Monday, March 28, 2011

3/26/11-Bangkok Bistro, Schenectady, NY

Hands down, worst Thai food we've ever had. Both of our noodle dishes were overpriced, underseasoned and overcooked. Decor was weird and the restaurant was really cold. The only plus was the service--our waitress was friendly and efficient. Not much else to say about this one!

3/25/11-Moe's Southwest Grill, Southington, CT

I realize this is a chain and although we try to avoid them, at 10pm in Southington, sometimes that is the best you can do. The food is nothing to write home about--it was the service that spawned this review.

We were trying to get food after the community theatre's production of "Rumors" and figured Moe's, which is very new to town, should still be open--turns out they close at 10pm. It was literally 9:59 when we were driving by the storefront to see and as we were about to pull away, a manager came to the door and flagged us in! We were greeted with a very loud "Welcome to Moe's" from the staff! The manager was more than accommodating, telling us to take our time and to feel welcome to sit down and eat since they still had a ton of things to do before they could leave for the evening. Taking her up on the offer, the staff was courteous and friendly--they did not make us feel rushed at all. A burrito, quesadilla and some chips, queso and salsa for Tom and I (the queso isn't that great, it tasted like melted american cheese, however the hot salsa is excellent; my quesadilla was filling and tasty and Tom was happy with his burrito creation--however, we agree that this place is a bit overpriced--what can we say? We're spoiled with authentic inexpensive Mexican). Can't say I'd go out of my way to eat here for the food, but for a last minute alternative to fast food, we'd be happy to return. Our thanks to the staff of the Southington Moe's for their kindness.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3/19/11-Haveli India, Middletown, CT

Our first Indian food experience! We've always been intrigued by Indian food but at the same time, overwhelmed and not sure what to try. Prior to this, all I've had were vegetable samosas and naan that my former co-worker used to bring in. Luckily, Tom's friend Brian and his wife, Priya, are well versed in the cuisine (Priya's family is from India)--so who better to take us on our first try?

It is hard for me to describe Indian food. It is so different from what we've had, yet similar in some ways. The spice/heat is not anything like what I anticipated (then again, I've developed quite the tolerance for heat) but the flavors are truly amazing. Instead of going into detail about the flavors of the dishes, I will just go ahead and say the things that I tried were honestly delicious and I would definitely return, knowing a little bit more about the cuisine--I just don't think I can do it justice trying to describe the experience!

Priya ordered for us--we started with Lamb Samosas and Vegetarian Pakora. For our entrees, she suggested that we have the Chef's special--complete Indian dinner--an excellent choice because it really gave us an idea of all the different dishes, in little containers for tasting. It contained--*Choice of Soup *Samosa*Piece of Tandoori Chicken *Seekh Kebab *Lamb Curry*Saag Paneer*Dal, Raita, Rice, Papad, Onion Chutney *Choice of Bread (poori or Naan) Dessert, and Tea or Coffee.

Overall, a great first experience! By the end, we felt much more comfortable and I'm happy to say we enjoyed it so much that we look forward to having Indian again!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

3/5/11-Tango, Glastonbury, CT

I feel re-energized. My faith in having a truly incredible dining experience has finally been fulfilled, after an all-too-long hiatus. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Tango--the architecture was gorgeous, the food was mouthwatering in both taste and presentation and the staff was prompt, friendly and fun--an experience for all the senses.

Let me start by admitting something--Tango wasn't our first choice. We haven't been to Plan B in a long time, so we figured we'd give that a shot--then we heard that the wait was 70-90 minutes and I looked at Tom and we walked out the door (sorry, but it's not that serious!). So, I pull out my blackberry to figure out what is nearby and Tango popped up--I said to Tom that I had heard good things about it a while back, but I really couldn't remember much about it. So we figured, what the hell, let's give it a shot. Boy, were we glad we did.

Pulling up to the building, you wouldn't immediately think "restaurant"--the design and architecture is so different than anything else you'd typically expect to see, but it is beautifully designed, with tons of big windows, an outdoor patio and really neat spiral wood block columns on the inside. We walked in to a warm, romantic, yet casual atmosphere and was quickly seated. Staff came over immediately to fill water glasses, take our drink order and then the strangest thing happened--our waitress came by with a small bowl of hot water and a plate with two white discs and a pair of tweezers on it. She could see the quizzical look on our faces and explained that the discs were expanding towelettes to rinse our hands off with--major points, right there! It almost takes you back to childhood but with such a grown-up touch.

A basket of fresh bread, homestyle biscuits and whipped cinnamon butter was brought to us--I could have ate just the biscuits and that cinnamon butter all night and I would have been happy. Perusing the menu, we decide to try an appetizer since they were quite reasonably priced and creative. We chose the fried calamari--tossed with sautéed chorizo, sweet cherry peppers and a cider vinegar reduction--the chorizo gave this dish a nice heat while it was really the cider vinegar reduction that gave this dish the special something (be sure to mix the bowl of calamari when it is brought to your table to spread the vinaigrette all over). The portion was huge for the two of us, so we opted to box half of it to save room for our entrees. After appetizer, an amuse was brought out--a spoonful of melon fruit salsa with crispy prociutto--sweet and refreshing.

Onto the main course--Tom had the braised bacon roast served over buttered asparagus dusted with fennel pollen and assorted stir-fried vegetables--Tom loved his dish, finding it to be very tender yet filling. His vegetables were well thought out, instead of the usual haphazard side dish of randomness, seasoned and cooked to perfection. I had the Butter Basted Tenderloin Medallions-loaded mashed potatoes, a sweet demiglace, and fried cioppolinis. The plate was very nicely presented with the tenderloin cooked to a perfect medium. The best part was the demiglace--it really changed the whole flavor of the dish and made me crave more! Needless to say, we both polished our meals.

If everything we'd had until this point had been this good, it was essential that we try dessert. Just before dessert came, another surprise arrived. This time, a large white bowl was brought to the table, inside was filled with warm water and orange slices floating on top--then, our waitress opened a thermos and poured liquid nitrogen into the bowl and this incredible white rolling fog appeared all over our table, lightly scented with fresh oranges--it was called the "aromatherapy course." I said to my waitress that it was literally the coolest thing I've ever seen done (it was--the fog was "cool"...). To top off our evening, our dessert arrived--chocolate threeway--white chocolate mousse, warm chocolate cake and soft dark chocolate triangles--yep, we were in heaven.

I want to go back already. This is definitely our new special occasion spot. I'm tellin ya, you will not regret giving this gem a shot. Thanks to the staff for a great dining experience!