Fairfield County has some great bars with good old fashioned bar food…wings, burgers, fries, onion rings, cheesesteaks, with a wide variety of beers. Recently, many have expanded the menu to include tacos, chili, ribs, chicken and other down and dirty delicacies. When I received an invitation to join a media event at Johnny Utah’s in SoNo I was curious, since this bar also features a mechanical bull (spoiler…not happenin’).
Entries in Norwalk (194)
Recently the CTbites team previewed the menu at El Segundo in South Norwalk, the newest restaurant from the talented partners who created The Spread just up the block. The concept: Eat the Street. Intersect some of the world’s tastiest street food at the corner of Washington and North Water in SONO.
What began as a tasting quickly turned into a party ... a coming out party for Carlos Baez, Executive Chef of The Spread, one of the region’s most versatile, yet unheralded, chefs.
The menu flaunts Baez’ extraordinary range -- a gastronomic tour de force featuring over 3 dozen dishes curated from the boulevards and back allies of 27 countries on all seven continents, including barren Antarctica. (More about that selection later)
The Spread was the first: hip, smart, happening. Contemporary Sono.
El Segundo, by definition, will be The Second. This time: Street. Urban. Old World Global.
“We’ll have street food from each of the 7 Continents,” said Chris Hickey as he recently gave CTBites a preview of The Spread team’s new joint set to open in early August. Hickey and co-owners Andrey Cortes, Chris Rasile, Shawn Longyear and Executive Chef Carlos Baez envision an international playground for the palate.
“We’re going to have some fun,” Chris promised, grinning.
Open the corrugated metal garage door, and the vista is a courtyard boasting a fountain, storefronts, and looming apartments. A piazza in Naples? A market in Buenos Aries. A food fair in Bangkok.
Inside the restaurant, you’re on a side street. The vibe is almost Third World. The predominant motif is that corrugated sheeting – the humble material that shelters much of the earth’s population. A wall is painted in the brilliant graffiti of Duster, New York’s notorious tagger. On the wall, a subway door and a Number 6 Train to Duster’s Bronx. Its boogie. Its street food.
Are you looking for an inexpensive burger for lunch? Maybe some fries and a soda to join the burger? If they are all offered as a lunch special, even better. With my obsession with burgers, and my annual Best “10” burgers in southwest Connecticut behind me, I decided to try the moderately priced, newly opened Prime Burger in SoNo. Located next to The Spread, one of my Best “10” burgers, the SoNo location is the second in the area, after the original opened in Ridgefield several years ago.
Prime Burger offers beef, salmon, turkey, chicken and veggie burgers from $6.50-$8.00 with free (sauces, onion, lettuce, tomato, etc.) and $1.00 toppings (cheese, chili bacon, etc.), a la 5-Guys. The menu also includes hot dogs, grilled cheese, chicken tenders and salads (you can add a patty or grilled chicken). If you enter from the street your journey begins near the rear, where you place your order. I ordered the $10 lunch special, which included a cheeseburger, fries and a beverage.
Recently some members of The CTBites team and I had the opportunity to revisit and sit together at Sugar and Olives in Norwalk to try out the new springtime menu. For those of you who have not yet visited (what are you waiting for?!) Sugar and Olives was established by Westport resident, Jennifer Balin, in 2008. Her goal was, and remains, to educate diners and cultivate the relationship between farms and families. She is committed to serving local food, and nearly all the items on the generous menu come from within the state, including milk, cheese, eggs, fruit, vegetables, beef, pork, poultry and fish, as well as wine, beer and spirits. This three star Certified Green Restaurant serves brunch five days a week and dinner three nights a week.
After opening the highly successful Mama’s Boy and Jax & Co. in SoNo, Greer Fredericks’ new project, Peaches on the Waterfront, opens this Thursday on Wall Street in Norwalk. The new bar is located directly above Apricot Bar and Grill and will offer a much different vibe than her previous restaurants, plus a large deck that overlooks the water.
Greer told CTbites in an exclusive interview that the idea has been in her back pocket for years and when the opportunity for the “pop-up” was presented, she jumped at the opportunity. She enlisted a few of her favorite employees from Mama’s Boy, started the redesign of the space and developed the opening menu for cocktails and music.
Bob LeRose, co-owner of Bobby Q’s Bodacious BBQ & Grill in Westport and Bobby Q’s Pit Stop in Greenwich, today announced that their newest venture will be opening this summer in Norwalk at the new Waypointe District, located at 11 Merwin Street. The new 4,300 square foot location, which will accommodate 80-100 diners and include an outdoor dining area, will feature a new twist on old favorites from the Westport location.
“We’re excited to launch this new venture in this vibrant, up-and-coming area of Norwalk and make friends in our new community,” said LeRose. “While we are still working on the name of the restaurant and our menu, expect to continue enjoying our ‘pit to plate’ promise of the freshest BBQ, cooked daily, including traditional big plates of BBQ meats and sides, as well as some fresh dishes and new concepts. This will be in addition to an innovative cocktail menu, expanded craft beer offerings and a great line-up of bands to continue our commitment to offering the best local, live music in Fairfield County.”
MECHA in Sono is launching their Late Night Menu served Thu 10pm-12pm, Fri and Sat 10pm-1am.
The Late Night Menu will feature special snacks and Ramen as well as cocktails you can only get after hours. To celebrate, they will be introducing the menu and hosting a PARTY Thursday, February 11th at 10PM. Enjoy some special treats from the kitchen (even some complimentary chicken sandwiches) and some amazing cocktails from their late night market menu.
A few highlights from the Late Night Menu include: THIT BO KHO beef brisket jerky, SHOYU BREAKFAST RAMEN w/ brown butter, bacon, egg, and cheese; WONTON MI RAMEN w/ fried shallots, sesame, greens, pork & shrimp wontons $10.
Remember, slurping in encouraged.
Basso Café exudes an easy intimacy that comes with a chef-owned restaurant whose reassuring presence is felt both in and out of the kitchen. Chef Renato Donzelli has built a loyal following of customers at his Norwalk restaurant who come for both his creative Italian-meets-South American dishes, as well as his charming hospitality and boundless energy. And now, they are coming for a newly added bar menu and cocktail list.
During a recent renovation, Basso Café invested in a new bar area with seating for about twelve, and a special menu of cocktails and snacks, thanks to a hard-won liquor license after eight years in business. Although you can still BYOB, Chef Donzelli has crafted a happy hour menu that can be enjoyed Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 6 pm, as well as a mini happy hour from 11 to 12 noon each day for lunch.
A self-described “hot blooded Italian” who grew up in Venezuela, Donzelli focuses his creative energy on a menu that blurs the lines between dishes from those two countries, creating his own unique cuisine. “I start from the back,” is how Chef Donzelli explains his approach to his menu. The new cocktail and wine list are meant to compliment the food, and long-time diners will be rewarded with a solid selection of shaken and stirred, classic and contemporary cocktails, as well as wine and beer.
Washington Street, the epicenter of South Norwalk and a resurging dining scene, welcomes another new dining experience worth exploring. Cask Republic is a modern take on the communal tavern, now open at 99 Washington Street, formerly occupied by The Gingerman. The new restaurant delivers on its tavern promises with chef-driven comfort food and drink – American at its culinary core with an abundance of global influences.