Looking for Great Food near Middletown, CT
College student at Wesleyan U, I'm tired of the usual Main Street restaurants, looking for new restaurants worth trying in the area. Preferably somewhere nice, but somewhat affordable since I'm on a budget. Any cuisine types welcome.
Ha! I joined the site just to reply to this.
The only decent restaurant remaining on Main St. is Tibet Kitchen. Pho Mai was great, but it closed and has been replaced with a pretty bad pizza delivery place. Iguanas Ranas has decent food but terrible service. If you go with a group, you'll be there for days.
The rest of Main St. is even more mediocre, inconsistent pizza/Italian places, some terrible sushi, and a bunch of places playing up the quaint/local thing that have terrible food and terrible service. (Brewbakers, I'm looking at you.)
The only reason anybody would think of Main St. as a "destination" is if they were looking to buy crack.
Go in to Hartford or New Haven for food. Or just eat in Usdan. Trust me.
Moderately priced Hartford recommendations: Abyssinian Ethiopian restaurant on Farmington Ave., Black Eyed Sally's (go when there's jazz), Piolin Peruvian restaurant on New Britain Ave., Pho Boston (technically West Hartford, I think, also on New Britain)
- fellow member of the Wesleyan community
Oh, please. Taino Smokehouse far outshines Black Eyed Sally's; Lan Chi dishes out great Vietnamese food in a far nicer setting than Pho Boston; Mikado serves up stellar sushi; Mondo makes outstanding pies and salads, not to mention they serve great wines by the glass.
Your crack comment is out of line. I stand behind brookerme and BiscuitBoy's recommendations.
ETA: It's worth a trip to Meriden for a calzone at Napoli Pizza.
Middletown's "North End" has constant drug activity. I should know; I live there. There's a ridiculously high storefront vacancy rate all along Main St. and if I walk outside alone after dark, people yell obscene sexual things at me and follow me to my door.
And every year or so there's some sort of "clean up" effort.
The South End of Main St. is safer and slightly more pleasant, but to call the area a culinary "destination" is still a huge overstatement.
Mikado serves the same "stellar" sushi that most CT sushi places serve - order a sashimi assortment and you get tuna, salmon, and escolar. I don't know if you CAN get good sushi in CT. All sushi rolls essentially taste the same if you cram enough avocado and three types of fish inside, roll it in tobiko, and drizzle spicy mayo on top...
Taino Smokehouse is also NOT on Main St.
Mondo makes good pizza but the salads are the same cookie cutter salads you get everywhere: mixed greens or arugula, blue or goat cheese, some kind of candied nut, cranberries or a single strawberry. Sure, it tastes good, but you can get the same thing prepackaged at Whole Foods and it wouldn't be any different.
I'm familiar with the North End and this town. I grew up here, went to school in the North End and worked there through high school and college.
"All sushi rolls essentially taste the same..." Strongly disagree. Depends on what you order and the quality of the fish to begin with--all are certainly not equal.
I know where Taino is, thanks. The OP asked where ELSE good food might be found in the area, away from the usual Main Street places.
Disagree with you on Mondo's salads, too--again, fresh ingredients make a difference. Not all polenta croutons are created equal either, and their portions are so generous, they are best shared.
If you don't like living in the North End, no one's holding a gun to your head to make you stay there, right? But this is a food site--why sign up simply to badmouth all of Main Street when there are plenty of noteworthy places to eat? Or to rant about how you feel about living in your neighborhood? One need not drive to New Haven or Hartford (both of which are laughable choices, given your contempt for criminal activity in the North End) to find great food.
Yes the north end is a hole, so what are you doing about it? How about reporting the prostitutes and gang members? I am constantly sending the panhandling douchebags away from my lot.
And the OP mentioned "In the area." Sally's, Piolin and Pho Boston are a bit of a haul for a budget minded Wes student and their 3 series, late model Rav, or WRX. Besides the food at Sally's doesn't come close to Taino. Mondo has some of the best pies and salads in the county. I could be wrong about Main St being a dining destination...But could all the foot traffic in and out of the bars and restos be wrong too? The terrible service is almost a theme in your rant...Is it because you're a lousy tipper and the wait staff know you and your posse? Could it be that your nose is in your stupid phone, and not acknowledging the staff?
Not too long ago, when some mopes were probably watching Barney, Main St Middletown was a run down down ghost town at night. The eating scene has definitely elevated it...Or doesn't Wesleyan teach history?
Tibetan Kitchen is the best restaurant for sure. Krust white pizza with arugula is good. Haveli for Indian. Try Blackbird Tavern in Middlefield. Trackside deli in Rockfall. Great lobster rolls at Spoonshoppe in Meriden. If you feel like a little drive try Firebox in Hartford-really good and while a little splurge not that bad. Awesome breakfast can be had in Higganum at Jacks Country Restaurant-super fresh and won't break the bank. Bar Taco in West Hartford is yummy and not too expensive for such a cool hipster taco joint. Have fun exploring!