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Entries in Lunch (231)


The Chelsea in Fairfield: A New Chip Off the Old Block

Instantly familiar, yet completely new, Fairfield’s six-week-young The Chelsea has already settled quite nicely into the dining scene. With an Unquowa Place address, a steady lunch and a boisterous evening crowd–its practically a Fairfield County regular.

This is thanks in large part to a familiar and accomplished trio of owners responsible for creating many hot spots we know and love: Scott Beck, co-owner of Match and The Loft in South Norwalk; Matt Storch, Chef and co-owner of Match in South Norwalk; and Kevin McHugh, Co-Owner of Grey Goose in Southport and Spotted Horse in Westport.

Beyond the obvious street cred, the palpable success of the restaurant is found in the breeziness of its well-designed space (McHugh’s cozy palette of reclaimed rough sawn wood, white subway tiles and raw glass fixtures) paired with a globally-inspired menu long on classics. The Chelsea’s menu is a witty take on many dishes we all know and love, combined with a consistency of quality that comes from veteran owners and chefs who know the Fairfield County appetite very well.

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Pontos Taverna: Authentic Greek in Norwalk

A well-executed movie night in Fairfield County, which includes eating out before or after the flick, usually requires some skill.  You have to factor in the length of the movie and the distance to the restaurant and hope that there isn’t any traffic along Post Road so you don’t miss the coming attractions or your reservation.

Good news foodies and movie lovers, I have found the antidote to that little problem right in the heart of Norwalk.  I introduce to you, Pontos Taverna (cue the Greek music), serving Authentic Greek Cuisine right next to Garden Cinema.  Next to Garden Cinema you ask? I know, I’ve said it before myself, “What Greek restaurant next to the cinema?”

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Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant in Darien

Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant in Darien has been serving top notch, modern interpretations of Italian cuisine under the direction of Executive Chef Eben Leonard for close to 3 years. It is one of three restaurants owned by brothers Vicente and Kleber Siguenza (a fourth is schedule to open in Greenwich later this year) including Cava Wine Bar in New Canaan and 55 Degrees Wine Bar and Restaurant in Fairfield. 

Chef Leonard traces his culinary passion to his early childhood in Chatham, New York when he prepared monthly dinner menus for his mother. As a teenager, Chef Leonard met his first mentor, Chef Urs Bieri, at the Elm Court Inn in Massachusetts, when Bieri hired him to work as a “chef” at the age of fifteen,

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Plan B Burger Opens in Stamford: Burgers, Bourbon & Beer

The B's in “Plan B Burger” are Burgers, Bourbon, and Beer.  Add another for “Big”.

The huge Stamford branch of this high concept Connecticut restaurant franchise opened this week in the Town Center, and the spectacular interior of the vast 4500 square foot space immediately announces "This Ain't Five Guys."  No peanut shells here. And a far more high end burger.

Reclaimed wood walls.  Blown glass lights.  High tin celings.  Meat hook lamps. A wrap around bar, brimming with beer and booze.  Plan B transports an old-fashioned American saloon into the  21st Century.   Walk in and you know some two-fisted eatin' and drinkin' could happen here. All that's missing are sarsaparilla and swinging doors. 

The eats and drinks.... by the B's.

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Behind the Scenes: Napa and Company's New Chef Marino

Napa and Company in Stamford has a new, very talented chef overseeing its award-winning kitchen. Chef Leonardo Marino is slowly modifying the menu to showcase his commitment of using exceptional ingredients to highlight their natural flavors. Three weeks after assuming Napa’s Executive Chef position, CTbites sat with Chef Leo for this “Behind the Scenes,” review, discussed his passion for food and sampled several of his recently premiered dishes.  

Chef Leo’s devotion to cooking started at an early age as he assisted his mother and aunt in the kitchen; they inspired him to pursue a culinary education.  After attending the Culinary Institute of America, his philosophy of accentuating the natural flavors was further influenced in the kitchens of some of America’s greatest chefs. While working as the Lead Sous Chef for Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin, Ripert asked him to relocate to Washington DC to take the reins of Chef de Cuisine at Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert. Chef Leo returned to New York in 2009 and joined David Bouley at both Bouley and as the Chef of Bouley Upstairs.

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Great news for fans of Cortina Pizzeria, Norwalk!  

