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Tasting menu for our one dinner in New York - that won't break the bank

Thanks for sharing your Jean Georges photos. Everything looked great (particularly the skate!).

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

Oct 18, 2011
bcsuka in Manhattan

Recommendations for lunch?

Thanks for the recommendations. I flipped a coin between Purple Pig and Blackbird and Blackbird won. Really looking forward to it on Friday!

Oct 12, 2010
bcsuka in Chicago Area

Recommendations for lunch?

I'll be in Chicago for business next week (13th - 15th) but find myself completely free for lunch on Friday. I'll be alone and want to treat myself to one of Chicago's best. So what would you recommend? I'm completely open to any ideas, but just want great food. If Alinea was open for lunch, I'd be there in a second. I see that Frontera/Topolobampo are open for lunch. What else?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Oct 04, 2010
bcsuka in Chicago Area

Top Chef-Just Desserts

Ditto. And combine that with my sweet tooth, I'm in for the full run. Really looking forward to see who will be competing.

Aug 22, 2010
bcsuka in Food Media & News

Bistro Basque - Milford, CT review (long)

My wife and I went to Bistro Basque ( for dinner last night and had a fantastic experience. We took advantage of the nice weather and dined outdoors on their back patio area, which was very nice, albeit a bit cramped. Which would probably be my only complaint on the evening as a whole, as I was bumped/brushed several times by servers walking past. Not so much that it annoyed me at all, but figured I’d share that feedback. It’s a very pleasant area to dine, but definitely tight quarters. On to the food.

We are both fans of sharing multiple small plates, so tapas were the way to go. We started with one of the night’s specials, White Asparagus Gratin with manchego, Serrano ham and a piquillo pepper sauce. This was my wife’s favorite dish of the evening and was very good. Five tender, perfectly prepared asparagus spears with just the right amount (not too much) of cheesy and salty pork product accompaniment. Next we had White Beans and Manila Clams in a white wine and garlic sauce. This was good, but not perfect. I had three clams that were gritty (hard to control that unfortunately) and the sauce was a bit over-salted. Neither problem ruined the dish, but kept it from being one of our favorites.

Following that, we moved on to the Lomo – soft white toast points topped with marinated pork tenderloin, tetilla cheese, piquillo pepper and black olives. I thought this was superb. The pork was extremely tender and full of flavor from the spice rub marinade. The whole thing was highlighted by a vibrant piquillo pepper sauce that I loved. Next was the Tapas Cazera – a napoleon of shiitake mushroom atop red cabbage, spinach and duck confit. I could have eaten this whole dish myself. Easily my favorite, this dish had a great balance of flavors, with the sauce (I neglected to ask exactly what it was) offering a wonderful acid counter-note (via some balsamic perhaps?).

We finished up with another special – Lobster “Risotto” with calamari, scallops and clams. This was interesting in that the seafood elements weren’t incorporated into the risotto rice. The rice was presented as a circle mold in the middle of the dish. It was then surrounded by a deep, rich lobster stock, lobster meat and the rest of the seafood. The stock was fantastic and the various meats perfectly tender. Somehow we still had room for dessert. For my wife, the Rice Pudding with raspberry coulis. It was good, but far overshadowed by my choice – a special of Bread Pudding served with a strawberry-balsamic glace and topped with a goat cheese “foam”. Spectacular! The goat cheese worked perfectly with the tangy sweetness of the strawberry-balsamic sauce to elevate the dense richness of the bread pudding.

Service was excellent (with the previously noted exception of the occasional “bump”) and very friendly. Our total bill for the evening (including two glasses of wine and a cappuccino) came to just over $100. We will definitely be returning again in the near future, so I would not hesitate to recommend it to others as well.

Jul 31, 2010
bcsuka in Southern New England

Dress code at Arrows...

