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CTbites' Chef Demo Tent Sept 5 + 6th at The Blues & BBQ Festival in Westport. 8 local chefs. Ton's of great food for all! View lineup here. 

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Entries in American (43)

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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Tuesday
Jul072015

Fleisher’s Craft Kitchen (formerly Craft Butchery) Launches Dinner Service

Fleisher’s Craft Kitchen (formerly Saugatuck Craft Butchery) is about to launch dinner service at their Westport location. The Craft Kitchen has been serving a highly popular weekday lunch and brunch since it first opened in 2011, but with an expanded indoor/outdoor dining area, this sustainable butcher will open its doors in the evenings Wednesday-Sunday 5-10pm starting August 5th.

CTbites was excited to get a preview of the new dinner menu created by Executive Chef, Emily Mingrone.  

The dinner menu features an innovate selection of dishes, some classics including the famed burgers from the lunch menu, but also a variety of vegetarian options for non-meat-eaters. We appreciated the playful quality of each dish, and Chef Emily’s creative execution of Craft’s nose to tail policy.  

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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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Sunday
Apr052015

Baldanza in New Canaan: Organic and Flavorful

Tucked in the rear of a charming passageway on Elm Street in New Canaan is Baldanza Natural Market Cafe. With a large and diverse organic menu, and a blackboard filled with the names of local purveyors, this small restaurant is fast becoming a local favorite. Owners Sandy and Angela Baldanza opened the café last year serving lunches and an occasional ‘pop up dinner’. Baldanza recently expanded the hours to include regular dinner service and partnered with Chef Kender Urena, who many will remember as the Chef /Owner of Bistro Bonne Nuit. Urena was awarded a Grand Diploma in Culinary Art with outstanding honors from the French Culinary Institute in NYC and was one of Bon Appétit Magazine Top 100 Chefs in America in 2007.

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Sunday
Mar222015

Washington Prime 2.0 - Chef Howard McCall Jr. Brings Comfort Food to SONO

Patrons of Washington Prime will find comfort in the cuisine of its new Executive Chef Howard McCall Jr. This unassuming chef is not new to SoNo nor the kitchen at Washington Prime; he started in the kitchen at Barcelona twenty years ago and was the opening Sous Chef at Washington Prime last summer. Prior to joining Washington Prime he oversaw the kitchen at Mint restaurant in North Carolina which influenced his new Southern style cuisine.

CTbites was invited to meet the chef and sample some of his new additions to the menu. Chef Howard exudes a soft personality, allowing his culinary talents to speak. His recent changes to the new menu range from a creative American Soul Rolls to a Braised Lamb Shank, plus modifications of previous favorites. Each maintained the focus on the main ingredient with delightful accompaniments…more akin to Southern comfort food.

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Thursday
Feb192015

Burger Bests: Bailey's Backyard's Cheddar & Ale, One Excellent Burger

The next stop on my unending burger quest found me sitting at a high top table in the rear of Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield. This modest two room restaurant is known for its creative cuisine with an unwavering Farm to Table attitude instilled in the entire menu by Executive Chef, Forrest Pasternack.

Many told me about the Cheddar and Ale Burger, and it was time I tried it for myself. The Burger is served with caramelized onions, cheddar & ale sauce on a brioche, with a side of shoestring potatoes.

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Sunday
Feb152015

Mediterraneo in Norwalk ... A Culinary Tour of Southern Europe

Mediterraneo, a ‘destination restaurant’ in the Hotel Zero Degrees on Main Street in Norwalk is a beautiful backdrop for Executive Chef Albert DeAngelis’ culinary tour of the Mediterranean. The aquatic inspired dining room features a large bar area to the left, with several high top tables to augment the bar seating, and to the right is the main dining room. With hardwood floors, white chairs and a large nautical flag painting along the far right wall, the dining area presents a clean and airy feel. The highlight of the room is the floor to ceiling glass wall that overlooks the panoramic, million-dollar waterfall view on the river. From a magnificent French Braised beef “Bourguignon” to a mild Tuscan Prosciutto wrapped rabbit loin to an outstanding Wild black sea bass, the menu at Mediterraneo offers wide varieties of clean flavors and combinations.  Mediterraneo is one of five local restaurants owned by the  Z Hospitality Group.

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Thursday
Jan222015

Walrus + Carpenter Launches All Pie Dessert Menu 

In the dessert world, pie trumps all. It's all American, even if it isn't apple, and when done right, it's just plain delicious. Walrus + Carpenter in Bridgeport recently launched a new dessert menu that features...you guessed it, pie. In fact, the menu is ALL pie, 6 different tantalizing options including: Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie, Chess Pie, Key Lime and their signature "Walrus Pie," featuring a bacon-chocolate chip cookie crust, bacon crumble, bacon candy & peanut butter ice cream (Get in the car...there's still time).

In keeping with Walrus' attention to detail, this master of all things smoked meat have put a little extra love into each and every pie. The creative cookie based pie shells, the flakiness of the Apple Pie's cheddar crust, and the gently torched meringue are just a few noteworthy elements. Plus, Walrus + Carpenter is now open 7 days a week, so you can enjoy this 6 pie menu 24/7. View the full Pie Menu Photo Gallery below:  

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Sunday
Jan042015

Lunch @ The New Harvest Wine Bar in New Haven

The New Haven outpost of Harvest Wine Bar is the fifth restaurant for siblings Kleber, Nube, and Vincente Siguenza, the the trio behind Cava in New Canaan, 55 Degrees in Fairfield, Scena in Darien, and sister restaurant Harvest Wine Bar in Greenwich. CTbites reviewed the Greenwich location almost a year ago, and many of the same culinary observations apply to this newly opened New Haven outpost on Chapel Street. I stopped in recently to experience the restaurant’s $19 two-course prix fixe lunch, perhaps one of the best downtown lunch options among New Haven’s fine dining restaurants.

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