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Places I wish were Good...in Hartford Area-CT

masha bousha Jun 14, 2010 05:00 AM

I saw someone else's thread for the Cape with this title and thought, let's get a list going for CT places.

I'll start:

AC Petersen's in West Hartford. I live close enough to walk there and yet I will DRIVE out of town to get something similar, like Shady Glen for food and ice cream, or ANY OTHER Place just for ice cream. AC Petersens has so many things going for it (patio, decent inexpensive menu, ice cream) but it's never clean in there and I've seen both customers flip their lid waiting 10 minutes at the register to pay their bill (because their waiter left them sitting at their table and I've seen staffers lose their cool too.

What's on your list?

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Shady Glen
7 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA 01376

  1. j
    judka Jun 30, 2010 03:14 PM

    We really wish Reuben's in West Hartford Center offered truly wonderful hot Pastrami and Corned Beef. Very disappointed with the Blintzes (frozen?) and the cole slaw is the worst I've ever had. Waited so long for a "real" NY Deli to get here not a faux one. And it aint cheap.

    18 Replies
    1. re: judka
      r
      ratbuddy Jun 30, 2010 04:07 PM

      Good call, their latkes sucked bigtime. Totally raw on the inside and full of way too much matzo meal. They do make a mean egg white and cheese sandwich, though.

      1. re: judka
        c
        chowmensch Jul 1, 2010 09:15 AM

        Agree re Ruben's. I'd rather go to Crown Market and get a sandwich there for take-out.

        1. re: chowmensch
          masha bousha Jul 13, 2010 09:14 AM

          If you're looking for a good Pastrami or Corned Beef sandwich, check out either Catsup and Mustard or Pastrami on Wry in Manchester. Excellent bread and delicious meats.

          1. re: masha bousha
            kattyeyes Jul 13, 2010 01:25 PM

            I really like Katz's Deli in Woodbridge, but apparently the cheese stands alone on this one. I don't know why! It is my pastrami of choice in the Land of Steady Habits. Not Hartford (sorry), but I just had to jump in. Will definitely have to check your suggestions out, though, masha bousha. Thanks!

            1. re: masha bousha
              philbkr Jul 14, 2010 05:00 PM

              Pastrami on Wry: Also, I love their potato salad--whatever they dress them with is just so right--wish I could figure it out. I eat at P on W quite a lot and am never disappointed. Their Reuben is one great sandwich. Have to try their breakfast menu some day

              1. re: philbkr
                mels Aug 27, 2010 06:48 AM

                I have never eaten at P on W but have read good things about it on this board. I'll have to make a point of stopping by there soon. They are the same owners as Catsup & Mustard, right (which I am a fan of)?

                1. re: mels
                  r
                  ratbuddy Aug 27, 2010 01:21 PM

                  Yep, same owners. Great sandwiches, just be aware that if you order anything grilled, it's going to be very greasy on the outside, they use a heavy hand with the butter or oil when grilling.

          2. re: judka
            a
            aldente1 Jan 25, 2011 12:53 PM

            I agree. Why can't anybody in CT make a pastrami sandwich like the ones that you can get anywhere in the Big Apple.

            1. re: aldente1
              f
              foodwallguy Jan 26, 2011 07:18 AM

              I don't get it either. If I were to open a deli and serve pastrami on rye, all I would do is strive to replicate Katz in Manhattan. If I served a Philly cheesesteak, I would try and make them just like Pats king of steaks in Philly (wiz wit !). If I opened a pizzeria, the pizza be as close to Frank Pepe as humanly possible. If I order a pastrami on rye at a "real deal" deli, I want to be thinking about whether anyone really sends a salami to the troops and not why the meat in this sandwich looks the part of pastrami, but doesn't taste the part.

              1. re: aldente1
                m
                Miyata912 Jan 26, 2011 01:43 PM

                Have you checked out Rein's? Nothing will be as good to you as Katz's . . . not even if Katz secretly made it, but Rein's is awesome . . . and the best corned-beef hash around.