I was actually considering a weekend "away from the kids" trip here with my wife, however based on this feedback, I will be passing on Arrows. A pity -- I've wanted to try Arrows for years. Seems like I missed the window of opportunity. Oh well, on to Portland!

Jul 25, 2010
bcsuka in Northern New England

good eating near Farmington CT

My experience in Farmington is admittedly limited, but I can at least offer the following feedback:

I've eaten at both Cugino's (http://www.cuginosrestaurantfarmingto...) and Piccolo Arancio ( for Italian at lunch, and had good experiences at both.

Ann Howard Apricots ( has a gorgeous location right on the banks of the Farmington river, however I found the food to be a bit long in the tooth. To be fair, it was only one time and at lunch, so perhaps dinner is better?

J. Timothy's is pretty casual hearty American fare (wings, rings and beef, plenty of beef) but may be closed for a few days as I think they sustained a little bit of storm damage. I'd call first (

West Hartford is very close, and from what I understand there is a pretty interesting dining scene there although I am not qualified to offer any recos. I'm sure that there are threads that can provide some details.

Best of luck!

Cugino's Restaurant
1053 Farmington Ave Ste C, Farmington, CT 06032

Piccolo Arancio
819 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06032

Jul 23, 2010
bcsuka in Southern New England

Cobb's Mill Inn, Weston, CT, shutters its doors

Great post, and I was thinking the exact same thing: Cobbs Mill, Silvermine, Three Bears, Spinning Wheel. All relics, all gone. Just goes to prove that location isn't everything in the resto biz. Sometimes the quality of the food does matter after all.

Red Barn better watch out! ;)

Jul 23, 2010
bcsuka in Southern New England

Cobb's Mill Inn, Weston, CT, shutters its doors

Definitely a gorgeous location. Too bad that the quality of the food never lived up to the locale. It sounds like Mr. Guidera was giving an honest go at restoring some quality, but the timing was certainly unfortunate. I know that I hadn't been back there in ages, and it would have taken several positive reviews before I would have considered going back. Here's hoping it gets relaunched with a serious attempt at delivering a dining experience equal to the location.

Jul 22, 2010
bcsuka in Southern New England

Ocean City w/o kids

Blackfish was excellent. I'll be posting a complete review when we get back later in the week complete with (hopefully) pics of our menu. Chef Roman was gracious enough to provide us with an 8-course tasting menu. Some of the items were from the menu, some were variations, one was not on the menu at al. The service was very good - attentive (though not over-bearing), friendly and relatively knowledgeable about the menu. In addition to the main restaurant, which is upscale (though not stuffy), they also have a bar area serving a bistro menu (think kobe beef burgers, steak frites and iceberg wedges). Our menu included:

1. Line-caught Halibut, Ratatouille, Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette, Micro greens
2. Tomato gazpacho w/crushed avocado, shrimp and micro basil
3. Pan seared foie w/apricot mostardo and rhubarb emulsion
4. House smoked lock-duart salmon, crispy potato, deep fried egg and creme fraiche

Jun 15, 2009
bcsuka in New Jersey

Connecticut Wine Trail

Scargod - I hope that you didn't take my last post as a criticism of you or your prior posts. Certainly wasn't the intent. Taste is what it's all about, and based upon what you stated earlier about your likes (Chards in particular), I think you might find some of the wineries interesting - CT isn't all about sweet wines. At any rate, on to the reviews (note: we visited each with our four-year old daughter in tow, so family-friendliness was important to us):