Chef/ owner Pat Pascarella of Cortina Pizzeria (the former Pizzeria Rosso) told CTbites that he is relocating from the current New Canaan Avenue location and re-opening on Wall Street in Norwalk with a larger menu and plenty of seats. During the relocation the New Canaan Avenue location will close on July 29th with the new Wall Street full-service restaurant scheduled to open in September.

The menu at the new restaurant will feature more than Chef Pat’s delicious pizzas (yes, he will feature the CTbites Pizza). He shared a sneak peak of some of the items he is considering and they include various meatballs, (including a meatball sampler plate), a variety of appetizers and salumi, salads including house-made mozzarella and burrata plus an assortment of pasta dishes. When CTbites spoke with Pascarella, he stated, "I am excited about opening the new location where I can expand the menu and offer more choices to my customers.  I also want to price the menu so everyone can come to the restaurant and enjoy some great food at reasonable prices.

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Road Trip: 116 Crown in Downtown New Haven

116 Crown (“One-Sixteen,” as its known to loyal patrons) arrived on the downtown New Haven scene in 2007 with little fanfare, but its impact was immediate and resounding. Nothing quite so chic, so stylish, had been seen in the Elm City. With its lit up green onyx bar easily visible from the street, 116 stood out as a beacon of alternative dining and nightlife, easily distinguishable from the loud clubs and Irish pubs on nearby blocks. A sophisticated crowd sought out the modestly sized space in search of haute mixology creations – extraordinary cocktails containing exotic ingredients – and worldly small plates to nibble on.  The perfectly pitched décor, highlighted by impressive design touches like an iconic bright blue Bang & Olufsen phone at the hostess stand and foot pedal-operated sinks by the bathrooms, and an undeniably hip ambiance perpetuated by a fantastic of-the-moment musical playlist, kept the cool kids coming back. 

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Fiesta Atlantic: Authentic Peruvian Fare in Stamford

I’ve enjoyed food from many different countries over the years but funny enough, never from Peru. So with three friends in tow, I decided to try Fiesta Atlantic, a Peruvian restaurant in Stamford. Having eaten Venezuelan and Mexican, I expected a fusion of both. It turns out Peruvian food is indeed a melting pot of different cultures but surprisingly, the food is notable for its Italian and Chinese influences. In the 18th century, Lima was the financial center of a vast Spanish Viceroyalty. Chinese laborers and Italian settlers washed up on its South Pacific shores bringing their own spices and cooking techniques.

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Aux Delices Opens in Westport: Great Food for Busy People

Back in Greenwich it was more than 10 years ago that I first walked into Greg Addonizio and Debra Ponzek’s tiny yellow-and-blue striped jewel of a café, Aux Delices. I went there almost every day, unable to resist their lemony ginger tea, inspiring desserts and gourmet take-out items. After I moved to Westport, I literally dreamed about their unbelievably decadent chocolate cake. Now, at long last, my dreams have come true. Aux Delices, which in French means “all the delicious food in life,” has opened a new Westport, centrally located at 1035 Post Road East. With an airy, relaxed French brasserie ambience of copper fixtures, colorful chalkboard menus, and an outdoor patio, it’s the perfect instant getaway. And, while the service is quick and easy, the food however, is anything but fast food-like. With the exception of a few imported specialty items, drinks and cheeses, all foods and pastries are baked on-site, prepared by culinary institute-trained chef Ponzek, who describes her own cooking as “quality, healthy food for busy people.”  


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Terrain Westport Garden Cafe: Farm to Table Fare

The construction of Terrain along the Westport Post Road sprouted up faster than a weed; but unlike a weed, Terrain was a welcome sight--desirable and beautiful. I’m unsure who frequents this store, billed as “a shop for eco-friendly growing supplies, home and garden décor” with its $100. terrariums and $2,000. wire tables, but I have noticed a lot of people are eating here. Terrain’s restaurant, the Westport Garden Cafe, with the look of a modern barn in all its refined rusticity--reclaimed wood tables adorned with potted flowers, bulbs suspended from above, and floor to ceiling glass windows--is bright and airy, completely lovely. To match decor, the menu itself is farm-to-table, boasting support for local farms such as Sport Hill, Holbrook, Oakview, The Hickories and Warrups. Alabama chef, Joe Wolfson, Food & Wine’s 2011 People’s Best New Chef from the Gulf Coast, does justice to his ingredients.

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