Republic in Bloomfield
Checked out Republic on Jerome Avenue in Bloomfield, CT, site of the former Mavi. Had a drink at the bar, read the menu and spoke to one of the owners and a few of the staff. Republic calls itself a gastro pub. The menu seems eclectic and ambitious, not the standard pub fare (coq au vin; steak frites w/ 18 ribeye, the somewhat ubiquitous lobster mac n cheese, a $46 hamburger made with Kobe beef and foie gras) But there are some small plates and more reasonably priced options as well. Can't speak for the food yet, but I loved what they have done with the space: open kitchen, exposed 2nd floor with new staircase, dark wood, tin ceiling tiles, sort of urban chic. I want to like this place. It seems a very nice addition to a neighborhood that really needs another option.
Adding to my original post; I finally went back to Republic for dinner last Friday. I was surprised I was able to get a reservation for 2 on Friday afternoon for 7:30 that evening. When I later had to change it to 8:30 my request was accommodated cheerfully. I had heard the restaurant can be noisy, and that may be true in the main room where the bar is, but it was not a problem for us in one of the smaller front rooms. Started with the truffle onion soup, which was like a cream of onion soup. It came in a stoneware carafe and was poured over a bowl of sauteed mushrooms. It was good, though it had been allowed to cool too much in the carafe. My date had the skirt steak with chimichurri sauce and I had the pork belly confit with creamy polenta and roasted brussel sprouts. I only had a bite of the steak, and though it was fine and cooked to order, the chimichurri was too bland for my taste. I liked the pork belly. I have my doubts whether it had been truly confitted in the traditional sense, but it was still good, fatty and substantial. I liked the polenta as well, and though my roasted brussel sprouts had spent too much time in the oven, to the point where the promised granny smith apples apparently had roasted into oblivion, they paired well with the pork and polenta. The service was friendly and efficient. I still want to like this place, and for the most part I do.
I recently went to Republic and I thought it was great! I love the atmosphere. We tried a few appetizers (popcorn, mussels, fried pickles, deviled eggs) and they were all delicious. I had the Peruvian chicken for my meal and it was really good. It is very local for me so I'll be back for dinner or happy hour.
I just want to second ratbuddy's comment. The whole Kobe beef scam is out of control. As is its cousin Wagyu. On top of it turning Kobe beef into a burger is culinary mortal sin, like pouring ketchup on foie gras. (Did Kobe Bryant's father Jelly Bean play basketball in Japan?) I have had real Wagyu in the US, an 8 0z steak will run around $80-120. But never Kobe, I think $200 might be on the low side.
We went last night and I have to say that we will likely not return.
When we walked in the door, the first thing that hit us was the volume. It was so loud! Not just abuzz with people (it was packed) but too loud to talk. The hostess and I could not hear each other and she had to come around the host stand to get our name.
We were sat in one of the front rooms, which was a bit better but still very loud.
Before you roll your eyes and think that I am an old fuddy, I am in my very early 40's and worked in the restaurant and catering biz for over 20 years. it was too loud for the 4 of us at our table to be able to enjoy our conversation.
Service was OK on the whole, but the 10+ minute wait for our drink order because "there was a glass shortage" was fairly annoying.
Each couple split an appetizer, clams casino for us and the Scallop for our friends. The casino was good and a good sized portion but not really a true casino and the Scallop (note no s) was good but not worth the price (as I was told)
For dinner we stuck to sandwiches; Patty Melt, Au Poivre Burger, Cloak and Dagger (Reuben on a pretzel Croissant) and a BLT + avocado. All served on carving boards with individual squeeze bottles of ketchup.(yawn)
We all enjoyed our meals but nothing was show stopping. Fries (sweet potato better than the Parmesan truffle) were perfectly cooked but the half ounce paper cup of cole slaw was lost. It was one forkful, why bother?
I, too, want to like this place but I am not sure I can. I enjoy a spot that is close to home and has food a level above the typical pub far I tend to get locally but the noise level and some of the "trying to be trendy" things really put me off.