A small, family-owned winery in New Hartford, Jerram offers a tasting of six wines for $6 (price includes the logo glass). The White Frost was a delicate, lightly oaked Chardonnay. Sporting pleasant notes of apple and citrus nose, it would work well with simple fish or pasta dishes. I did not care for the Gentle Shepherd, a blend of Aurora, Cayuga and Chardonnay, however the Estate Seyval Blanc was nice (if lacking in complexity). Highland Reserve was actually one of the better CT reds that I've tasted so far. A blend of Cab Franc (mainly) and Marechal Foch, it offered plenty of dark berry flavors with a peppery finish. Would serve as a nice complement to a picnic lunch. We did not get to taste their Vespers late-harvest dessert wine, which I'm told is quite good, however we did taste their newest offering called Our Sweet Rose. Jerram describes it as a "slightly sweet rose style wine, with a cherry character." Remove the "slightly" and I'd agree completely with that description. It was actually quite nice, so we purchased a bottle for my mother who enjoys sweet blush wines. In addition to their wine, they now also offer chocolate truffles, crafted by a local chocolatier, flavored with Jerram wine. These were TO...DIE....FOR! So we bought a box. Overall, this is a nice small winery with an absolutely stunning location, and the Jerram's are lovely hosts. Rating: B

A relatively new winery, CT Valley is also family-owned and basically right around the corner from Jerram. While the main building is not much to look at from the outside, once inside the tasting room is quite comforting. They offer a tasting of 10 wines for $10. Ten wines is an admirable output, however I tend to think that they would be well-served by narrowing their focus a bit. They utilize a number of different hybrid varietals, in a number of different combinations. It's clear that they have a passion for what they are doing, I only wish that I shared that passion for the end product. Maybe I'm missing something because they have won quite a few awards, but then again, so have most of the wineries in CT. Rating: C and I'll give a + for effort

Getting late so I'll add more tomorrow!

Jun 11, 2009
bcsuka in Southern New England

Ocean City w/o kids


We tried the Creperie last September and were wholly unimpressed. I ordered the Duck crepe and it was almost inedible (the duck was stringy, chewy and the fat wasn't rendered at all). Maybe I just caught them on an off-night? Would love to hear contrary opinions, but I'd be hard-pressed to go back for a second try.

Jun 11, 2009
bcsuka in New Jersey

Sea Salt in Stone Harbor, R.I.P.

Looks very interesting. Thanks for posting!

For the record, I'm more than willing to give Sora a shot. However, since I live in CT and only make it to the shore once or twice a year -- and since we only get one night without the kids for an "adults-only" dinner -- I have to pick and choose carefully (that's why I rely on the feedback I get from others here and elsewhere).

I did choose Blackfish (also Stone Harbor) this time. We will be there Sunday night and I will post a review upon our return.

Jun 11, 2009
bcsuka in New Jersey

Connecticut Wine Trail


Thanks so much for your thoughts and reviews. Didn't get the chance to post mine last night, but will do this evening. I have yet to try any of the Eastern Trail wineries (other than Chamard and Gouveia, both of which I enjoyed and plan to return to), but they sound wonderful from your descriptions.

The key, in my mind, to enjoying CT's wine is to approach it with the right frame of mind. If you go in looking for something that will compete with Chateau D'Yquem 1975, well you have nowhere to go but utter disappointment. On the other hand, if you go in with an open mind and appreciation for the challenges that CT growers face, well then you can definitely find some very enjoyable bottles.

I'll admit that I'm a bit torn on the whole Jonathan Edwards/Napa thing and will reserve judgment until I can actually make it there for a tasting.

Jun 11, 2009
bcsuka in Southern New England

Connecticut Wine Trail

I didn't know that Tastings does Takeout. That's a great idea for when we finally head out to visit some of the Mystic-area vineyards. We've visited 10 wineries already this year although only 8 stamps as our trips to Gouveia and Chamard were prior to the Passports being available.

I have to say that, overall, I've been very happy with the quality of the wines we've tried. While I haven't really found a red that I'd consider purchasing, we've purchased several white, blush and dessert wines. I'll try to post my thoughts later tonight on those we've visited this year:

Ct Valley
White Silo

Would love to see others' opinions as well.

