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Entries in SONO (31)

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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Wednesday
Feb112015

Strada 18: Revisiting Classic Italian Comfort Food in Norwalk

I was recently invited to a press dinner at Strada 18 in South Norwalk. The restaurant was eager to share with us their Italian-American Comfort Classics Dinner. With temperatures well below the freezing mark, all the snow, freezing rain and sleet, this is the type of food so many are craving right now. 

A group of about 20 or so writers, editors and bloggers gathered together for this dinner that was prepared especially for us. We started out with the Fried Calamari with Three Sauces, aioli, lemon-lime-jalapeno-cilantro, and marinara. The calamari was tender, flavorful and incredibly crispy and the accompanying sauces complemented them perfectly. We also enjoyed the Arancini, a fried risotto ball stuffed with American farmstead Fontina and served with a tomato sauce. The Arancini was good – but I wouldn’t say it was outstanding or one of the best I’ve ever had.

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Thursday
Nov202014

Chocopologie Re-Opens in Downtown SoNo with Espresso, Dessert & Lunch

Very shortly, Fritz Knipschildt, owner of Chocopologie, will be swapping his old 12 South Main St. location for an up-to-date Chocopologie at 133 Washington St.

The new Chocopologie has maintained some aspects of the old café like the European flair (yes, I’m thinking about the savory buckwheat crepes), the open chocolate-making station, and their trademark exposed brick walls. But don’t be fooled; the light-washed wood flooring, trendy antique furniture, and a simple chalkboard menu point to a decidedly new style. Knipschildt described the new restaurant’s theme as “doing less with more.”

Their “less is more” thinking has inspired their chow as well. Knipschildt and Manager Joseph Trepanowski are not fans of the nuevo, hipster movement, and said that “these hipster places put on good faces but it’s a facade,” adding that they want to be cool but have substance.

A primary focus of the 133 Washington St. location will be the espresso.

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Wednesday
Nov122014

Washington Prime in Sono Launches Sunday Prime Brunch Buffet

Washington Prime opened just a few months ago to rave reviews, and a steady stream of satisfied customers as a result of the visions of owners Robb Moss and Marco Siguenza and the creative innovations of Chef Jared Falco. This past Sunday, at the request of many of their patrons, Washington Prime decided to do something new – the Sunday Prime Brunch Buffet where, for $29.90, you can select from a complimentary Mimosa, Bloody Mary or Moscow mule as you indulge from an incredible buffet. Select from a raw bar, artisanal cheeses, salads, a prime rib and omelet station as well as the traditional fare - a selection of bacon, sausages, French toast, Eggs Benedict, miniature bagels with smoked salmon and the works, assorted pastries and Danishes, yogurt, granola and fresh fruit. 

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Tuesday
Oct212014

Spotlight on The "Local Burger" @ Local Kitchen & Beer Bar in Sono... Delicious

In my continuous and unending search for great hamburgers in Fairfield County, I returned to SONO to sample Chef Dan Kardos’ latest version at LOCAL Kitchen and Beer Bar. Kardos is no stranger to my “Best of” list with previous version from both Harvest Supper in New Canaan and NOLA (at this same location) earning a spot. The interior of the restaurant has been transformed, with more woods and lights plus the rear room (never my favorite) was converted into a Bourbon Bar. The new décor gives a much hipper and fun feel.

Chef Dan’s latest version is named “THE LOCAL BURGER” and includes all natural, humanely raised beef, sautéed wild mushrooms, bacon, Swiss cheese, fronions and black pepper mayo, encased in a Wave Hill bun…served with French fries and a pickle.

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Sunday
Oct192014

Jax & Co. Opens in Sono, from the Owners of Mama's Boy: Breakfast, Lunch & To-Go Dinner 

Whenever the owner of a restaurant that serves great food announces a second location, I am excited to see where this second venture will lead.  After hearing that Greer Fredericks, the co-owner of Mama’s Boy in SONO, was opening JAX around the corner on North Main, I couldn’t wait for my first visit. JAX opened a few weeks ago and currently serves a wide range of breakfast options, plus a tremendous selection of creative sandwiches at lunch. It is also placing the final touches to its soon to be released take-away dinners, and awaiting the delivery of its ice cream machine.

