Saturday, February 18, 2012

2/17/12-The Blue Lobster, Berlin, CT

Out to grab a quick dinner before grabbing our 4th row seats at the CT Whale game! I think I've driven by this place a hundred times and always wondered about it, but never really thought to have dinner here until my sister's ex-boyfriend mentioned how him and his father have had great meals here.

A small, simple place with only a handful of tables, we were lucky to snag a booth right when we walked in. They have quite a nice menu of selection, all very reasonably priced, but I knew what I came here for--the hot buttered lobster roll. Tom got the same with a cup of their lobster bisque and we split french fries. The rolls were nicely stuffed with lobster meat, tossed in melted butter--in my opinion, it is the only way to have a lobster roll. The bisque was creamy and had a nice smooth, balanced flavor to it with a few actual lobster pieces in it. French fries were your average frozen variety and Tom said the coleslaw was pretty good. Overall, it was a nice, quick dinner. With prices like that, it'll make you feel like summer is right around the corner!

Monday, February 13, 2012

2/11/12-Barcelona, West Hartford, CT

Ohh, Barcelona--it was love at first bite.

It would be an understatement to say that I've been dying to come here. To my excitement, I was out of work on time and able to join Tom in a dinner celebration for his friend's surprise birthday dinner. Kudos to his lovely wife on the great choice! The restaurant was beyond packed when we arrived and it stayed that way throughout the night, with people crowded around the bar, no doubt indulging in the famous sangria or the Spanish wines. I myself enjoyed a glass of wine, although I couldn't tell you which one it was! The ambiance is perfect for spending time with friends--from the dark wooden decor with modern artistic accents to the music coursing through the place.

After we were all settled into our table, the hard decisions began--what to order, what to try? Tom and I settled on five of the tapas plates to share--Duckfat potatoes, Chorizo with sweet and sour figs, Gambas al ajillo, Chicken empanadas and  Hangar steak--ohh my goodness, all so good. I couldn't pick a favorite dish if I tried! We also got to try bites from our friends dishes, such as the Papas Bravas, and warm crusty bread was brought to the table with dishes of olive oil. Self-control is definitely a necessity when dining here because I think we all could have just kept ordering dishes all night long.

With a meal like this, how could you not order dessert? I went with the Crepas Salguero--heavenly, light and artfully prepared (however, I did have a bite of the Warm chocolate hazelnut indulgence and was immediately jealous!).

I would eat here all the time if it was possible--and with locations in Stamford, Greenwich, Fairfield, New Haven, SoNo and even one it Atlanta (that's for you, Jason), I'll be hard-pressed to stay away. I cannot recommend a place more highly than this one--from the amazing drinks, fantastic food and attentive service, you cannot go wrong.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2/4/12-Whitfield's, Guilford, CT

Went out for dinner this evening and decided to give this place a shot. We didn't have a reservation, so we sat at the small bar. The bartender was lovely and friendly, gave us our menus and we took our time. I can see why a reservation would be necessary--they have a prime location on the Guilford Green, a lovely view out to the town center and a great, classy atmosphere, perfect for a date night or a business lunch.

The bartender mentioned that the menu had just been changed--typically, it is changed every 3 months or so to go with the seasons but she said that sometimes the chef just gets bored with what is on the menu and changes it more frequently. We had a tough decision ahead of us, but I'd say we made some great choices. Tom had the Prosciutto Wrapped Atlantic Salmon with a saffron white bean stew and baby spinach--he commented that it was one of the better meals he's had lately. It was perfectly cooked with the prosciutto lending itself to giving the fish an excellent flavor and the white bean stew complimenting the fish nicely, with no "fishy taste" at all. I wanted to keep it light tonight, so I ordered an appetizer to share-- "Steak and Eggs"-Pan roasted filet mignon, grilled tomato, fried egg, brioche toast, steak sauce--what a combination! Artfully plated, it came out nicely stacked together, all parts working well together, with the filet cooked medium rare. I also had the Frisee and Apple Salad with grilled chicken, smoked bacon, dried cherries, apple cider vinaigrette--the apples and dried cherries took away the bitter taste of the frisee and the vinaigrette balanced out the sweetness, with the bacon adding the characteristic smokiness.

The bartender mentioned that all the desserts are made in-house daily so the dessert menu is ever-changing. After a dinner as wonderful as ours, dessert had to be good--another tough choice, but we opted to split the chocolate lava cake, topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate and raspberry sauce, garnished with fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries--absolute heaven in one bite.

I would definitely come back here--next time I'll make a reservation!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2/1/12-The Chicken Joint, Berlin, CT

Out for a late lunch with my favorite medic, Rick. He mentioned that he was looking for a good fried chicken place and was wondering if I had been here--since I had not, off we went!

This place is in an old dance club and you can definitely tell from the moment you walk in the door. The new owners haven't done much to change that, with the disco ball still hanging and the dining room sparsely decorated. We had the place to ourselves, so our waitress told us to sit wherever we wanted and to take our time. We both decided to get the 4-piece Southern Fried Chicken--the chicken was reasonably priced, came out piping hot and was pretty good. It was juicy on the inside with that salty, crispy outside that you know and love. Rick was disappointed that they were out of the mac n cheese wedges, with our waitress telling us that they have been waiting for a shipment of those and the sweet corn fritters for a while now--hearing that disappoints me, now knowing that they don't make these sides themselves in-house. I also ordered 2 biscuits for us, which were hard and tough, so they were probably previously frozen or old (sad....I do love a good biscuit!).

I brought home 2 dozen wings as well (had a groupon to use up!) so I selected the garlic parmesan and the buffalo for Tom--considering he ate the whole dozen of the garlic parmesan for lunch the next day, I'd say they must have been good.

Overall, the place has a weird location and vibe to it, but the chicken is pretty damn good and since they are called "The Chicken Joint", they are, at the very least, living up to that!