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Entries in American (49)

Sunday
Feb282016

Pearl at Longshore Splashes Onto The Westport Restaurant Scene

After a great deal of anticipation, the newest restaurant to grace The Inn at Longshore, Pearl, opened its doors last Monday. The restaurant’s cosmopolitan appearance isn’t what one might expect in a seaside community.  There are coastal elements of course, repurposed bleached wood lines the wall behind the bar which also houses a recycled glass countertop that’s very much reminiscent of sea glass. But Pearl will never be mistaken for a casual seasonal, seaside eatery; it’s much too stylish for such.  The atmosphere perfectly reflects the personality of the town, sophisticated without being overly formal. Beyond the clean lines of the interior lies the magnificent view of the Long Island Sound. If you’re lucky enough to be there at sunset be prepared to have your breath taken away.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Chef Michael Hazen on a quiet Thursday afternoon. If his name rings a bell, the innovative chef launched the concept for the Bartaco restaurants. At Pearl he sets out to create a menu that is inspirational and reflective of today’s lifestyle, clean and simple with a modern approach. He offers food that is familiar while pushing the envelope just slightly to offer an element of surprise. Chef stressed the importance offering items that are local and seasonal. 

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Sunday
Jan172016

Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant Opens in Westport

When one restaurant door closes a new one opens. The institution that was Mario's closed last year, but this week I had the privilege of attending an intimate event celebrating the opening of Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant, at their newest location on Railroad Avenue in Westport. This farm to fork eatery joins the popular Greenwich and New Haven locations as well as Cava, Scena and 55, and is the result of the collaborative endeavor of the Kluber, Nube and Vincente Siguenza sibling team, who have over the past 10 years combined their passion for wine, food and customer service to create some of the area’s finest dining establishments.

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Sunday
Dec272015

Eastend Opens in Greenwich Serving Modernized American Cuisine

Eastend is the latest addition to Z Hospitality’s expanding portfolio of quality restaurants in Fairfield and Westchester Counties, joining Sole, Mediterraneo, Terra, Aqua and Aurora. Located at the bottom of Greenwich Avenue in the space formerly occupied by Primary Restaurant, it recently opened, 25 years to the week after Mediterraneo up the avenue.

Overseeing the menu is Executive Chef Albert DeAngelis. Chef Albert joined Z Hospitality Group as Executive Chef in 1989 and has been the creative vision behind the group’s Mediterranean-style bistros. Joining him in the kitchen is Chef Matt McNerny, a graduate of the CIA and formerly the chef du cuisine at Aurora in Rye and Sole in New Canaan.

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Sunday
Dec062015

Brian Lewis' The Cottage Opens in Westport - A First Delicious Look

Chef Brian Lewis, one of Connecticut’s most influential chefs and celebrated for being on the cutting edge of the state’s dining scene, opened his new restaurant, The Cottage, this past weekend. It is Chef Lewis’ second Fairfield County restaurant, redesigning the space that formerly housed Le Farm into a charming 44-seat establishment in the heart of town. Known for his thoughtful and innovative dishes that garnered him accolades from The New York Times, Esquire and Connecticut Magazine, The Cottage features his highly revered seasonal American cuisine in a warm and relaxing environment.

The Cottage reflects Chef Lewis’ vision and represents his desire to produce a premier neighborhood destination serving the finest, locally sourced cuisine. The menu will be updated weekly paying homage to local farmers and artisans in the region that share Lewis’s commitment to exceptionally sourced and quality seasonal ingredients. “My wife, Dana, and I have fallen in love with Westport over the years, spending so much of our free time here with our boys, Jude and Jax. The food scene here, the community of chefs, and farmer’s market have always been a big part of my day to day life.”

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Sunday
Oct252015

New Chef @ elm Restaurant in New Canaan: Enter Chef Luke Venner

Chef Luke Venner has been at the helm of elm Restaurant for several months and was invited to participate at the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival as one of the Innovative Chefs. The two small bites that he prepared at the festival were delicious. In hopes that these were reflective of his newly revised menu, CTbites returned to the restaurant to sample other dishes on his recently introduced Autumn menu. The appetizers and entrées that we enjoyed highlighted the inherent flavors of the ingredients utilizing Chef Luke’s balanced vision and delicate touch.

We shared three dishes from the “smaller” section of the menu. 