                I've had Katz, but I wouldn't hesitate for a second getting a sandwich at Rein's in Vernon.

                -----
                Rein's New York Style Deli-Restaurant
                435 Hartford Tpke Ste A, Vernon Rockville, CT 06066

                1. re: Miyata912
                  j
                  jms123 Jan 26, 2011 06:00 PM

                  new york has one type opf customer anfd ct has another...

                  do you think anyone would pay 18.50 for a sandwich in vernon?...I can guarantee they won't...in NY you expect the big portions...here in CT...it's just a sandwich..

                  also...product turnover in NY...because volume is soi high makes it easy to maintain alot of high quality product hot...

                  IN CT...how many pastarami sanwiches could Reins be making a day...in new England people worry about their health...its a different market

                  1. re: jms123
                    m
                    Miyata912 Jan 26, 2011 06:15 PM

                    I think you miss the point. The title of the post is has to do with the Hartford area, of which NYC is not a part of.

                    I am just pointing out that Rein's actually has a good sandwich. If someone tries Rein's and does not like it, they don't have to go back; if they have never been and are in the area, they may want to give it a shot.

                    And I don't get your point about the price and portions . . . if you get more food then you pay more money. No need to make an $18.50 sandwich, like you said, New Englanders worry about their health.

                    1. re: Miyata912
                      f
                      foodwallguy Jan 27, 2011 06:40 AM

                      Reins fits the "I wish it were good" to a tee. I was never impressed with Reins in Vernon. Then they opened one up in my hometown of West Springfield, MA and it was terrible and disastrous. So much so, that it closed down very shortly after its grand opening. And thats saying a lot, since there is very close to nothing worth paying money to eat in the Springfield, MA area.

                      1. re: foodwallguy
                        m
                        Miyata912 Jan 27, 2011 02:22 PM

                        fair enough. i rarely get their sandwiches . . . but their corned-beef hash is the best around I think. If you know of other places, please tell me . . . i can't stand canned "alpo" style hash . . . . that is mainly why I go to Rein's

                        1. re: Miyata912
                          junescook Jan 27, 2011 05:28 PM

                          We get to Rein's very occaisionally. While their sandwiches are dry, I think their chopped liver plate or platter (whatever it is called) is excellent. I wish I had the recipe for that nice sweet chopped liver, and that platter with everything that comes on it is a reasonable deal.

                      2. re: Miyata912
                        r
                        ratbuddy Jan 28, 2011 05:53 AM

                        Sorry, those overstuffed NY style deli sandwiches just stink. Health is not the reason we don't eat "sandwiches" like that around here. We simply have better taste. 6+ inches of meat with a few token slices of bread? For $20? Yeah right.

                        Check out Pastrami on Wry in Manchester, NYC could learn a thing or two from them.

                        1. re: ratbuddy
                          j
                          JudgeMaven Jan 29, 2011 12:35 AM

                          There is a new Kosher (in that it has supervision) deli in Bloomfield where New York New York used to be. Shuman's Deli and Bakery. The sandwiches are quite good (I think), much better than Reuben's.

                          1. re: ratbuddy
                            j
                            jms123 Jan 31, 2011 07:17 AM

                            Uh...are you serious?

                            PonW has some good food but the place needs a spring cleaning...

                2. m
                  Meesch70 Jun 17, 2010 04:52 PM

                  I agree with Cugino's, nothing to write home about. I have to add Wood-n-Tap to the list, I've tried to like it, but am not impressed.

                  -----
                  Cugino's Restaurant
                  1053 Farmington Ave Ste C, Farmington, CT 06032

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Meesch70
                    masha bousha Jun 18, 2010 04:15 AM

                    Agreed on Wood And Tap. I wish there were more Agave Grill locations than W&T because I love that place (same owners).

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                    Agave Grill
                    461 Queen St, Southington, CT 06489

                    1. re: masha bousha
                      kattyeyes Jun 19, 2010 05:41 AM

                      Second that re Agave. Weren't they also in Southington, then closed?

