Best/Worst Summer 2010
Best: A perfect, tasty and moderately priced lobster roll CT-style at the Sandpiper in East Haven. Also a great Portuguese fisherman's stew at Offshore Ale in Martha's Vineyard.
Worst: All the free publicity given by local TV to the new Sonic burger in Wallingford, at a time a lot of local places are struggling. Lame, and only a so-so burger.
Our best was on vacation in Waitsfield, VT a few weeks back. We had dinner at the Green Cup cafe on Bridge St. A small cafe that only serves dinner on Sat, Sun & Mon. They use local, fresh ingredients, and it was fantastic! I had a poisson roasted with fingerling potatoes and some other goodies, and my hub had braised rabbit with local mushrooms - great wines by the glass if you don't want a whole bottle, and outstanding coconut cake for dessert. We will go back!
Most disappointing of the summer, West Shore Seafood in Morris, just below Bantam. We've been wanting to try it for a while but because it's on the way home from Wood's and other places we just never need to. But the other day it was hot so we planned to go there. So we went in. I ordered a small fried oyster platter and DW the fried scallops. Well there was no place inside to eat and it was ca 90 outside but so OK. I think we each got maybe 6 to 8 of our respective seafood items plus a few obviously few frozen french fries plus a tblsp of slaw. The lady in the back kept fawning over her daughter and her SO at the other table until they left. The drinks were in a fridge cabinet. When she gave us the check @ ca$30 she said well the soft drinks are all $2.75 (not marked anywhere). Again you'd get more and better scallops at the Charcoal Chef for $6.75. Why has the Chef been in business with one family for over 50 years and these folks want to make a killing in one month???????
Fortunately, I haven't been disappointed with any of my dining experiences this summer.
Locally: We hit up Max Burger twice in two weeks 'cause it was just that good. I got the 5oz. classic both times because I don't really like a huge burger and I can't finish it anyways. The fries are great. My husband had the Inside Out Burger (gorgonzola, bacon, onion) and he really enjoyed it . Service was great both times.
We also tried McLadden's at the beginning of the summer (new Irish pub in West Hartford). We split the lobster roll and prime rib entree, both of which were very good. I think they only do the prime rib on Friday/Sat. Also enjoyable: the rounds of Irish car bombs! Went back for a happy hour recently and had very good cheeseburger sliders & corned beef sliders.
Hartford Restaurant Week-- Max Downtown. It was excellent! I started with gazpacho and had the Block Island swordfish entree, both of which I believe are on their standard menu. My husband had the iceberg wedge salad and NY strip entree. Everything was cooked to perfection--I was pleased that my fish was not overcooked as is par for the course in many a restaurant. Service was impeccable as usual at Max Downtown.
Vacation: Spent a long weekend in Block Island and had dinner at The Oar. I had an entree special of Tuna which was cooked to perfection (read: rare). My husband also *attempted* to order the Tuna, which he requested "medium" and the waiter said no! The chef only sears it and refuses to serve it any other way. OK, well that's a little pretentious, but I get where he's coming from. Of course, my husband ended up eating about half of my tuna anyways 'cause it was so darn good. And I can't remember what everyone else had 'cause they were all jealous of my tuna.
I also had lunch at the National Hotel on Water Street. I had the lobster roll and if it's the only one I have all summer, I'll be happy with it. I think my MIL had something like a turkey & avocado sandwich, which she also enjoyed.
So, those are my summer dining experiences thus far--hoping for many more!
Water Street Cafe
231 Water, Block Island, RI 02807
City Place, 185 Asylum St., Hartford, CT 06103
I'm surprised you had a great meal at The Oar. Had drinks and appetizers there this summer and was very underwhelmed. The Oar is a bar, first and foremost. It makes no sense to me to serve appetizers and such that are overpriced and crappy, because folks are less likely to stick around for dinner. But their location being where it is, one of the two biggest marinas in the Great Salt Pond, and the spot where the launch service docks, they've something of a captive audience. If you've sailed in, The Oar is just about in your lap.
I figured it was a place with a business model based on overcharging the yachty set for watery cocktails. But hey, I guess when the dinner chef comes in, he gets down to business. Good to know.
My "best of the summer" is surprisingly an appetizer. "Tony's Tomatoes" at Tony D's in New London are fabulous. The tomatoes are picked fresh that day by Tony at a nearby farm and put in a tasty marinade with mozz. Entrees at Tony D's come with a nice green salad. We ask that Tony's Tomatoes be served at the same time as the salad. We add them to the salad and with some wine and Tony's amazing bread we feel like we're in Italy. We usually joke that we should ask for the check at that point but, yes, we enjoy our entrees before we do that.
On the negative side, I really was disappointed with the Oak Room in Boston. It's a classic steak house but without the national name of a Morton's, Capital Grill or Palm. We thought a local place with a lot of positive reviews would be the way to go. My wife's steak was okay but had some tough patches. The potato and mushroom sides were essentially inedible. Big bill but nowhere as enjoyable as we had hoped. In LA, I took my daughter to dinner at Cafe Pinot downtown. The food was average and the waiter spilled my glass of Pinot Noir (what else?) on my white pants when he reached across the table to remove the charger plate.
92 Huntington St, New London, CT 06320
In Newport this Summer we experimented with Salas on Thames ( we've passed it about a thousand times over the years) and found it, or rather what we ordered to be disappointing. We ate lobster ravoli. It wasn't bad but it wasn't Newport standard but the waitress was cool. We also ordered an appetizer that escapes me.
We ate at Mama Iguana's in Northampton recently despite hearing, or reading some mediocre/poor reviews a few years back AND... we liked it alot. I had a steak burrito that was huge and tasty. Very surprised on each plate we had.
Finally grabbed a loaf of bread at Hungry Ghost Bread in Northampton and it was worth it.