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Toscana in Cooperstown Italian Grille & Fusion!

I had to share the review I just posted in Yelp with my true foodie friends on CH because you all deserve to know of this incredible gem in good food desolate Cooperstown. This dining experience will live in my mind for a long time. Can't wait to get up there again someday to experience it again.

We dined on a very quiet Monday night during the off-season at Cooperstown (April 2014). I live in an area with very good italian food on every other street corner, so don't normally seek out Italian restaurants specifically while vacationing. But I am so glad we landed here. Cooperstown does not have a lot of gourmet options, and many are closed on Mondays. The food at Toscana was absolutely incredible. I wanted to personally tell the chef "Thank You" for offering me the option of trying some food that I have never ever tried before. We dined early with two restaurant-raised kids ages 5 and 11.

We started with your standard calamari that my husband and son said were great. An order of lemongrass potstickers (Yes, this restaurant says it is a Fusion Grille!); these were amazing. And I got to try the corsican style sardines that were so yummy; I had never had cold marinated sardines before, and they were so tasty, melted in my mouth and left it singing with flavors I had never before experienced and were beautifully presented (see my photo). Both the sardines and potstickers were off their Special Menu. Note that they also offered Frogs Legs!

For entrees, my youngest son had the kids spaghetti and meatball, and I have to tell you that it honestly was one of the best meatballs, I had ever tried--I sensed that it had a mix of ground meats, it was so tender, full of flavor and giant. (Later, I heard from another family that they had sold out of the meatballs). My other son, who is fussy, had plain cheese ravioli that he said were very good. My husband had the osso bucco which he adored in its usual fall-off-the-bone goodness and rich veal and tomato stock broth. (I also heard that they later ran out of this item as well.) For myself, I decided to try another item off their Special Menu labeled simply TILE FISH. I had never had it before, so after our server gave me a good description, I googled to see a picture. Google described it as a thick white fish similar in taste to lobster (aka "poor mans lobster). Well, the fish was wrapped in crab meat and simply sauteed to perfect doneness and served over my choice of pasta, or I could have selected mashed and veg. I have to tell you that the fish was one of the most incredible fish dishes I have ever tasted, and I could tell that this chef clearly knows how to cook pasta as the sauce formed was almost silken and just glazed the perfectly cooked linguini like it had been finished with some pasta water and was perfect. The crab and fish coated the pasta beautifully. We also had a side of sauteed spinach that was also perfect.

For dessert, we couldn't resist the chocolate mousse and creme brulee served in a mug. My husband and son devoured the silken balls of chocolate mousse that appeared to have been dusted with finely shaved cocoa nibs or something elset that resembled ground pepper. And the creme brulee was some of the smoothest I have ever tasted; I was super happy with my choice, but I feel that the more traditional recepticle of a short ramekin would have offered a better ratio of the crispy sugared top to the creme below, but I was not complaining. Our server was a gem as well; very professional and responsive to all my questions.

What a terrific gourmet place in the middle of this historic little street full of many American family-friendly restaurants. You must go and experience this chef's masterpieces. I'd love to know who he/she is. Incredible!!!

1 day ago
cheereeo in New York State (exc. NYC)

New Haven Folks - What Say You about Mambo Cocina Latina & Mezcal?

I know. That's a good sign, but I rarely hear anything about Mezcal on any foodie sites, so was curious if any CHers have been there firsthand.

Jan 20, 2014
cheereeo in Southern New England

New Haven Folks - What Say You about Mambo Cocina Latina & Mezcal?

I have been reading incredible things about Mambo Cocina Latina on State Street. (Seems they invaded my FB page with a mouth-watering ad that peaked my curiousity.) I did some research and see that they were formed by the folks involved with Bin 100, Goodfellas and Luce. But it is strictly Nuevo Latino with Chef Alex Morales. Anyone been? PIcs on FB and Yelp look incredible. Their website seems to be under construction: www.mambonh.com

Another place that looks good that I've been wanting to try is Mezcal on Mechanic Street. This looks to be traditional Mexican but pics appear to have a lot of Mexicans dining there so wondered how authentic it is.

Please let us know about parking too since I know State Street can be difficult. I work on Long Wharf so am always interested in new places for dinner meetings, etc.

Jan 14, 2014
cheereeo in Southern New England

Best "Quaint", but great food in Southern CT (Westport)

Yes, I forgot about the Dressing Room. Great choice as well.

Dec 24, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Best "Quaint", but great food in Southern CT (Westport)

What immediately comes to my mind is Artisan at the Delamar in Southport. Their food is wonderful, and the restaurant is beautiful. A beautifuly place for an overnight stay as well. Although, not ocean-front. They have a really nice private party room too but not sure for this time of year as you have to walk outside to get to it, but you can ask. Plus another private room inside.

