Post the Three Favorite Things You Ate in a Restaurant in So. NE in 2011
Total transparency -- This is a direct steal of a topic from the legendary CH poster Striper from the Boston Board. Just thought it would be a fun thread for this Board as well. I'll get things started...
1. Cod at Pip's in Ivoryton, CT (perfectly cooked, moist, tender, was on prix fixe XMAS eve menu)
2. Chow Kwei Teow at Char Koon 1800 in Canton, CT (perfect melding of scallops, shrimp with rice fettucini and veggies)
3. Shrimp Scampi at Ruffino's in Old Saybrook (this place is really good but there's never more than a few occupied tables when we're there)
I'll do it! Pretty simple stuff for me:
1. Freshly shucked littleneck clams on the beach at Menemsha, MV (sorry, it's not a restaurant, but I have to be truthful here)
2. Fried whole belly clams at the Williamsburg Snack Bar, Wiliamsburg, MA
3. Grass fed burger at the Dirty Truth in Northampton. Perfectly cooked (medium rare) every time.
Nice steal...here's mine:
1) Petite Clambake at 28 Atlantic, Harwich (Tender and sweet poached lobster, pan roasted littleneck, Yukon gold potato, white asparagus and corn pudding.
2) Roasted Rack of Lamb Persillade at the Red Pheasant in Dennis Village
( Two crusted double cut chops with lamb jus, gratin potatoes & a Shy Brothers cloumage panna cotta )
3) Pan Roasted littlenecks and linguica at The Dolphin in Barnstable Center (Okay, this was a bit of a mistake. I ordered a double order of what I thought was a 6 clam appetizer a few weeks earlier. What I got was a double entree order.....TWO dozen littlenecks in a spicy, lemon and wine and garlicky broth with spicy chunks of linguica. Served with a house made garlic bread to soak up all that goodness.)
1. Cricket Creek Pork Scrapple, slow poached egg and bacon ketchup at Nudel in Lenox, MA
2.Crispy Lamb Neck with couscous, cracked wheat, pickled peppers, spicy olives and chick peas at Nudel in Lenox, MA
3.The Squealer: grass fed beef ground together with house made bacon with chipotle mayo at The People's Pint in Greenfield, MA
1. Sauteed eggplant layered with mozzarella and light tomato sauce at Liana's Trattoria in Fairfield, CT.
2. Chianti braised short ribs at Nicholas Roberts Bistro in Norwalk, CT.
3. Ham and cheese croissant at the Sono Baking Company & Cafe, Norwalk, CT.
I had one of the best Rissoto dishes I have ever had at Retrovo's in East Greenwich/ Warwick RI
The appetizers at Zooma in Providence are great especially the Calamari.
For breakfast it would be a toss up between Nick's on Broadway's Fritatta or the Liberty Elm Diner's Huevos Rancheros.
1. Duck spring rolls at The Bridge House, Milford, CT
2. Spicy crunch scallop appetizer at Sakura, Westport, CT
3. Braised short rib and garlic mash from the Got Chef truck, Milford, CT- technically, I ate this at home, so I'll put in the ham and cheese croissants from SoNo Baking in, too- a delicious way to start the day!
1. Not a restaurant, but the return of SCACCIATA (!!!) as they used to make at D&S (M'town, CT) at Gotta's farm stand in Portland (now closed for the season). My happiest food news of the year!
2. Chicken/broccoli/ricotta pie at Al Forno (Old Saybrook, CT). The warm goat cheese salad for a starter was every bit as excellent as well.
3. Cobb burger from The Burger Company (G'bury, CT) - applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese, crisp romaine, avocado and tomato with a vinaigrette.
BONUS HAPPY HOMETOWN FOOD NEWS for this kat:
* The return of Tibetan Kitchen (f.k.a. Little Tibet) to Middletown's North End AND
* Iguanas Ranas in their new location WITH A BAR and the best fresh fruit margaritas you'll find in M'town--traditional (lime) as well as watermelon (TRY IT!!!) and strawberry. ¡Salud!
I'm going to pass over the many usual suspects like Pip, Som and Routier and nominate three new places on the shorline.
The first prize winner was veal sweetbreads over diced potatoes with a celeriac-mushroom ragout at Bar Bouchon in Madison. Best buffet went to Fogo in Old Saybrook with its continuous offerings of churrascaria meat and a good choice of sides--unfortunately it closed a few weeks ago. The lunch award also went to O.S. I had an excellent pulled pork sandwich at Soup and Sandwich (they had good salads, too).
