff.
                Me- Warm figs stuffed with gorgonzola over proscuitto with a balsamic drizzle
                Wife- Clams casino, stuffed with peppers and bacon, topped with panko
                Me- Tenderloin tips over garlic mashed with onion rings and a carrot-mustard emulsion
                Wife- Scallops over mushroom risotto with a pomegranate gastrique

                Another thing to love about Luce is the tap beer selection. Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA on tap. This is nearly unheard of. So long story short. I love the menu at Mezzo and will give them another chance, but they have major kinks to work out. I don't care how good the kitchen is if the customer can't even be sat due to a sloppy front of the house.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jakeith

                  All I have to $ay about Mezzo Grill in Middletown is BRING YOUR WALLETT $$$$$$$$$...with my wife and I stopped in and had two Special Martini's each............... $48.00 without tip for drinks that had more juice then booze......this ain't New York........

                  1. re: trillsgalore

                    Wow, that's crazy! No wonder they call it the "Special" Martini!
                    We stopped by Friday night about 9 to check out the music scene on the patio. Looked the same as when it was Fishbone except the "tower of sound" stacks of speakers were gone. The band was not I was hoping for (just a bass player, guitar player, and a drum machine). Nothing like the great bands I saw there during the Fishbone days, but maybe they just need time.

                    Even though we had just eaten, we checked all the menus. I am such a sucker for braised beef short ribs that I had to order one off of the "small plates" menu (for dessert). This plate was not small. Fred Flintstone would have been quite pleased. This bone-in beef rib would have easily fed both of us. Flavorfully braised to a nice consistency, then I believe finished with dry heat. This created some great little burnt bits that I ate with my fingers while waiting for someone to bring me some silverware (they are still working out the kinks). Also on the plate was a grit cake (mayo jar lid sized) that was very good and had a seasoning I couldn quite place, and a little nondescript slaw (jicama maybe?). The barbecue sauce that came with the rib was nothing special. This dish was $10.50, I think, which I consider a great value.

                    Didn't check out the upstairs music, but the patio scene was an older crowd. Not older than me. of course, but mixed 30's 40's and 50's. No 20's to be found, but it was only 10 o'clock.

                    Fishbone Cafe
                    106 Court St, Middletown, CT 06457

                2. $11 for a martini? Sheesh. And why does fishbone's webpage have a pointer to mezzo? What's that connection, the food side the same maybe?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: BiscuitBoy

                    My wife and son, 12 and loving good food, went early on a Thursday based on the wait comments.
                    We had the calamari, caesar salad and the tomato and corn bisque, and the chicken tenders, turkey sandwich and the seafood mezzo. All was good though I felt my seafood Mezzo was less than top shelf, none of it being really cold. Oysters, shrimp and scallops ceviche and none of it on ice or even sorta cold, not what I expected. The service was so-so and again, we were there early and they were not jammed and it was very slow from start to finish. We'll try again and I understand the whole start-up issues, it's part of the game.


                    1. re: raskolnikov

                      I had the same dish and was also disappointed. The oysters were tasteless, and the scallop ceviche was mushy, like they hadn't used enough acid to firm them up. The shrimp were great looking, but as you say, the temperature detracted. My wife had the shrimp small plate with kiwi and loved it the first time, but not so much on another visit. My tried and true dish there is still the beef rib small plate. Has it twice, and it was excellent both times. Service was a problem our first time there, but has improved with each visit.

                      1. re: jkuhlen

                        I'll try the beef rib small plate on our next visit and thanks for the advice. I thought about the seafood dish after I posted and more so after you posted and I'm totally perplexed why they serve it as they do. Ice, ice and more ice! Maybe I'm missing something 'cept I've never come across this sort of presentation and this isn't my first time out.