Jun 10, 2009
bcsuka in Southern New England

Ocean City w/o kids

Not new, been on the Boardwalk for at least a few years (which is as long as I have been coming to OC). It is on the Boardwalk between 9th and 10th, in the "Restaurant Row" (5 or so eateries of various quality and fare all in a row). It is a family friendly, boardwalk casual place -- but with some interesting choices beyond the fried stuff, hot dogs and burgers. Last time we were there, my wife had a nice combo platter of ahi tuna, coconut shrimp and a crab cake. The crab cake was only okay, but the shrimp were fantastic and the tuna fresh and tasty. I had the Broiled Mahi with sticky rice and salad w/ papaya seed dressing. The Mahi was good, albeit a touch over-cooked but the sticky rice was addictive and the papaya seed dressing is delish. They will tell you that they are "world-famous" for their dressings and sauces. I agree that they are all pretty darn good.

It's a nice casual place and, based upon the other options available on the Boardwalk, certainly worthy of a return visit each time that we are in OC.

Their website:

Jun 09, 2009
bcsuka in New Jersey

Ocean City w/o kids

Well, I would have recommended Sea Salt in Stone Harbor without hesitation but just learned that it is now closed (Owner/Chef Lucas Manteca is now at The Ebbitt Room in Cape May). We will be going to Blackfish (also Stone Harbor) this coming Sunday for a tasting menu. I'll reply with a review.

What are you looking for? Cuisine? Casual/Formal? Ocean City itself doesn't have a ton of exciting choices, but some of my personal favorities have been:

Varsity Inn -- for Breakfast (excellent omelets and pancakes -- better than Uncle Bills imho)

Dot's Pastries -- delicious donuts and pastries

Spadaforas -- generally well-prepared fish and shellfish; nothing fancy but solid

Island Grill -- decent, expansive menu including a rotating menu of wild game (ostrich, elk, boar, etc) -

And, of course, Mac & Manco's, Kohr Bros, and Hula Grill on the boardwalk.

Cape May has some nice choices, if you want to drive that far. You might also want to check out Karen and Rei's - - in Clermont

Jun 09, 2009
bcsuka in New Jersey

Sea Salt in Stone Harbor, R.I.P.

NO!!! I am sooooo disappointed. Was just about to call for ressies for this coming weekend, our first at the shore this year. Had a spectacular meal there last year. What a BUMMER.

So, any thoughts on other options? I'm looking for a place of similar or better quality/inventiveness in the Ocean City/Stone Harbor/Avalon area.

Jun 09, 2009
bcsuka in New Jersey

Cape May

Just for the record, I strongly disagree with the above post regarding Sea Salt. Four of us went last year and had an amazing meal - a 13-course Chef's Tasting Menu. Anyone interested can read about it here:
(warning - long post


Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

May 03, 2009
bcsuka in New Jersey

Looking for the BEST restaurant South Jersey shore, Atlantic City to Cape May. Any recommendations?

Several months later, and I'm finally getting around to posting my report on our meal at Sea Salt. I'm an unabashed workaholic and sometimes just let everything else slide. At any rate, the meal was, in a word, Terrific.

My reservation was originally for just my wife and I for the Chef's Tasting Menu, however a few days prior we found out two of our friends were going to be in the area. I called Sea Salt and they were only too happy to change it to a party of four. I was very impressed with how accomodating they were, particularly given the late notice.

Since they are a BYOB, I brought two bottles. One a gorgeous Viognier, the other a fun Pinot Noir. Our friends also brought along two bottles, however we decided to go with mine. The Chef's Tasting Menu is not on the menu and must be ordered ahead of time. Chef Lucas was there and presented each of the courses to us. Here is our menu and my thoughts on each course:

Sea Salt
Chef’s Tasting Menu
Sunday, August 31st

Amuse – Rutabaga soup, served chilled in a shot glass, was an earthy, yummy tasting that definitely served the purpose of waking up our taste buds. I detected a hint of nutmeg and found it a clean and pleasant way to open the meal.

