Gates opened its doors thirty-five years ago and continues to offer an array of dishes that keep this “elder statesman” on New Canaan’s Restaurant Row bustling seven days a week. The entrance is guarded by ornate gates and once you enter you are immersed into a large, open dining area with walls adorned by murals by Janet Picard, paintings and large terra cotta planters. Wander to the left and you enter the bar with a long oak bar with 12 seats and several booths. Both areas are normally filled with locals partaking of a drink after work, families enjoying dinner and regulars having a good time with friends.
Entries in comfort food (123)
My ongoing Burger search continued into South Norwalk and Donovan’s Restaurant. Located on the corner of Washington and Water Streets, Donovan’s is an historic landmark, founded in 1889 by Jeremiah Donovan. Donovan was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, served in the Connecticut Senate as well as the United States House of Representatives, before returning to Norwalk as its Mayor. Rumors abound that a number of presidential candidates were seen "taking a break" while making their tours of New England.
When you enter the single dining room, you can understand why. It exudes a relaxed atmosphere with its wood walls, long bar with fifteen stools, a few low tables for a dozen guests, high-top tables for another two dozen and a round table tucked into the front corner. The walls are adorned with several TVs and a collection of vintage prizefighter pictures from former owner "Battling Bat Kunz." The restaurant and bar were restored in 1979 to its original Victorian style when SONO was a far cry from its currently vibrant scene.
When we asked Fortina's Christian Petroni to share an Easter recipe, he turned to an Italian classic...his mother. Much of Petroni's culinary inspiration is derived from a richly food-centric childhood just outside of Naples, and this Easter recipe is no exception. Christian's mother's cooking can often be spotted on the menus of Fortina Pizza (Armonk, Ryebrook & Stamford coming soon), and now on CTbites. Thanks to Fiorella & Christian Petroni for sharing a little bit of their holiday with this ultimate comfort food Recipe for Easter Pie. What type of "pie" you ask. This recipe features: salami, sweet provolone, ricotta and eggs...enough said.
We all know Westport’s funky back alley BBQ stop, Bobby Q’s, as a casual place for authentic Kansas City BBQ ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and burnt ends. But did you know that a little over 2 years ago, owner Bob LeRose along with his cousin and Pitmaster/Chef, Joey Boucher, felt the burning desire to open a “grab and go” outpost in Old Greenwich on Putnam Ave (aka Route 1/Boston Post Road) called Bobby Q’s Pit Stop?
It was 14 degrees when I pulled into the narrow storefront parking lot, and the unmistakable smell of BBQ hit me the minute I walked through the door. The open kitchen, high top tables and counter felt welcoming and comfortable. Sort of like a diner in the south.
But Pit Stop is really not about BBQ, although one whole page on the menu features Bobby Q’s signature BBQ rib and meat combos, baby back ribs, and BBQ Plates and BBQ sandwiches.
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.
Behind every great man is a great woman. And for Dagwood Bumstead, that woman is Blondie.
Bethel's Sycamore Drive-in Restaurant, founded in 1948 and famous for its summer cruise nights, homemade root beer, and thin French-style burgers, has introduced the new Blondie burger, a fitting companion for their popular Dagwood burger. And I believe it's about time, the cartoon is named after the blonde bombshell matriarch, afterall.
Wah Lah is the ideal lunch location for a cozy cup of soup or a delicious pressed sandwich, with a side of small town charm. A fast-casual restaurant that focuses on the holy lunch trinity of soups, sandwiches, and salads, Wah Lah sets itself apart thanks to its amiable and talented owner-chef Keith Burke, and a well-executed and consistent menu that honors classic and wholesome recipes.
Keith opened Wah Lah in 2010. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, he worked in the foodservice industry for 14 years, traveling across the country before deciding to change his pace and put down roots in the small Connecticut town of Bethel. The fast casual dining concept appealed to him, and he decided to marry that approach to the lunch-friendly category of soups with salads and sandwiches soon following.
Wah Lah’s menu is a list of eight to twelve soups made fresh daily
As my search for great burgers in CT continues, I always appreciate the opportunity to combine this pursuit with other culinary options. When I found myself in Fairfield, I decided to stop into Archie Moore’s Bar and Restaurant and sample its Bar Burger and while I was there, why not begin the meal with an order of wings, which are consistently voted some of the best in the state.
Breakfast of Champions? The "Rosie O" at Reddi Rooster in Stamford may not qualify for this title or as a healthy start to the day, but when you want a diversion from the granola, the yogurt, the egg white omelet, the fresh fruit and throw calorie count to the wind, this sandwich is a great choice.
Reddi Rooster is located on Route 1 on the east side of Stamford near the Darien border. It is a fairly non-descript roadside luncheonette serving sandwiches, wraps, and a few hot dishes. The Rosie O has garnered some positive press as one of the best breakfast sandwiches in area so when I found myself in the area I decided to stop in and see for myself. It is available on a roll for $4.50 or as a wedge or a wrap for $7. I ordered the roll version and grabbed one of the seven stools. A steady stream of guests entered, ordered and waited, always a good sign…locals know.
A good friend told me that the WC Burger served at Walrus + Carpenter in Bridgeport near the Fairfield border was the best burger in the area. Those are strong words from someone I trust so I drove one evening and grabbed an outside table.
The menu is divided into several categories and each reads like a who’s who of comfort food. I was pleasantly impressed when I saw that the chef gave top billing in the Large Plates section to “WC Burger + Fries - Smoked mayo, bacon, bourbon onions, cheddar.” It was a simple decision and I ordered the burger medium-rare.
The burger was served on a metal tray accompanied by fries and small mound of pickle slices. There was a crisp char on the exterior and the texture of the interior was soft. I sampled the meat; it was rich in flavor, reminiscent of grass fed, the medium grind was still loose and it was moist without being overly juicy. It was an excellent patty. The first topping I tasted was the Bourbon onions.