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Jun 18, 2011 10:25 PM

Two Nights of Paradise at The Suburban, Branford Center, CT. 6/11

We just had 2 consecutive evenings of perfection here, Thurs and Fri of this week.The owners are going pretty bonkers putting the finishing touches on their new Mex place, Tacuba, kittycorner to them.(To open in the next 2 weeks, they hope.) So their hours have been a little erratic (call or do website check before going).and some of their top servers (w/ the exception of Megan/bartender/manager)may not be there when you go; it all depends when you go. But no matter old or new, their staff is always welcoming and helpful, and the room is very comfortable and handsome. We love to sit in the front windows and look out at the trees and beautiful plantings. It is so rare for us to go somewhere where we just know we can relax

because we will be well cared for.

And the FOOD, now that continues to be unbeatable.(We spent two nights w/ them last June as well.) Of our 2 nights here (we had been thinking of going to Fresh Salt in Saybrook for Fri. but got, thank heavens, warned away by 3 different people, so we returned to The Suburban on Fri.(last night) and were so happy we did.And so lucky to get a table!)

For our 2 nights, our highlights were:

-(table bread is) POPOVERS!!!!! yes, served w/ sweet butter dusted w/ red Hawaiian sea salt- which is terrific and not a gimmick

-catalan gazpacho w/ lobster crisps

-beet salad w/ MANY components, (as in all his salads) w/ pistachio vngrette

- suburban salad

-mushroom ravs (1/2 portion as app)

- salmon w/ potato/mushroom/____ ragout and beure blanc(i had this dish thurs; My Love had it Fri>> does that say anything about how fab it was?!!)

- roast truffle chicken w/ best white bean bacon ragout i have ever had,+ greens

- duck w/ coconut rice and thai ginger sauce+stir fry melange

- side of spinach fennel shallot saute

- Three berry zabaglione

- Dark bittersweet Caillebaut choc.peanut butter mousse(actually a lava cake) w/ gelato

You know that expression, such and such "was so great it was as if it were made just for me" ( a film, a poem, a book)?Well, this chef's food is like that for me. I LIKE robust flavors and lots of interesting components, and beautiful presentation. This food is all that. And unlike the failed attempts in this direction- of so many other chefs, all the different flavors and textures that make up one of The Suburban's dishes- stay distinct. Also, I am not a child's portion eater, and servings here are generous.

For us, prices are totally reasonable and they're actually lower than we're used to seeing for this echelon of dining experience.

We loved his food at Roomba and wished it were in Boston.

We love his food at The Suburban and still wish he were in Boston.

When we stay in New Haven, it takes us 8-10 minutes to drive here and imo, there's nothing in NewH to match The Suburban. This year we stayed in Mystic, and it only took us 20 minutes to get back to Mystic from Branford, much to our surprise. We were thrilled to see that the NYTimes finally reviewed them (over Labor Day wkend.)and raved.

I'm a recently retired 30 yr. Boston chef; we eat out alot but i am wicked picky; and all I can say is, youall are soooooo LUCKY down here!

recent nytimes review:

recent blog review:

The Suburban
2 East Main St., Branford, CT 06405

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  1. a bit more info:
    I really hope people will try The Suburban mid July to late summer, by which time their new second restaurant distractions should have disappeared, giving you the top service and treatment they are known for.We felt their prices compared very favorably with these other CT places we have tried:Max on Main, Trumbull Kitchen, Ibiza, Zinc, La Belle Aurore, Liv’s, and Cafe Routhier, and the places we eat in Boston. When a poster says this is a pricey place, that surprises me, because we both have BIG appetites(we had skipped lunch both days, doing busy tourist stuff) but we never felt that way about their prices. Our 2 dinners last Thurs and Fri. were very similar to each other in bevs (cosmos and wine by the glass) and number of dishes. Each night we had approximately: 2 salads, 1-2gazpacho, 2 entrees (salmon and chicken and salmon and duck), 1-2 sides, and one dessert. Our bills were $126 and $140 pre-tip. Wine $9 glass; salads $9; entrees $26-27; sides $5; dessert $9. Portions were very generous and we were satiated(duh!) . You may have to beg them for more popovers but hey, they're worth it!

    Trumbull Kitchen
    150 Trumbull St., Hartford, CT 06103

    La Belle Aurore
    75 Pennsylvania Ave, East Lyme, CT 06333

    1 Reply
    1. re: opinionatedchef

      Just out of curiosity. I noticed your menu was extremely similar in most of its elements to mine, which I have posted about here.

      I personally felt cheated after seeing that repetition, as I felt that the unique and whimsical ideas spoken of in the reviews of Franco-Camacho were somewhat sappily written in comparison to what was actually on the menu. I have no desire to pay $20 for mediocre, quotidian appetizers at a place that bills itself as ingenious and in the moment. Had I known this were the case, I might have gone to another establishment. At least Cafe Routier rotates their menu.