                      1. re: kattyeyes
                        f
                        FarFar Jun 19, 2010 06:03 PM

                        Yes, they were. The location is now T. D. Homer's, a sports bar also owned by the W&T chain.

                  2. h
                    hotwing Jun 17, 2010 04:13 PM

                    Went to Ruth Chris a couple of weeks ago. First time in years. Was not impressed at all. Very outdated, the place looks like it is still decorated from the 70's. Also, I can cook the same quality steak at home.

                    1. c
                      chowmensch Jun 16, 2010 09:47 AM

                      I really like the space at Cugino's on Route 4 in Farmington but the food is just okay. Nice bar, pleasant surroundings including an outdoor patio but everything on the menu is just average. Service can be spotty as well.

                      -----
                      Cugino's Restaurant
                      1053 Farmington Ave Ste C, Farmington, CT 06032

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chowmensch
                        h
                        hockeydad Jun 17, 2010 02:56 PM

                        This subject made me laugh, so true! Have to say went to Damon's last week with some friends, not overly impressed with the service, or the noise level, burger was OK, other apps not so great. I can't really get into J. Timothy's wings, I think I like mine less dry rub. the other 2 restaurants I tried once but so unimpressed have no desire to go back - Besitos for lunch - meh, and Peppercorns for some overpriced dinner - made no impression.

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                        Besito
                        46 S Main St, West Hartford, CT 06107

                        1. re: chowmensch
                          t
                          Tinkerbelldee Jun 17, 2010 04:20 PM

                          I can say the same about Cugino's in East Hartland. It is just up the road from me and the building is great but the food is just not good and the service is worse.
                          The last time we were there, our server asked if I wanted pasta or a salad. I said both. Her response was " You can't have both"
                          I said that I would gladly pay for one or the other.
                          Her response was "Oh, yeah you will"

                          -----
                          Cugino's Restaurant
                          6 Hartland Blvd, East Hartland, CT 06027

                        2. mels Jun 16, 2010 05:49 AM

                          I will also defend Monte Alban..the first time I went was a few months ago and I've been back multiple times. I have only gone for lunch but have been happy every time. I find it a little bit better than El Serape and it's in a much, much better neighborhood. Their mole is fantastic and their al pastor is tasty too.

                          I was coming on here to post about Shady Glen, everyone else beat me to it. I love the fried cheese on the burgers but any run of the mill diner will give you a better quality burger than that sad, thin piece of garbage on a bun. So overrated.

                          In Hartford, City Steam is my pick. Great location, the potential for so much with their own beer and the comedy club but the service is AWFUL and the food is mediocre. My entire office gave up on them for lunch as our food was always served cold and put on the table 45 minutes after ordering, even when not busy.

                          I would also add just about every restaurant in East Hartford. I would love to find something in that city that can't be described as mediocre (with the exception of Pho 501, love them). Every restaurant there is one big disappointment after another.

                          -----
                          Pho 501
                          501 Main St Ste 5, East Hartford, CT 06118

                          Shady Glen
                          7 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA 01376

                          1. j
                            jms123 Jun 15, 2010 09:25 AM

                            Shady Glen...the cheese is great, the minstrone soup is great, the ice cream is great ...the atmophere is great...

                            the burger is getting thinner and thinner and for $9 bucks...well...if only five guys did the crispy cheese...

                            Cavey's.. the food and service are great...the vibe is gone...get back to a little of the basics....close the French...make it for special events...meld the two kitchens together and bring Andre upstairs...and serve a littler more pasta ...still one of the best around...but spread too thin.

                            This should cause some discussion...i've stopped going to both except for maybe once in a blue moon...

                            -----
                            Cavey's Restaurants
                            45 E Center St, Manchester, CT 06040

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: jms123
                              masha bousha Jun 15, 2010 09:37 AM

                              Agreed on the Shady Glen burger. Plus they're frozen and seem to have a high fat to lean ratio. I still love the place however and usually get something like a BLT or other sammich when I'm there (as well as a side of crispy cheese).

