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Entries in Seafood (77)

Thursday
Nov032016

Dinner At Miya's: Sustainable Sushi + More in New Haven

This is probably as close to “Dinner at The White House” as I will ever get.  On this, the week before the ELECTION, I headed up to Miya’s for their New Haven Restaurant Week 2016 White House Champions of Change dinner. 

Miya’s is a well-known sushi spot a few blocks west of downtown New Haven that has been serving creative and sustainable seafood, foraged ingredients, and plant-based dishes for over 30 years.  James Beard nominated innovative chef/owner Bun Lai, has been creating and cooking alongside his mother for much of the 30 years Miya’s has been open. (See Foraging with Chef Bun on CTbites)

New Havens Restaurant Week, which runs from 10/30- 11/4 gave Bun the opportunity to offer the menu he and his mother created for President and Mrs. Obama at last months White House Champions of Change Dinner. He was one of only twelve Sustainable Seafood honorees and the only chef awarded this respected award. While this menu is only available for a limited time, many of these dishes are available on Miya's regular menu. 

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Tuesday
Oct182016

HAPA Food Truck's Ahi Burger is a Killer Sandwich

When one of the best, young, rising stars in the area stops you as you walk by his food truck and says, “I really want you to try this sandwich,” you take notice. And when that sandwich raises the bar for food being served from food trucks, it deserves special mention. The rising star is Chris Gonzales, the truck is HAPA, and the sandwich is the Ahi Burger. This is one of the best sandwiches I have eaten in quite some time.

The HAPA food truck has been one of my favorites since it opened. The tacos, the burger, the fries, the Brussels sprouts are all out of this world. I never imagined I would write these accolades about a “tuna burger.” HAPA’s combination starts with wild caught yellowfin, furikake crust, edamame, edamame puree, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and spicy mayo on HAPA’s Ube bun.

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Tuesday
Oct182016

10 Questions with Fjord Fish Market's Jim Thistle 

Oh so many fish in da sea! And that’s only the beginning....what kind of fish do you want to prepare? Do you know how to prepare it? Oh, yeah, and where should you go to get this fish, short of heading out into open waters yourself? And wait, and here’s the $100,000 question: is the fish you are buying everything it says it is? Good grief. It’s almost easier dating and looking for *those* fish in the sea. Well, fear not, CTBites sat down recently with one of the Big Fish out there, Jim Thistle of Fjord Fish Market, and he helped guide us through seemingly murky waters...

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Wednesday
Aug102016

Oyster Tour with Norm Bloom and Son of Copps Island Oysters

National Oyster Day may be one of those silly made up holidays, but this past National Oyster Day, which fell on Friday August 5th, will always be remembered as the day I joined Norm Bloom and his family from Copps Island Oysters for an afternoon filled with an education in oysters, a tour of their oyster farms and most exciting, shucking and slurping. Organized by Earthplace, Westport’s non-profit nature center for environmental learning and specifically in support of their Harbor Watch program, a group of ten arrived on yet another sparking summer day.

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Tuesday
Aug092016

A Taste of Boothbay Lobster Company In Stamford's Harbor Point

As we first reported last year, Boothbay Lobster Company wanted to bring the “wicked fresh" Maine seafood shack experience down the coast to Harbor Point in Stamford. Fade out. Fade in. The evocative new restaurant has just opened. At a recent tasting for the media, CTBites had a chance to discover what has been gained and lost in translation.

For starters, we were curious about the Down East take on Connecticut’s indigenous warm, buttered lobster roll. Before crafting their version, co-owners David Galin and Willie Craig examined and tasted our local renditions. They sampled bread, garnishes, butter portions, even weighed the meat in every roll. At Fairway Market, Galin unexpectedly found a commercial potato bun (Martin’s) that enjoyed great taste and structure. However, it was side loaded, not top cut, like most Connecticut lobster rolls. “I know it’s not totally traditional,” Galin explained, “but a potato roll seemed perfect. In Maine, we love our spuds.”  

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Sunday
Jul312016

TerraSole, A Small Italian Eatery in The Heart Of Ridgefield 

Unless you’re a resident of Ridgefield you might not be familiar with TerraSole, a small Italian eatery in the heart of Ridgefield. But I feel it is my job to extol the virtues of this sleepy little gem that has been part of the town’s landscape since 2007, and is poised to enter its second decade with quiet confidence. I was invited to join a group of writers and editors to visit TerraSole and nearly declined. Am I ever glad I went!

When the weather is nice, diners can now sit outside in the newly completed terrace. The pale blue interior is simple yet charming. It is the food that takes center stage and rightly steals the show. While locals are avid fans, non-locals should take note. This charming yet understated destination is well worth the drive.