1. Apricot Duck Confit Stuffed Quail with Winter Truffle cream Sauce at Bleu's Christmas Dinner
2. Pork with Salads- the tenderest pork I have ever had (Bruce said it was pounded and they must have whaled (wailed? waled?) on it) at New Rivers in Providence
3. Wood Roast Clam app at Bistro 36 in Mashpee
again, in no particular order, and i will think of something else that should have been on the list:
pan-seared duck breast with salted caramel sauce at Alta in Lenox (sounds odd, tastes amazing)
sweet potato fries with curry-lime dipping sauce at Blue Sky Foods, New Hartford
slow roasted pork with baby bok choy at Metro Bis in Simsbury
looking forward to finding new faves in 2012!
Swordfish at Jimmy's Hideaway
Grilled Chicken Saltimbocca Focaccia Sandwich at Bubala's
anything at Chach on homemade bread- the winner was a BLT
1. Salmon bisque at O'Rourke's in Middletown, CT
2. Dol Sot Bibimbap at Edo II in Danbury, CT
3. California Benedict at Blue Benn Diner in Bennington, VT (yeah, I know, it's not technically Southern NE, but we were STAYING in Williamstown, MA when we drove up there for breakfast, so I'm counting it. It was inventive, delicious and supremely memorable!)
1. Raw seafood sampler at Matunuck Oyster Bar, Matunuck, RI.
2. Beef short ribs adobo at Bluebird Cafe, Wakefield, RI.
3. Calamari at Senor Flacos, Westerly, RI. The thin slices of fried lemon were a revelation.
I haven't done much dining in Southern NE this year, and most of my dining experiences in the area has been done at The Liberal Club in Fall River since its a family favorite, so my top items are all from there:
1. Little necks with garlic and oil - I always order this as an app, and sometimes another bowlful to myself for dinner too with some pops to soak up the broth. Clams always taste so fresh.
2. Manhatten clam chowder - slightly salty the last couple of times, but they capture all the right clammy/tomato/spicy flavor that I love in this soup.
3. Fried fish - batter is so light and thin and the fish is always impeccably fresh
I'm going to have to think about the other two, but one of the most delicious things I ate this past year was buratta that was part of a salad my son ordered at Caseus.
It wasn't even part of my meal, yet it was so memorable that I jumped up and asked the server, "What the HELL is this? I think I have died and gone to heaven!"
I'll get back to you about the other two things...
UPDATE: Ruffino's has changed back to its original name, Stella Doro's and, alas, the shrimp scampi is somehow not as good. Same ownership so I'm not sure why (new chef?) but it isn't as good. Restaurant itself is still good though. Another "alas", Char Koon 1800 has closed so tonight I went to Forbidden City in Middletown (same ownership) in search of Chow Kwei Teow. It wasn't on the menu but I asked if they could make it. They said they would but they didn't have all the ingredients. We did have excellent entrees, however. I had a dish that featured shrimp, scallops and asparagus. And my DW had an amazingly tender, delicious (but very spicy) pork that was cooked for 6 hours. Pips has reopened and I have not had a chance to visit. It's unclear whether Tyler Anderson is still the chef. He is opening a place in Simsbury but it's possible he might still be affiliated with Pips.
1. something at coco in easthampton -- the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, the saigon roasted pork sandwich and the miso noodle salad with chicken have all been amazing.
2. cheeseburger eggroll at capt jacks in easthampton. perhaps the most insanely fine & greasy stoner food i have ever eaten. true genius. their grilled pork taco is also a perennial fave.
3. the house-made hot dog at pekarski's smokehouse in deerfield. admittedly you have to take it home to cook, but i have been dreaming about the reappearance of these after a brief trial run 6-7 years ago. a wonderful smoky taste that retains all essential "hot dog" qualities (meaning it does not seem too sausage-like).
i was talking to kevin at capt. jack's the other day, bemoaning the fact that the cheeseburger eggroll has been absent from the menu for a while now. he said it took so long to make them that he was waiting 'til the fall to bring them back, when he'd have a bit more time. i suggest checking out their facebook page and making a drive out sometime when they serving them. they're weirdly worth it.