Course 1 – Cape May oyster shooter with finely diced radish, cucumber and celery all floating in vodka (sorry, can’t recall which brand). A single raw oyster floating in top-quality vodka? Delicious, light and fun to consume! My only complaint was that it was a little difficult to scrape out the diced vegetables that didn’t make it out with the initial shot.

Course 2 – Cape May oyster served with a fresh jersey tomato gelee and a horseradish mignonette. Another fresh, single raw oyster, this one served on the half shell. Three small bites to start, all very delicious, very clean and very fresh.

Course 3 – Cape May oyster “stew”, topped with diced sautéed baby potato and a bright orange carrot puree. The best tasting dish so far. Another single oyster, served this time on a spoon stewed in a light cream-based soup. Loaded with oyster flavor, rich and buttery. The potatoes on top added a bit of texture while the carrot puree brightened the flavor palette (and was a visually stunning bright orange). A definite winner. Each of the oysters we had to this point were extremely fresh – and of top quality – so we were, admittedly, wondering if all of our dishes would be featuring oysters. They didn’t:

Course 4 – Scallop ceviche with avocado, cucumber, green and red bell pepper. I really enjoyed this dish. I felt that the peppers woke up the entire dish and added nice texture, without overpowering the other, more delicate, components. The scallop was extremely fresh and complemented perfectly by the acid from the lime.

Course 5 – Hamachi tartare. This is the one dish that I didn’t take appropriate notes for, other than that it was delicious. I do recall that this was definitely one of my personal favorites of the evening, as I am a big fan of fresh hamachi.

Course 6 – Kobe beef tenderloin over pickled eggplant with white bean puree. A small cut of perfectly medium-rare American Kobe beef. Tender and juicy, it paired very well with the white bean and eggplant components. This was a surprisingly light-tasting dish given that beef was the main component.

Course 7 – Fresh Jersey tomato and Jersey peach soup with lump blue crab salad. Wow, holy smokes, was this yummy! A perfect combination of acid and sweet, topped with a heaping helping of lump blue crab. It looked beautiful – a vibrant shade of ruby – and was perfectly seasoned. My only complaint would be the unfortunate piece of shell that made its way into my crab.

Course 8 – Seared bay scallop served over seaweed “salad” (not the wakame seaweed that is normally found in a sushi restaurant, but a brown seaweed that had a nice firm texture and pleasant, mild flavor – sorry, can’t remember the actual name) with butterscotch melon sauce. When I first heard “butterscotch sauce”, I immediately recalled with horror the fiasco from Top Chef Season 4 when Dale served his universally reviled Scallops with Butterscotch Sauce dish. Heck, it’s the dish that got him kicked off. Now, I may be taking a leap here, but I’m guessing that this may have been Chef Lucas’ answer to that “challenge”. And guess what? He passed with flying colors! Maybe it was the inclusion of the melon to the sauce, or maybe it was months of trial and error, but that sauce was fantastic!

Course 9 – Rabbit confit with house-made sopprasata, pickled mushrooms, frissee salad and brown butter vinaigrette. I’m a bit torn on this dish. There were parts of it that were excellent – the sopprasata was superb, the mushrooms and frissee very nice. But the overall dish had an extremely cloying mouthfeel that I didn’t particularly care for. I’ve never really experienced that before with any confit dish, so I’m a bit unsure what led to that. In total, even though I definitely liked aspects of the dish, I would have to call this my least favorite of the evening.

Course 10 – Braised pork belly with five-spice fried tofu, roasted fennel, cabbage slaw and a vegetable spring roll (broccoli, snow pea and sprouts). What could be better than slow-braised porkfat? Not much. This dish was spectacular. The tofu was firm, slightly-spicy and delicious. The accompaniments paired so well with the rich pork. And the sauce – thick, dark and rich – brought all of the components together.