                              -----
                              Shady Glen
                              7 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA 01376

                              1. re: jms123
                                r
                                ratbuddy Jun 15, 2010 01:44 PM

                                I've long thought the Shady Glen burger one of the most overrated anywhere. Cheese and bun great, meat stinks. The cheese dogs are good, though.

                                1. re: ratbuddy
                                  m
                                  Miyata912 Aug 25, 2010 03:23 PM

                                  I don't know how people call that a cheeseburger. It's like indoctrination. Nasty, frozen meat from milk cows.

                              2. masha bousha Jun 15, 2010 04:41 AM

                                Just thought of another. Damon's Tavern. I really wanted to like ths place but our waiter and most of the food we ordered were pretty bad.

                                1. m
                                  Meesch70 Jun 14, 2010 10:27 AM

                                  Love this post!

                                  My vote is Dish-n-Dat; Great location, fills a niche for family dining, but the food is just mediocre. I really want them to succeed!

                                  1. u
                                    Uncledave Jun 14, 2010 08:20 AM

                                    I'd put Braza is on the list. Great space and patio, and I'd think a strong clientele for good Brazillian. It's mediocre food at best.

                                    And Ichiban, though my expectations for passable Korean food in this area is minimal.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Uncledave
                                      n
                                      Nickmerill Jun 14, 2010 08:40 AM

                                      Any place in Enfield area.

                                      1. re: Nickmerill
                                        m
                                        Miyata912 Aug 25, 2010 03:22 PM

                                        I like the Hazard Grill. I like most all of their food.

                                    2. r
                                      ratbuddy Jun 14, 2010 08:12 AM

                                      Mo's Midtown, Monte Alban, Half Door, Sgt. Pepperoni. Those are the ones in my neighborhood that have great potential but fail miserably on food.

                                      -----
                                      Monte Alban Restaurant
                                      529 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105

                                      Half Door
                                      270 Sisson Ave, Hartford, CT 06105

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: ratbuddy
                                        u
                                        Uncledave Jun 14, 2010 08:17 AM

                                        Have you been to Monte Alban in the past year? I hear it's better than it used to be. Went recently and thought their mole enchiladas were very good.

                                        1. re: Uncledave
                                          r
                                          ratbuddy Jun 14, 2010 11:49 AM

                                          Nope, as I've confessed before, I haven't given them a second chance yet, but I will. We had it about three or four years ago and the food just sucked. Worse than Puerto Vallarta, even.

                                          1. re: ratbuddy
                                            u
                                            Uncledave Jun 14, 2010 12:33 PM

                                            I suspect you'll find it much better than Puerto Vallarta. I do recall going to MA several years ago and not being impressed and then finding it to have improved when I went back this year. The mole enchiladas are the real standout. They paid attention to the refried beans and guac sides compared to other joints (eg Coyote Flaco's guac is way to oniony for me). But in general, yes, Mexican in Central CT is mediocre. Have you eaten much through El Mercado market?

                                            1. re: Uncledave
                                              r
                                              ratbuddy Jun 14, 2010 12:44 PM

                                              Not at all. It worth checking out?

                                              1. re: ratbuddy
                                                u
                                                Uncledave Jun 14, 2010 01:00 PM

                                                I've been there once. It's on Park Rd. in Frog Hollow, so a bit funky, but a bit of a culinary adventure for our region. It's a Hispanic grocery store with a food court containing independently run stalls of various Latin American cuisines. From what I remember there's a couple of Mexican and Puerto Rican stalls, a Columbian one, and more. Cheap stuff too. Not surprisingly I was the only gringo in the place!

                                        2. re: ratbuddy
                                          j
                                          jkuhlen Jun 14, 2010 04:05 PM

                                          Gotta defend Monte Alban. I've been there half a dozen times over the past year or so. Food has been very good and a very good value. I recommend the Camarones a la Mexicana, and I thought the Mole Chicken was also very good. Never had any enchiladas or tacos there. Maybe its like so many places. Depends on what you happen to order.

                                          -----
                                          Monte Alban Restaurant
                                          529 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105

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