Monday, November 26, 2012

11/23/12-Spicy Green Bean, Glastonbury, CT

Tom and I headed out to lunch with Jill and Cory. I've been talking about wanting to go back here since a Yelp event a few months ago, so I'm glad we finally made the time. Even though it was pretty busy when we arrived, we got a nice big table by the window.

Jill and I both got the "Big Bangin Monster Steak and Cheese"--and it was all of that and more. Real steak, cooked up perfectly with a great spice blend that gave it an amazing peppery flavor, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato on a hefty roll, served with fries (regular for me, sweet potato for Jill). The steak sandwich was delish and was the envy of Tom--but where was the mayo? There could have been more cheese, too--there was a barely there sprinkling of cheddar melted atop the steak. These two things didn't stop me from enjoying this sandwich. I want another one right now, just thinking about it.

Cory and Tom had burgers--Cory's all-American burger must have been good, since it was inhaled. Tom went with the Chimi burger, which had the house chimichurri sauce on it--but where was the sauce?? A very, very light coating of chimi sauce was found upon opening up the burger, but it really couldn't be tasted because there definitely wasn't enough of it. Tom also ordered a roast beef sandwich to go, and he had the same problem again--he ordered it with a garlic mayo and it was barely there. It seemed that maybe the kitchen just does a small squirt in the middle of the burger/sandwich and doesn't layer it out to the sides of the meat and bread--we all love creative condiments, so let them shine! Next time I will be sure to order an additional side of the sauce to meet my particular taste.

Oh and the fries were incredibly good! I don't know how they make or season them, but they are damn tasty and addicting! The sweet potato ones were ok, nothing special, especially in comparison to the regular fries.

Service was friendly (and even hooked us up with cookies because of the Yelp check-in!) and we were all stuffed by the end of lunch. We will definitely return!

11/13/12-Saybrook Fish House, Rocky Hill, CT

Tom and I headed to Saybrook Fish House for dinner this evening and from the minute you walk in the door, you can tell this place has been around for quite some time. This place definitely has a worn-in feel to it with a steady stream of regular neighborhood customers--if my grandfather was alive, he would come here. Even though we were probably the youngest couple in there, we didn't feel uncomfortable. We were brought a large bread basket, with a few different varieties to choose from (even those cellophane-wrapped breadsticks that no one has seen since the early 90's). Then a family-style salad was brought to the table. I am a bit of a purist when it comes to my salad, so I didn't care for the large piles of sliced veggies, but this did make it easier to pick off the ones you didn't like. For an appetizer, we had Rhode Island style calamari--nice and spicy, just the way we like it and the calamari was cooked perfectly.

For entrees, I had the special swordfish--blackened, served with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes. No complaints for my dish! The fish was cut thick and had a nice, blackened taste to it and the potatoes were nice and garlicky. Tom had a special Louisiana style pasta dish, with shrimp, chicken, clams, mussels in a spicy red sauce--very filling dish that yielded leftovers for the next day.

We were stuffed by this point, so dessert wasn't an option. However, they give you a free fruit bowl and they offer to wrap it so you can bring it home. This was impressive, with 2 large strawberries, melon slices, pineapple, canteloupe, an orange and an apple.

You definitely get a lot of food here and we had a good experience--however, I still felt like it was overpriced. It would have felt far too pricey for us had we not had a groupon, so I don't anticipate returning anytime soon. If you are looking for a place to dine with the grandparents, this is it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

11/8/12-Burton's Grill, South Windsor, CT

Tom and I were in the area on business and was looking for a place to get a nice lunch. We decided to try out Burton's in Evergreen Walk, a definite power suit kind of place. We were brought some warm rolls and our beverages and we decided to start with the Philly spring rolls--really interesting take on a philly cheesesteak, I loved the gooey, melty cheese coating the thinly sliced steak inside the roll--the spicy ketchup dipping sauce did nothing for me, but Tom enjoyed it!

For my lunch, I went with the California chicken sandwich--bronzed chicken breast, cure 81 ham, chipotle mayonnaise, avocado cream and pepper jack cheese on griddled ciabatta, hand cut french fries--the concept was a good idea but I felt that the avocado cream and the chipotle mayo pretty much canceled each other out. Tom had the Mediterranean chicken--pan seared chicken breast topped with sun-dried tomatoes,
goat cheese and provolone, served over spinach risotto, finished with a delicate lemon butter sauce--the risotto was nicely done and a good accompaniment to the chicken.

Service was prompt and efficient, always a plus at lunchtime. It was a bit pricey for lunch but we left satisfied with our choice.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

11/3/12-McLadden's Irish Publick House, West Hartford, CT

Tom and I headed out for the night in one of my favorite towns to dine in--West Hartford--and decided to try something a bit different. McLadden's was hopping when we got there, with a large crowd of people in the bar area and quite a few more waiting for tables. We were seated after about a 20 minute wait. I like the feel of this place--dark, wooden seating area with the signature Guinness harp towards the back of the room, beer taps mounted onto shelves along the walls and a stage area for live bands. I've never been to Ireland, but this is what I hope a traditional Irish bar looks like.

To start, we shared a bowl of the French Onion soup. Our waitress told us that so many bowls of that soup had been ordered tonight alone. Maybe it was the chill in the air that got people craving some warmth in their souls or patrons just know how good this soup is, either way, it was a great choice. The onions were cooked perfectly and just melted as they hit your tongue. The Gruyere and provolone topping a crostini gave the soup that bite that hits you in the back of your mouth, while the beefy broth melded all the flavors together.

For entrees, Tom went with the corned beef and cabbage. The portion size was excellent and adding some mustard to the mix really made the dish for him. I am not a big fan of corned beef myself (contrary to my red hair and fair complexion, I am not Irish in the least) but the few bites I stole were pretty good. I decided on Bangers and Mash for myself--the Irish sausages had that distinct flavor that I expected, but it was the three onion gravy that really ramped up the flavor in this dish. The potatoes were fluffy and plentiful and also benefited from the gravy.

We were quite full by the end of this evening and we overall had a good experience. I would definitely come back--maybe next time to hang out at the bar and enjoy my own crock of french onion soup!