More common would be to go to Red Barn Westport. Food is OK, and they have a big Sunday brunch.

More pretentious with a lovely view, you can try Splash at the Inn at Longshore. Not really quaint as it is more contemporary space.

And not quaint but good food is brunch at The Brewhouse in Norwalk. Kind of a cool space as it is a brewhouse and they could easily accommodate a large party and easy walk to Maritime Center if you want to include that.

Dec 24, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Lebanon Bologna in CT? (Via Lancaster, PA)

I just got back from a short trip to Lancaster, PA/Amish Country. While there, I picked up some Lebanon (pronounced Lebnin) bologna (per a CH-er suggestion on PA board), and now I'm hooked. Nothing like Wonderbar, more of a salami or smoked sausage, terrific for snacking or on a cheese board. Anyone know of any place in CT who may carry it?

Dec 10, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Webster Bank Arena/ Bridgeport area restaurants?

If you don't mind casual Two Boots is a fun bet. Then park along Main Street or the side streets in that area in front of people's bank area and it's a super easy walk to the Arena--easy to get in or get out. If you want more fancy, Ralph n Richies is great red sauce italian, and they usual have pre-theatre menus. And I think you can leave car in their lot and again, easy walk to arena.

Dec 10, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Uberti's Fish & Chips & Fish Market - Stratford, CT

Fresh Fish Table & Board, Menu, Side table, Sauces & Marinades (Sorry for all the sideways shots. I tried to edit them and rotate first, but it didn't work out)

Oct 21, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Uberti's Fish & Chips & Fish Market - Stratford, CT

Dining Area

Oct 21, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Uberti's Fish & Chips & Fish Market - Stratford, CT

Fish & CHips

Oct 21, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Uberti's Fish & Chips & Fish Market - Stratford, CT

I was at Uberti's this weekend and was very impressed with some of the changes I experienced there. The owner's son, Rob (an electrician by trade but truly loves this place), has taken over the business so his mom and dad can retire. After Hurricane Sandy where they lost $80K worth of equipment, they put in new flooring and got some new equipment. He told me they tried to do a deli within but it didn't succeed mostly because of the close proximity to Gaetano's. I spoke with the son who is really trying hard, and you can feel his excitement in wanting to make some positive changes. He has kept all the recipes thank goodness. He said he is doing all the buying personally and has reduced a lot of the fish market prices by being careful in what he buys. The fresh fish bin, as always, looked incredibly beautiful with no smell whatsoever on the market side. My husband and I both had fish and chips which are the most crispy and sweet around. And at $7.25 is an incredible deal for a huge piece of cod. I also had their super sweet new england clam chowder--yummy. And we shared some shrimp cocktail. I asked him if I could take some pictures which he willingly allowed. (several; not the best quality but you get the gist). During the summer, I ate outside, so wasn't privvy to the renovations they had done to the dining room with a new floor and fresh paint and decorations. If you are hankering for fish and chips, it's definitely worth the drive and bring a cooler to take some fresh fish home when you return.

They also sell their own sauces and marinades as well as homemades sides and salads. Rob said he would like to add on a daily grilled item for the health-conscious, so consider asking about that if you are there.

Oct 21, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Pre show dinner options near the Bijou Theatrer in Bridgeport

For casual, Two Boots Pizza has very good food. And there is Barnum Publick House nearby as well that is decent and I know they do pre-theater specials. Joseph's is good but very $$$$.

Aug 29, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Peking Duck House - Orange CT good eats

Bummer
Had a Peking duck craving tonight and it was Closed! New run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant in its place--Eastern Lake. I ran in to get a menu, owner and family were eating with one other two-top dining. Menu is basic but there was a sign on the door that on fri and sat, they serve crayfish.

Jul 20, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Off the Hook- Stratford, CT

Went early evening on a Saturday. Manager or owner was a really nice guy as were the servers we had. Super friendly and welcoming. We sat outside on the patio. Our food was reasonably priced and good. My tomato caprese salad used good quality ingredients and the fried seafood platter was nice and priced beautifully for the variety you got. The calamari was a bit overlooked. French fries delicious. My mom ordered the steamers as her meal, and she said they were great with a tasty broth--asking for a spoon to finish it off. Kids shared pizza that looked great and had a crisp bottom pie for its thickness. Also, our server said they make their own fresh ciabatta that looked delicious.