Course 11 – Miso-marinated roasted escolar with lima bean sprouts, roasted black mission fig and tomato. As the dish was served, a fresh-brewed apricot tea was poured onto the plating. Another winner. The escolar was perfectly prepared, moist and tender, and complemented very well by the aromatic tea. I always enjoy a bit of the tableside presentation, so the pouring of the tea was very fun. I’m also a sucker for figs, and the roasted fig included in the dish was great!

Course 12 – Crispy braised shortribs served atop a Columbian corn flour cake (like a polenta but grainier) with salsa verde, butternut squash, grilled pineapple and mole. By this point, I was beyond stuffed, and really didn’t eat much of this. It’s a shame, because normally I love shortribs. The few bites I did take, I actually did not care for. I’m willing to blame that more on myself, and the fact that I was over-stuffed, more than the dish. I will say that I did enjoy the pineapple because by this point, my palette was craving something more on the sweet side of life.

Course 13 – Their single dessert of chocolate pudding topped with house-made whipped cream and a touch of fresh-grated nutmeg. This was perfect. It sounds simple – and it is. It is not pedestrian at all though. It was delicious. Light and airy, a small portion, and perfectly sized given how full I was. Really capped off the night perfectly for me.

So all in all I would give Sea Salt a big thumbs up. Chef Lucas is extremely inventive, and definitely very talented. He focuses strictly on using only the freshest seasonally available produce, and it showed in all of his dishes. I definitely plan to return this year for (hopefully) another tasting menu

Mar 06, 2009
bcsuka in Mid-Atlantic

Taberna, Bridgeport CT

Ate in the bar with two friends a couple weeks ago, and it was very good. We shared three tapas (stuffed piquillo peppers, baked goats cheese in fresh tomatoes and basil sauce, and beef carpaccio) and then split a large Classic paella. Everything was very good - in particular I'd highly recommend the peppers and goat cheese tapas. My one complaint was that there was no soccarat in the paella. It was still delicious, but missing the best part!

FYI - we are going back again tomorrow (Saturday) and this time bringing the wives with us. I'll post a report.

Feb 27, 2009
bcsuka in Southern New England

Looking for the BEST restaurant South Jersey shore, Atlantic City to Cape May. Any recommendations?

Quick update -- I had decided on Blackfish, however they are not open on Sundays, which is the best day for us. So Sea Salt it is. Sunday, August 31 for the Chef's Tasting Menu.

Report to follow upon our return...

Aug 20, 2008
bcsuka in Mid-Atlantic

Looking for the BEST restaurant South Jersey shore, Atlantic City to Cape May. Any recommendations?

Thanks all for the input. I really like Blackfish, Karen & Rei's and Sea Salt (I wish that Sea Salt had a sample menu on their website!). Rams Head Inn looks pretty good as well. I'll let you know which we decide on and report back on the experience!

As an aside to ChrisOC, I certainly understand your point, and I was perhaps a bit off-base in throwing out the Per Se comparison. I know going in that I'm not going to find a similar experience in the OC area. What I was looking for was a meal that is a cut above (hopefully several) the fried seafood and crappy family fare that you normally find at the beach. I'll certainly stuff my face with plenty of Mac & Manco's and ice cream while there, but for one night I was hoping to find an adult meal. And I think I've definitely got some good candidates to choose from!

Aug 08, 2008
bcsuka in Mid-Atlantic

Looking for the BEST restaurant South Jersey shore, Atlantic City to Cape May. Any recommendations?

Howdy my fellow CH'ers! My wife and I are joining family for a vacation in Ocean City, NJ at the end of the month, and I'm hoping the two of us can steal away for a night of fine dining. We are willing to travel to make that happen. Any thoughts/recommendations? We are foodies through and through, so we would be looking for a superlative, Per Se-quality meal. Does anything fit the bill (or at least come somewhat close to the neighborhood)?

