Sunday, September 23, 2012

9/22/12-Burger Baby, Hartford, CT

Tom and I took a drive up to Hartford to try one of the newer burger places to see how it held up to our favorites. Easy parking right next door is nice so you don't have to walk too far. We got there on the early side of things, expecting it to be busy on a Saturday night. Shockingly, this place was pretty dead--never a good sign. A lone waitress in the dining room yelled over that she'd be with us in a minute--what, no hostess?  Odd, but okay. She seated us quickly, then came back a few minutes later to get our drink order.

The one thing I have been looking forward to in coming here were the duckfat fries. We haven't had duckfat fries since being in Portland, Maine and falling in love with them at the restaurant Duckfat. So, I'm sure the disappointment on my face was quite evident when our waitress said they were out of them. On a Saturday night? Sigh. She did try to push the truffle fries, but I stuck with the regular to go along with the Burger Baby Deluxe--american cheese, house made pickles, country fried bacon and a housemade sauce. I ordered my burger medium--it was bordering medium-well/well done when it arrived on my plate, making the burger almost dry. The bun was nice and sufficient for the size of my burger and I was a big fan of the country fried bacon, never having that before but unfortunately, there was very little of the housemade sauce (which looked similar to the sauce on a big mac). The fries were fresh cut but heavy on the oil, leaving them soggy.

Tom had the Wagyu burger and the truffle fries. He liked the taste of his burger, however, his was overcooked from his order of medium-rare. The black truffle aioli had a prominent taste and was a different flavor. The truffle fries were soggy as well (maybe this is more expected since they have the truffle oil coating them?)

As we were finishing our meals, a chef had wandered out from the back to wave to a friend. This friend expressed her disappointment in there not being duckfat fries that night; he replied that the machine was actually clogged/broken and they had just fixed it, so they could now serve the duckfat fries. Tom and I were surprised to hear that--not sure why our waitress just didn't tell us that in the first place, instead of saying they didn't have them.

Overall, not impressed at all. We felt that other burger places in the area offer much more in the areas of creativity, quality and taste--not to mention, value. The burgers here are a bit overpriced. Service was friendly but we were kind of off put by the white lie, and I felt bad that she was handling a lot of tables by herself. This place had potential but falls way short. With the stiff competition of great burger joints in the area (West Hartford, Glastonbury, Manchester), I'd say we're not returning.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

9/14/12-Salute, Hartford, CT

I realize I was just here. I very rarely make a return visit so quickly to a restaurant that I like but I couldn't wait! After a great first experience, I had high expectations for my second visit. This time, I went with Kim and Jen--Kim actually knows one of the owners, so she was very excited to hear that I had a great first visit just a few weeks ago.  I made reservations, which was a must on a busy Friday night. We were seated outside by one of the owners and he continually checked on us throughout the meal to make sure we weren't too chilly--he even offered to bring us chef's coats if we did get cold!

With lots to catch up on, we ordered a wine bottle special and the garlic cheese bread to get the evening started. The garlic cheese bread is easily one of my favorite things on the planet--hot, gooey but not overpowering garlic flavor, just perfect. On to our entrees! Jen had the Diver scallops over shrimp fried rice and soy butter--the rice had great flavor to it and the scallops were a good size and nicely seared. Kim had the Grilled salmon with a side of potato lasagna and sauteed spinach--I grabbed a bite of the potato lasagna, which was very tasty (and I am not typically a fan of scalloped potatoes!). I had the Rose Pasta, which was sweet sausage, mushrooms and spinach in a tomato cream sauce served with four cheese tortellini--so creamy and heavenly, there was no way I was finishing this dish! The only thing to note is there was barely any spinach in the dish, otherwise, it was delicious. Tom had my leftovers as soon as I got home and he licked the container he thought it was so good!

To top off our experience, we had the chocolate lava cake for dessert--I am glad we all had our own because no one wanted to share once we had that chocolaty first bite! The three of us had a great night and agreed that this is great place to go on a date night or a girl's night; needless to say, plans are in the works for a return visit. What really sets this experience apart from other recent dining experiences is the service--our table was visited by all three owners of the restaurant. Although Kim may have known one of the owners, we were treated with the same courtesy and attentiveness as any other table--this care and passion was evident as you could see the different managers talking to other tables, ensuring a great evening. It is so nice to see a management staff that really cares about the customer and giving them a great dining experience.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

9/7/12-Colony Grill, Avon, CT

Out with Jill & Cory tonight to try this pizza joint that has made its way north from Stamford. I have been to the original Stamford location and I love it. This new incarnation, however, it completely different. The interior is spacious, clean and modern, versus the wooden, worn-down Irish feel that Stamford has. I was absolutely delighted that while we were waiting for our booth to be ready, the owner came over to greet us and tell us about the restaurant, specials and what to expect. He also highlighted the additional menu options that Stamford does not have, such as buffalo wings.

When we were seated, we waited a few minutes for a server to come over. A girl came over, only to find out that we weren't her table and she told us how the new hostess was "running them ragged", but graciously took our drink order and offered to find our server--very nice of her. Our actual server came over, confirmed the drink order and took our food order. We decided to start with the chili covered nachos--nice flavor on the chili, decent serving size. I let everyone know that the pizzas were one size and we should plan to get a few since they are thin crust. We went with: sausage and hot oil; bacon; meatball. Of  course, the sausage/hot oil is and was my favorite, with that signature oil giving the pizza a little bit of a kick. The bacon and meatball were also good, no complaints here.

Another thing to note--after noticing that we were emptying our glasses faster than she could refill them, our server brought us pitchers--really nice touch, appreciated by all of us.

Overall, the four of us had a nice evening and although Colony can't replace my love for New Haven pizza, it is a decent replacement when in the Stamford or Avon area!