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Aug 3, 2014 01:44 PM

CT Arethusa and Community Table report

Spent the weekend out in the western part of the state and got to try both of these places, both new to us.

Both diners were excellent!

At Arethusa we started with the duck pate and the stuffed squash blossoms. The pate was our favorite app of the weekend! Soooo good! Dinner was foraged mushroom ravioli, and the strip steak, steak was good, but not as tender as I would have liked. In between dinner they brought us a compliments of the chef watermelon/strawberry soup which was really nice. Dessert was a scoop of butter pecan ice cream, such a good scoop, not overly sweet like it usually is, just really good, subtle. Again chef compliments, a shooter of milk and mini cookies! Service at this place was extraordinary! One of those nights when they seem to read your mind! The service puts this place just ahead of CT. Btw, just a beer and wine liquor license at this time, but it sounds like they will have a full bar license soon.

Dinner at CT table was a starter of duck confit and the burrata, wow, both of these dishes were delicious! Dinner was harpoon caught bluefin tuna, the favorite dinner of the weekend and the skate with fresh chickpeas. I liked that the sides focused on veggies since were in season. Not a big wine selection, and seemed to be quite a bit overpriced, but not a huge knowledge base of wine, so I could be off on this....just not used to $15-20/ glasses of wine....

For dessert we went back to the Arethusa dairy....the coffee ice cream is to die for, and the sweet cream with chocolate bits was pretty good as well!

Overall a really good weekend of eating!
Ps. We had lunch at the Pantry on Friday and the sandwich (smoked salmon) was delicious as were the sides. FYI, these sandwiches are stuffed full and we easily split between the 2 of us.

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  1. How you know you have a similar palate to a post-er--they love the same coffee ice cream that we do!

    Thanks for this. We haven't been to CT table for a while and haven't been at all to Arethusa (other than ice cream bar, where we've definitely been!). This makes me want to go to both.

    15 Replies
    1. re: sundeck sue

      :). I have to check my local WF, they carry the milk but never looked for the ice cream, that could be trouble.....

      Wasn't sure from the musings post if you were here of in SF. I was planning to write this review, but that post was timely in that I hadn't seen much talk about either of these places, and not sure why as they were both packed. Usually we eat in a lot, especially in the summer, and have been going to the old favorites, so I don't post to often....

      1. re: geminigirl

        You're in trouble. WF does carry, as do Caralluzi's, Walter Stewarts, Palmers, Holbrook Farms and others. Also their cheese and butters are available on the menu at The Welk, Good News Cafe and Momma's Boy.

        Nearer, try Ferris Acres or Rich Farms during the dog days ahead. Both are working dairy farms, like Arthusa, with a far more extensive menu of even higher quality craft icecreams.

        1. re: stamfoodie

          Thanks for the info and all the new places! We are closer to Hartford, but good weekend spots for us to check out! We are way behind in our ice cream eating this summer, but sounds like that could be changing :)

          1. re: stamfoodie

            I agree Ferris Acres and Rich Farms are great creameries - and I have yet to try Arethusa, but definitely want to. However, I must recommend Il Bacio in Danbury as some of the very best "local" ice cream. It's my fave in the area. Some standout flavors: Cardiac Arrest, Nutty Banana, Peanut Butter Fudge Oreo Cheesecake, Chocolate Lace. I realize not everybody loves a bunch of "stuff" in their ice cream, but I happen to love it - the more crunchy, chunky, texture-y stuff, the better! Word to the wise, Il Bacio is CASH ONLY.

            1. re: saturngrrl

              Re chocolate lace--we also love Dr. Mike's (Bethel) ice cream; and chocolate lace is their "star" flavor (my husband also likes their chocolate; and they make a good hot fudge sauce that I've bought to take home and keep in the fridge when we're feeling esp. indulgent)--have yet to try Bacio, though it's on our list from recommendations on this Board--they must use the same chocolate lace candy from a local candy-maker (just Googled and think it's Hauser Chocolates, which look to have operations in Bethel, as well as in RI).

            2. re: stamfoodie

              I love Arethusa's milk, but tried three different flavors of their ice cream and liked NONE. My mom had a cup of butter pecan and stopped eating less than halfway through. It was neither creamy nor flavorful. I felt they did their cows a disservice! It did inspire me, however, to go home and make my own gelato again.

              1. re: kattyeyes

                I've tried Arethusa's milk, but can't tell the difference from other milk! Clearly, not a discerning palate, at least in this department. Would love to know how you characterize what's special about theirs, as opposed to others, so I can see if I can taste the difference.

                And I just tried Arethusa's butter pecan and didn't like it at all--too sweet, cloying almost. And I had a taste of their seasonal peach, which I thought was terrible--again, too sweet and not very peachy.