My only complaint was that the patio was like a smoke fest. There were dirty ashtrays all around on some tables and at the outdoor bar. It was like every smoker in the community knows about this and comes here so they can smoke freely and dine like an old VFW Hall or casino. We had to move because folks next to us were like a couple of chimneys, and the kids were complaining. It's too bad because its a lovely outdoor spot.

Jun 11, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England
1

The Westport Inn????

I went for a tour of the Inn to consider it for a business function and saw the Red Hen, which is located next to the lobby of the Westport Inn. They are open for breakfast and lunch and then they are bar with casual dinner. It is very small. Let me know if you go what you think of it. The people working when we were there seemed very nice, and the space was very quaint. The dining page on The Westport Inn website is a bit confusing because it doesn't specifically reference dinner, only Bar, but their Voicemail says that they are open for "casual dinner."

Jun 11, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Roia Restaurant & Cafe - New Haven, CT

http://roiarestaurant.com/

I was lucky enough to have a tour of this restaurant prior to its grand opening. What a beautiful place. We met with the wife/owner whose husband/owner is the chef--you can tell how much love they have for this venture. Entirely refurbished the old Taft Hotel restaurant space using a lot of period pieces and refurbished finishings, etc. While we were there we questioned the acoustics as the venue is quite palatial and open. They do have some long curtains to help. For anyone who has dined there, I was curious what you thought of the acoustics. I am thinking of booking a 16-person dinner there up in the balcony area--their alcove private room I think is too small for my function.

Jun 05, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Best Burger in CT

Just wanted to send an update that Prime 16 opened an Orange, CT location. YES!! Where good ole Jacob Marley's was back in the day--on the Post Road between Home Depot and KFC in the Leslie Pool Plaza. So excited. I think they are going to do excellent here--a lot better than all the others who have tried to fill that Jacob Marley void after the original owner died.

Jun 03, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Saturday lunch near 95

Sorry about that Don. I had stopped there on a Saturday afternoon to pick up a gift certificate, and their were diners in the lounge. Must have been a private party.

Jun 03, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Saturday lunch near 95

If you like more high-end, fancy burger, etc., Cafe Routier in Westbrook is lovely, but no ocean view, etc. www.caferoutier.com

There's also Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn in Old Saybrook with beautiful views of the river as it connects to the Sound, but that is a bit of a drive off I-95 (worth it though). www.freshsalt.net

May 17, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Cricket hot dogs Stratford, Ct.

Do a search in Southern New England board (upper right corner next to magnifying glass). This topic has been discussed on here before.

Apr 30, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Bereket Turkish, Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport, CT - New Owners?

Went to Bereket on Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock on Friday night (4/26). The place was packed upon arrival. Food was terrific except for the fact that my shish was not served with a long pepper like usual, jalapeno substituted instead. When I questioned it (the pepper makes the dish), the waitress informed me that he wasn't able to get the long peppers in and that the chef was leaving as of Sunday (4/28). That he was tired of having a large restaurant and wanted to go back to having something small/take-out-ish in the Main Street area of Bridgeport again (He had previously closed the place behind the Citgo gas station). She told me that a new turkish family would be taking over the restaurant. I am so bumbed. I live in Milford and while I enjoy Saray and Turkish Kebab House in West Haven, I still think Bereket in Black Rock has my personal favorite turkish food. I prefer their bread, and their cold apps are incredible. So, if anyone tries it with the new owners or has any insider information, please let us know. The server seemed to think it would be reopening with the same name.

Apr 29, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Fresh Lobster Dinner

May want to consider Chowder Pot in Branford. While not Fairfield County, right off I-95. They have Monday Night Lobster Specials. If you are worried about price, now may not be a good time for lobster dinners. We were at Chowder Pot in Branford end of March, and they had to suspend their Monday night Lobster specials because the prices were through the roof. I think 1.5-lb steamed on that night was $33. Monday night specials have resumed though. Be prepared to wait. And get the peel-your-own shrimp--largest around.

http://www.chowderpot.com/index.html

Not the best place but great for lobster.

Another place that would be fine for steamed lobster is Sono Seafood www.sonoseaportseafood.com in Norwalk.

Apr 12, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Prepared Bone-in Easter Spiral Sliced Ham - Honeybaked vs. Dickeys vs. Boston Market

Hey Southern NE CHers. Hoping you can help. I posted this thread in the Chains Board, but it isn't getting any hits. Please read the attached link to the topic. Can any of you shed any light? Thank you so much.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894971

Mar 22, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Prepared Easter Bone-In Ham - HoneyBaked Ham vs. Boston Market vs. Dickey's Barbecue

We grill lamb for Easter but my MIL always brings a Honey-Baked Ham, from HBH, which we love,but last year we got a kind of dry one. I was reading that Boston Market also sells similar hams as does Dickey's Barbecue, which recently opened near me. Has anyone tried Boston Market or Dickeys Bone-In Spiral hams to tell me if they are any good. Do they have a nice crust like HBH?