I've done some research already and have come away with the following thoughts so far:
410 Bank Street -- Over priced, over rated and not worth the time
The Ebbit Room -- Seems like a potential winner, I'd love to hear more opinions should anyone care to share
Washington Inn -- I've read good reviews, but the menu on their website doesn't really get me fired up. Do they have more to offer?
Chef Volas -- Seems you either LOVE it or hate it. My wife, however, isn't jazzed by Italian food (no offense meant as she actually is full blood Italian, she's just bored with the cuisine)
The rest of AC -- ummm, anything?
Nicholas -- we are willing to travel but Red Bank is just too far

We are both on the short and thin side, and therefore aren't major wine drinkers. I'll enjoy a glass with my meal, but not much more than that -- so it's really the food (spectacular, top-quality food) that we are looking for, not the wine list. I, in particular, am always interested in a meal that will challenge my pallette and/or expand my culinary horizon. We are both BIG fans of tasting menus.

So, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions. If nothing perfectly fits the bill, I'd be looking for the next closest thing. Thanks in advance and I will, of course, share my review when we get back!


Aug 06, 2008
bcsuka in Mid-Atlantic

Surprise party in New Haven area

I can second both Foster's and Barcelona. Recently held a party there (Barcelona) for 12 and it was great fun and great food. The one problem is that it's not private, but we liked that actually.

Zinc would be another one to consider. Very good modern american/asian fusion and they have a private dining room that seats up to 32.

Milford, CT - Beach House, Bin 100 or Bistro Basque?

Thanks to all for the feedback -- Bistro Basque would seem to be the clear winner. I'll agree about the "dumbing down" of bin100's menu. I remember reading very positive reviews a few months ago, however when I recently went to their website and read the menu, I found it incredibly pedestrian and wholly uninspiring. The hard part now is finding the time to try out BB as I work during the day and my wife works at night (on weekends, too) so we rarely get the chance to enjoy a leisurely sit-down dinner anymore. Ugh!

New Sushi place in Ffld, CT - Shiki Sushi

Last weekend I was meeting up with a friend for sushi. Our initial plan was to head to Westport or Norwalk (Sakura, Matsu Sushi or Kazu) however we received a last minute recommendation to try a new place in Fairfield. The reco came from a trusted source, and it was the closest option, so we said what the heck.

Shiki Sushi is located at 222 Post Road in Fairfield, in a small strip mall along with a Chinese take-out, Indian take-out and a new satellite location for my favorite Thai place in the area - King & I. A very unassuming exterior highlighted by the signage. "Sushi" is all it says. Okay, no biggie. In we walk and find a small, well-appointed room with 6 or 7 tables and a sushi bar with seating for 4 or 5. We took two seats at the sushi bar and were greeted by the two sushi chefs -- one of which was the owner. Good sign, there we both thought.

After ordering two bottles of sake (one filtered, one non) we placed an order for two pieces each of yellowtail (hamachi), wasabi tobiko, surf clam (hokkigai), fluke (hirame), red snapper and scallop (hotategai). We also took advantage of one of the day's specials -- four pieces of gorgeous toro sashimi. Each piece was superb. Incredibly fresh, and perfectly prepared. I found myself not even using any soy at all because I only wanted to taste the quality and pure flavor of each piece. The rice was excellent.

We then decided to try a couple of their "Fancy Rolls". We ordered the Ocean Roll (cruncy spicy tuna, salmon and yellowtail inside, red tobiko and scallop outside) and the Fairfield Roll (eel, spicy salmon skin, cucumber, seaweed salad, kani, scallion and masago wrapped with a soybean shell). Both were delicious. As an aside, they have 30 of those fancy rolls and another 28 of the more traditional (ala California) rolls.

The owner then gifted us with an on the house sample of their house special, which I unfortunately don't remember much about except that it was great (I was honestly pretty darn full by that point). We finished up with another special of the day at the recommendation of the owner -- two pieces of fantastic line-caught, wild Alaskan salmon. This was tremendous! Beautiful marbling and incredibly fresh. They served it quickly seared (like 10 seconds) which really released the flavor.