                1. re: sundeck sue

                  Their slogan is "milk like it used to taste"--and even my mom, who rarely asks for a glass of milk, just loves it and agrees it's like milk tasted when she was a kid (she's now a kid in an adult suit at 79). I haven't had it in a while, but find Arethusa's milk so creamy and delicious. That said, it's just as delicious as Stonyfield Organic milk, which I can buy in Stop & Shop rather than Whole Foods.

                  I tried Arethusa's sweet cream with chocolate chunks (no sale), coconut with chocolate chunks (same), then butter pecan, which my mom had, then threw away down the street at the gas station. Neither of us throw away ice cream--EVER! I couldn't shut up about how subpar their ice cream was. It blew my mind.

                  But I find their milk so creamy. It's as if they just don't have a good recipe for ice cream. My mom said it all tasted the same--even watery, which is odd as we both think their milk is something special.

                  For reference closer to home for me, I love ice cream at Robb's Farm in Glastonbury (mmmm, goat tracks!), Salem Valley Farms in Salem, Wentworth's in Hamden. It was killing me I couldn't enjoy an ice cream at Arethusa--the smell of waffle cones in the air was such a draw, and it lingered even in the car on the way home. Talk about a whole bunch of nothing, though.

                  On a side note, their barns are IMMACULATE, their cows are beautiful and very welcoming (as are the folks who work there). One cow especially loved my mom when we visited and kept trying to lick her!

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    LOL re affectionate cow. And thanks--will note those ice cream tips--and try that milk again for sure!

                    1. re: sundeck sue

                      :) You bet! Our chat here made me think how fun it might be to do a little tasting with homemade cookies and a few different milks. Cheers!

            3. re: geminigirl

              p.s. realize I didn't answer your query re whether I were "here or SF"--answer: both--Berkeley CA and Sherman CT. And a northern New Englander, born and bred--Haverhill MA, right on the NH border.

              1. re: sundeck sue

                Gotcha, thanks! I was just reading about Paella night to be held at WSW in Sherman! it looks wonderful, have you been? I lived and worked in Haverhill for a few years and still have a few friends there! Also hoping for a work trip next year to SF so may be asking you for advice in the future!

                1. re: geminigirl

                  :) re small world!

                  And of course,if your work trip comes through, I'm happy to give any/all advice re SF (which will, of course, start with an annotated tour of the Bay Area Chowhound Board!)

                  1. re: sundeck sue

                    Ok here's the deal, Arethusa's milk isn't organic at all and the cows aren't bred for flavor but for looks and production. It's really not that special. They are great at marketing and are local. But If you want the most flavorful milk in New England that is truly an old style milk I would suggest Thorncrest Dairy in Goshen. The sweetest and Best tasting milk I've had since living in Denmark. And the ice cream at Peaches N' Cream in between Litchfield and Torrington is a MUST VISIT for any decerning ice cream lover. It's the bomb.

                    1. re: IMIMG

                      That's a broad claim, "the most flavorful milk in New England", but I haven't had Thorncrest's milk so I'm not disputing you.

                      Other good milks are available too. Connecticuters are fortunate that raw milk is sold legally in their state. Raw milk has a different taste from its pasteurized cousin, it's fresher and less processed. Of course, if you have health concerns about unpasteurized dairy you should do your research. And raw milk is expensive (so I buy it only rarely, as a treat). But, wow, is it good!

                      A really good one from Stone Wall Dairy (in Cornwall Bridge) is often sold at the Sherman IGA and the health food store in New Milford, and probably other places in the area as well as at the farm itself.

          2. Finally made it to Arethusa's restaurant. Mixed reviews.

            My husband quite liked his shrimp and crab on rosti appetizer and his roasted cod w/ corn and sausage main. And of course he loved his scoop of coffee ice cream.

            We both enjoyed the Stella cidre on tap.

            Neither of us much liked the amuse--watermelon broth--way too sweet for a starter.

            And I was disappointed in the mixed greens w/ figs--at once too bitter and too sweet--nothing to connect the flavors; and the bitterness dominated. The mushroom ravioli was good, but too much going on. I hated the plating--weird, small, deep circle in the center, w/ big rim. And I found it hard to order--so many of the dishes seemed overwrought and overpriced--"gourmet" in an unhappy sense of the word. I kept thinking, as I scrolled down the options, oh pork might be nice--but in a far less fussy preparation that didn't look like it might overwhelm the meat. I actually asked the server if it might be possible to get some of the quieter dishes I'd seen on the lunch menu (eg. lobster roll or hamburger)--answer, no.