(We don't want to cook our own in this case.)

Thank you!

Mar 20, 2013
cheereeo in Chains

great fried clams w/ bellies and onion rings in ct

Say it again on an old thread. Black Rock Oyster Bar has great bellies and onion rings. Also nice raw bar.
www.blackrockoysterbar.com

Mar 12, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Pepe's Branches Hurting?????

I agree with this spreading yourself too thin theory. Same thing with Chips for pancakes. First and only Orange. Now Trumbull coming, and he wants to open in Norwalk. Scares me.

Mar 12, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Bistro Mediterranean and Tapas Bar

I'm so glad you posted this. I was recently chatting with a friend about this place as I've been wondering how it would be for a business dinner venue for about 20-25 people. I had a really impressive conversation with the owner one time on the phone and would like to try it for a work dinner since many if our employees live on the shoreline and I figured it would be an easy commute from new haven and beats having to find parking at a downtown location. What do you think? Does it look like they could accommodate a large table off to the side?

Mar 05, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

GG's Wood-Fired Pizza - Milford, CT (former Bar-BQ site)

Root beer float was on their specials chalkboard!!! No pics as we only took out and we were in such a rush to eat and go, no time for camera action.

Mar 05, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

GG's Wood-Fired Pizza - Milford, CT (former Bar-BQ site)

After a bit of a misunderstanding upon pre-ordering a take-out order for pizzas at 4:50 PM for 5:30 PM pickup, I arrived at the restaurant at 5:39 PM only to have my card charged and then be told, "OK. We will put your order in;" I received my pizzas close to 6PM. I did speak with the manager who told me he prefers to wait until the callers arrive before they put the pizza in the oven as they only take three-five minute to cook, and he likes the guests to receive them as fresh as possible. I question this timing philosophy when your restaurant and ovens are jammed. I hope in the future, they will just explain this to those calling in ahead for take-out especially since the place was jamming on a Friday night around 5:30 PM with a very long wait for table service. He did send me on my way with a gratis container of cookies and an incredible slice of heavenly very homemade tasting tira mi su. Thank you, George!

Anyway, I had to post a thread because the pizza was truly awesome. It was worth the wait, and I hope to go back very soon. Very thin crusted and crispy edges. We ordered a sausage and a cheese and a vodka which was a white pie with vodka sauce, three cheeses, ricotta, fresh basil and pancetta. The quality of the ingredients was top notch. Sausage was incredible. I took a menu to go, and my mouth is now drooling to go back and try some of their entrees, and I'm dying to try their duck pie that says it is wood-fired duck, carmelized onions, fontina and balsamic glaze! And what about their entrees that can be ordered family style or individual--that is a nice option, especially with kids in tow. And wood-fired wings with choice of topping style (YUM!) We will go back, and I'm looking forward to it. Nice story on their take-out menu how the owner got his start working at a pizza place on Madison Avenue in Bridgeport. Kudos to local Bridgeport Native!

I have spoken to some friends who have dined in and said service was a bit slow, but I'm sure they have to get the kinks out. From the quick looks of it, the old Bar BQ was again renovated a bit, and they have a projection screen where you can see the pizza chefs placing their pies in the oven that is supposedly straight from Italy. Oddly, I don't ever smell much wood when I drive by, but I don't care as the pies were excellent.

Also, the bar was packed with folks waiting to be seated. I think they are only open for lunch and dinner during the week and dinner only on Saturday and Sunday. I wish them all the best in this city of a million pizza joints. I hope they shine!

www.ggwoodfiredpizza.com

Mar 04, 2013
cheereeo in Southern New England

Lenny and Joes in New Haven

I have to preface my comments by saying that I don't like eating fried food; I hate the way I feel after I eat it, so please take this with a grain of salt. Had been to L&Js Westbrook location years ago and could not understand the hype. Went to New Haven on a Tuesday night to try it since it was close to my job. Very empty and loud just like Scupper and Leon's was. I was surprised that they didn't make much changes to Leon's/scupper decor. Looks like jut a new carpet and some seafood wall hangings. The stuffed sole was disgusting, overcooked and the stuffing was unflavorable and dry. I enjoyed their cole slaw. My sister said her scallops were sweet. And my young son loved their "shark bites." I think you really need to stick to fried food here. I just don't get it. I guess people just love seeing mounds of fried food piled on top of frozen large crinkle cut fries. I'm sure they will do well; similarly to Jimmy's in West Haven.

Dec 10, 2012
cheereeo in Southern New England