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Sunday
Oct042015

Land, Farm, and Sea: A First Impression of Mill Street Bar & Table Now Open in Greenwich

Now open in the Byram neighborhood of Greenwich, Mill Street Bar & Table celebrates American seasonal fine dining in one of Connecticut’s most elegant tavern-inspired settings. Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Mill Street is Greenwich native Geoff Lazlo (whom we know and love from The Whelk and leFarm) along with partner Bill & Lesley King.

Under Geoff's leadership, the Mill Street menu is comprised of rustic yet sophisticated dishes (whole roasted proteins such as chicken and trout, a beautifully appointed oyster bar, homey pasta dishes, inventive flatbreads...) that embrace the bounty of land, farm, and sea, featuring among other purveyors, Mill Street’s own Back 40 Farm in Washington, CT.

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Sunday
Aug302015

SE Uncorked Opens in New Canaan: Snacks & Taps + A Great Vibe

Chef Nick Martschenko’s (South End) newest venture, SE Uncorked, is already creating an incredible buzz throughout New Canaan for its great food and great vibe. Inspired by the speakeasies of the Prohibition era and taverns in the UK and Australia, Chef Nick told CTbites that his vision is for “guests to be comfortable and relaxed in a heavily beverage, comfortable environment with foods designed for a pub versus restaurant theme.” 

Located at 15 Elm Street, both the exterior and interior have been completely redesigned. The brick-faced exterior features a drop-down wood shelf, windows at eye-level  and a wood carved sign announcing “Uncorked” with the familiar South End circle-logo with the additional prelude... “Snacks & Taps.”

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Sunday
Aug162015

Meet The New Culinary Team @ Vespa Restaurant in Westport

Vespa Restaurant recently introduced its new culinary team, Executive Chef David White and Pastry Chef Susanne Berne to create a vibrant menu to complement the relaxing décor and wonderful water view. The duo will collaborate in creating a menu for the full dining experience, from the first bite of Antipasti to the last bite of Dolci. In addition, the restaurant recently unveiled its lunch service, a new dessert menu and the commencement of “Apertivo Hour” from 4-6PM, offering half price beer, wine, $8 select cocktails and a small plates menu.

Chef David joins Vespa from The Inn at Pound Ridge, where he was the Chef de Cuisine. Prior to working with Chef Jean-Georges, he sharpened his skills in Europe before returning to the US to further refine his talents with award-winning Andrew Masciangelo at Savona. Chef Berne’s passion for the culinary arts was sparked by a pastry course in college before receiving her Grande Diploma in Pastry Arts in 1999. She subsequently won back-to-back ACF Florida Pastry Challenges in 2003 & 2005.

CTbites recently visited Vespa to sample a variety of the new culinary team’s Italian-inspired creations.

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Sunday
Aug022015

Hoodoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield: Gluttonous Carnivorianism

The heck with “Veni, vidi, vici,” my return visit to Hoodoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield was more we came, we saw, we ordered and man we tried. And when I say we tried…we tried EVERY meat on the menu and we tried to eat every ounce of meat on numerous trays. If this was a gunfight with Hoodoo Brown in the 1870s we would be full of holes, he won.

Armed with a reservation for the “BBQ Room,” twelve of us ventured to Hoodoo Brown. As our group congregated, I placed the initial appetizer order plus a round of beers, sodas and lemonades.  To warm up our appetites, this initial order included two large BBQ Nachos (one with chopped brisket and the other with pulled pork), a dozen Bourbon Teriyaki Wings and a couple of Strawberry and Arugula salads. As we waited, super Pitmaster Nestor Laracuente wandered into the room to offer his humble thanks to all of us for coming and wished us a great meal. He was heading back to Queens for the evening before beginning the return voyage the following morning at 4AM.

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Wednesday
May062015

Meet Walrus + Carpenter's Pitmaster, Ben McCrea, The Man Who Makes The Meat

 
Ben McCrea is a gentle-giant of a man, but don't let his warm, friendly facade fool you. Underneath that kind-hearted shell is a mean, Auss-een, grilling machine.

In the WAY back of the lot on Fairfield Ave in Bridgeport that Walrus + Carpenter calls home, is the perch where Ben keeps watch. His job... smoking all types of meat to perfection. But what makes the man that makes the meat?

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Ben gained his skills from watching his grandfather grill on the "barbie," but becoming a grill master wasn't his first passion. Ben came to the States as a boxer and did very well in that 'arena.' However, boxing is a short career and Ben knew something more awaited. What he didn't know was that it would be a smoker with a 500 gallon propane tank, commissioned by Walrus co-owner Joe Farrell (along with Adam Roytman.)

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