Lots of food, and all of it was specatacular. Total bill (w/o tip) was about $130 which I personally found very reasonable given all that we ate plus the sake. I HIGHLY recommend Shiki to anyone!

Tasting Menu - Fairfield County

Fantastic! Tell me more, tell me more! I'd love to hear the whole menu (or if you could scan it rather than type, I'd be happy to share my email address with you). What direction did you provide to Chef Dave, and were there any limitations placed on him? Cost (how about a range if you don't want to be specific)? And is this something that he seemed open to doing for others (like, oh I dunno, me?)?

Great tale and now I'm completely sold on Osetra.

When in Monroe, CT, don't waste your money at Carl Anthony's

Wow, well there you go. Amazing how two people (or several actually in this case) can have completely different experiences at a restaurant. I've eaten at CA's several times over the years, and have always been extremely pleased with the food and service. TheFoodGuy describes it as being empty -- anytime I've been there it has been completely PACKED. The calamari as nothing special? As cgallagher states, I've always found it excellent. I've never experienced an under-cooked entree and the desserts have always been very good. I'm generalizing a bit -- there certainly have been nit-picks from time-to-time -- but overall I've had good experiences here. I'll admit that it is probably going on a year or more since I've been, so maybe it has taken an enormous nose dive in that time??? Curious to hear other recent reports.

Jun 27, 2008
bcsuka in Southern New England

Osianna - Fairfield, CT very good

Found myself in Fairfield around 7:00 last night -- tired, hungry and with nothing waiting for me at home to cook for dinner. Having just read positive reviews regarding Osianna earlier in the day (and just so happened that I printed out a copy of their menu -- good fortune!), my decision was simple. Place a call for some takeout!

Since it was just myself dining tonight (DW was working late) I decided to go with three small plates so I could get a good representative sample of their menu. I can report that, overall, I was mostly pleased with the dishes. What I ordered and my thoughts:

- Red and Golden Beet Salad which was topped with baby arugula and dressed with an orange balsamic glaze. Great fresh ingredients, very light and tasty. A touch of salt helped wake the dish up. It was definitely not over-dressed with the balsamic glaze, in fact one could say that it was a touch under-dressed, even skimpy. I would be one who would say that. I'd give the dish a B; could have been a B+/A with a bit more dressing (it was tasty dressing, just wasn't enough of it).

- Meyer Lemon and Artichoke Risotto. Absolutely brilliant. One of the best risottos I have ever had. Great citrus flavor while completely avoiding the potential to overpower the rest of the ingredients. Lots of artichokes and perfect texture for the rice. A major winner. A+

- Petite Veal Ossobuco. The only potential miss. The online menu stated that the dish came with homemade gnocchi, however it is now served with homemade flat noodles (basically a tagliatelle or fetuccini). No problem, the pasta was delicious and perfectly cooked; the sauce sublime. The problem was with the Veal itself. Not the flavor, mind you. That was superb. Fork tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. There just wasn't enough of it. Unfortunately, more than half of what was on the bone was nothing more than fat. While I expect to usually find some fat with my ossobuco, this was a bit much. I only got about 2-3 smallish forkfuls of actual meat. So I'm conflicted on a grade for this dish. It was really delicious. The pasta and sauce (kind of a variation of a bolognese, it was, I believe, the braising sauce the veal was cooked in) were excellent. The veal itself was really good. Just wish I had less of all that fat on the bone. Let's go with a B.

So overall, I would definitely go again, despite the couple missteps. There was definitely more than enough good to counterbalance the not-as-good, and the flavors (particularly with the risotto) were really outstanding. The service was extremely friendly and courteous. I look forward to actually dining on premises.

Total cost = $31 (certainly not cheap, but reasonable to my mind given the overall quality)
Final grade = B+

My first CH review, hope you enjoyed!