Owner Pietro Polini, who hails from Puglia and moved to the states in 1999, infuses the region’s flavors into his dishes.

 

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Thursday
Jul282016

Citarella Greenwich - Fresh from the Dock to your Table

“I’ll meet you at the front gate at 5am.”

This email, which I received from Joe Gurrera, the owner of Citarella, required setting the alarm for 3:30am, grabbing two cups of coffee and driving the hour to the Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx. Visiting the new Fulton Fish Market was something I have always wanted to do, mingle with the best purveyors of the freshest and best selection of fish, just hours before it arrives at stores and restaurants in preparation for the day’s fare.

The history of Citarella dates to 1912, when a small fish shop opened in Manhattan. Over seventy years later, in 1983, Joe Gurrera purchased the shop and Citarella was born. Joe’s passion for fish started when he was a small boy venturing, in the dead of the night, to the original Fulton Fish Market. It was during these nightly excursions that he educated himself on the various fish and, more importantly, how to choose the best of the best.

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Sunday
Jul242016

Best Warm Lobster Rolls in Connecticut: 2016 Updated Edition

Enough of the Lobster Salad roll vs. Warm Lobster roll debate.   After all, when dining on whole steamed lobster, only a land lubber would first chill the meat, lather it in mayo, and sprinkle on some celery. Whole lobster is best devoured warm and buttery.  Just like a Connecticut Lobster Roll. Our state lays claim to the warm lobster roll because it was first created at a Milford café named Perry’s sometime in the twenties.   Elsewhere in New England, warm lobster rolls are rarely served.

Since 2014 CTbites has celebrated summer with a survey of Connecticut Lobster Rolls available along the shoreline.  We stand by our past evaluations since those versions of rolls remain relatively consistent from year to year.  After all, the three simple ingredients of a warm lobster roll -- bread, butter, and meat – never change.  Such variables as doneness, toppings, and cuts are not an issue.

So for 2016, at the suggestion of readers, chefs, and staff, we add a dozen new restaurants, trucks, and drive-ins to the 2015 portfolio. This list represents the NEW additions. 

And CTbites even ventured mid-state, far from the shore, for one of the best lobster rolls in Connecticut.  Which is where we begin …

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Wednesday
Jul202016

Sneak Peek at Boothbay Lobster Company in Stamford, Something Wicked Fresh This Way Comes

Every start-up dream begins with two words:  what if?

Once upon a time, David Galin and his buddy George Craig fantasized opening their own unique restaurant. But they were young and fate was very fickle. So each forged a highly successful non-culinary career -- in academics (David) and finance (George).  A generation later, the two pals found themselves fishing up in Maine; and on a sudden whim, once-upon-a-time magically became now.

What if they brought the seaside Maine Lobster Shack experience -- and all its Wharf to Table freshness -- to Fairfield County?  

Voila: The Boothbay Lobster Company, a unique concept restaurant at Harbor Point in Stamford, which opens for real next week.  Galin and Willie Craig  (George’s son, a partner in Boothbay, and himself fresh out of college) offered CTBites an exclusive sneak peek at a dream come true.  

“’Wicked Fresh’ is our pledge,” Willie told us.   Pulled fresh from clean, cold Maine waters, the seafood will be rushed by BLC’s refrigerated vehicle down the coast to Stamford.   “We don’t believe in tanking our lobster,” David added, explaining that holding crustaceans in tanks causes the meat to deteriorate, affecting its fresh texture and taste.   “This is why we source from day boats rather than commercial vessels,” he said.  That way he can guarantee that his lobsters haven’t been stressed for a time in the ship’s hold.

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Tuesday
Jul192016

Foraging with Chef Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi in New Haven

To Forage:  The word forage means to use wander or search for food or provisions. 

So when I was invited to James Beard nominated and passionate foraging chef, Bun Lai’s farm in upstate Connecticut for lunch, I half expected we would forage for much of our meal.  

When I saw on Instagram that Bun and his friend, Greg Grinberg from Actual Food had been diving the prior day for clams for lunch, I knew I was in for a treat. 

Chef Bun Lai is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming and eating and sources much of the food he serves at his New Haven sushi restaurant, Miya’s, from his own gardens, from the wooded forest around his 10 acre farm in Woodbridge, CT and from Long Island Sound.   His popular restaurant has been a New Haven destination for over 35 years, originally opened by his mother, who is still involved today. 

To visit with Bun is a lesson in locally sourced produce, with no pesticides or flavor or color enhancements.  He and Greg described foraging as, “the most natural way of eating… the “gathering” part of the hunter/gatherer”. 

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