Located just south of the SONO theatre, the interior is completely redesigned, accented with a red painted art nouveau ceiling and lots of wood throughout…it is definitely the sister restaurant to Mama’s Boy.

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Sunday
Aug172014

Washington Prime Opens in Sono: Bustling Bar & Creative Food

Washington Prime recently opened at the entrance to the SONO “Ironworks” on the corner of Washington and North Water Streets and is already garnering positive feedback and enormous crowds each night. CTbites offered a sneak peek a couple of weeks ago and recently re-visited this high energy and bustling establishment on two separate occasions to sample the food.

Self-described as an Eating + Drinking Well, Washington Prime reflects the collective vision of locals and co-owners Rob Moss and Marco Siguenza. Moss, a native of New Canaan, is no stranger to opening high energy restaurants in Fairfield County, overseeing many over the last ten years. Siguenza is the epitome of the American dream, starting as a busboy at Match Restaurant and now 16 years later one of the owners of Washington Prime, a neighboring restaurant. The kitchen is overseen by Executive Chef Jared Falco, classically trained at the French Culinary Institute. Before moving to Fairfield County, Chef Falco honed his culinary skills at Daniel and WD-50 in NYC. The trio are now working closely to present a vibrant bar scene with delicious interpretations of tradition cuisine.

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Saturday
Jul262014

Washington Prime Opens in SONO: A First Look

The corner of North Water and Washington was alive in South Norwalk this week with the opening of Washington Prime. A soft opening on Thursday led to a throng of over 300 guests wandering in to enjoy the vibrant scene at the bar and the reservation book for Friday filled so quickly, it was shut earlier than expected. This latest addition to SONO is attracting enormous attention and a visit inside and a look at the menu shows why.

The interior includes an enormous “U” shaped bar to unwind and enjoy a beer or one of their specialty cocktails and the dining area that spans the entire length of the right side of the restaurant is heavily focused on woods and foliage. Floor to ceiling windows allow for natural light to illuminate the space, comprised of dark wood tables and “moss” encased booths. All very organic and relaxing.

The ownership of Washington Prime is no stranger to the area. One of its owners, Marco Siguenza, is cousins with the owners of Cava, Harvest, 55 Wine Bar and Scena and worked with them since he arrived in the United States in 1998. The kitchen is under the direction of Executive Chef Jared Falco, spent time in several of Fairfield County’s restaurants over the last two years from Bar Sugo, to The Whelk, and most recently Mama’s Boy Southern Table and Refuge. His opening menu shows a desire to place a modern twist on some classic dishes. 

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Sunday
Jun012014

CTbites' Best Restaurant Burgers in Fairfield County: 2014 Edition

National Burger Month draws to a close.

What better way to celebrate the conclusion of an entire month of enjoying some incredible hamburgers than announcing the 2014 CTbites' winners of the Best Restaurant Burgers of Fairfield County. More burgers challenged last year’s winners and three were successful, Olio, Mama’s Boy and Bar Sugo.

For the second year in a row, the winner is: 

The Whelk– 2014 Best Restaurant Burger in Fairfield County

1 - The Whelk (Westport) – The Whelk Burger combines a blend rich flavored meat, sweet pickles, cry baby Swiss cheese, two varieties of bacon, crisped onions and onion mayo on a brioche bun. The dry aged blend of short rib, brisket and chuck from Craft Saugatuck Butchery was fantastic. The cheese covered, thick patty sat atop two different varieties of bacon that added saltiness and smokiness, while slices of sweet pickles, a slice of frisée and the onion accented mayo brought additional flavors and textures. Sitting atop the plump patty was a handful of crisped onions.

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Tuesday
May272014

Sono Restaurant Week is Back June 8-13th

Sono Restaurant Week is back this spring with almost 20 restaurants participating in prix fixe menus and great dining deals for lunch and dinner in downtown South Norwalk. Restaurant Week also gives diners the opportunity to check out some new venues in SoNo including: Quartino Trattoria Vineria, Johnny Utah’s (ride the bull while you're there), Sweet Lucy Lynn’s, as well as Dan Kardos' new Local Kitchen & Beer Bar.

Participating Restaurants & Price Points Below:

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