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Middletown, CT - Fishbone now Mezzo Grille

Tried to eat at Mezzo last night. Unfortunately sequence of events and my gut feeling led us out the door. When we walked in we were greeted promptly by a host and told that all tables were full, but we could eat on the patio. Not our thing on a rainy warm night so we chose to get a drink while waiting which is what we like to do anyway.

Here is where the trouble starts. Listen, I know I am going to jumped on with those that say "They have only been open a week", but I will tell you my story anyway. There were two bartenders behind the bar. One lady seemed to only make drinks for the incoming orders for the floor while the other bartender took a dinner order from the bar and entered in the computer(which took about 5 minutes). So here I stand, just wanting a Ten Penny Ale and no one would make eye contact. Bigger problem. A dark haired older man, who I presume was one of the owners, was more worried about chumming it up with a front table, offering them a bottle of Prosecco and cheers while people stacked up at the bar. So after waiting about ten minutes I get my beer(my wife said forget it for hers). Even bigger problem. Peeking over the divider periodically to see when a table would clear I counted two booths and a table which sat no less than 10 minutes without being bussed after the people had left.

So here we are. My beer is empty. There are empty dirty booths available. The suspected owner is still working the obvious "friends". And I have a decision to make. Stay or go?

We left. Went to Luce and had a phenomenal meal with a highly trained waitstaff.
Starters-
Me- Warm figs stuffed with gorgonzola over proscuitto with a balsamic drizzle
Wife- Clams casino, stuffed with peppers and bacon, topped with panko
Meal-
Me- Tenderloin tips over garlic mashed with onion rings and a carrot-mustard emulsion
Wife- Scallops over mushroom risotto with a pomegranate gastrique

Another thing to love about Luce is the tap beer selection. Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA on tap. This is nearly unheard of. So long story short. I love the menu at Mezzo and will give them another chance, but they have major kinks to work out. I don't care how good the kitchen is if the customer can't even be sat due to a sloppy front of the house.

Jul 11, 2010
jakeith in Southern New England

Most underrated restaurants in Central CT?

I am torn about this post because we all want to keep our "secrets". But, I started thinking that there is a small population that reads this website and revealing our hidden treasures will not make it harder for us to frequent these locales. We are all here to find good food and we should share that.

I will start with my pick that is rarely talked about on this board.

-The Cottage in Plainville, CT. My wife and I stumbled upon this restaurant in 2003 and it has been our favorite ever since. Yes, the small cape on a main road is somewhat unassuming. Yes, the interior is somewhate plain, but clean and comfortable. But the true reason why we go to any restaurant is the cuisine and in my opinion few do it better than Chef Patty Queen at the Cottage. She does a seasonal menu which never ceases to amaze and satisfy. I highly recommend any pork dish she creates and while I rarely order chicken when going out, this place warrants an exception. Dave creates the most tasty cocktails and Mom runs the front of the house. It may seem as if I am in kahoots with the Queen family but that is not the case. We go there frequent enough to know the family and they always seem to remember us.

PS. They have a 4 course meal Tues-Thurs for 16.95 which is an unbelievable deal.

-----
Cottage Restaurant & Café
427 Farmington Ave, Plainville, CT 06062

Nov 07, 2009
jakeith in Southern New England

Foe Bistro Branford, CT

My wife and I went to Foe in Branford, Ct last night for my 33rd birthday and I can only say I am sorry I waited so long to go to this great restaurant. We arrived one hour early to have a drink at the bar and were greeted by a friendly and helpful bartender. After a nice glass of old vine zinfandel we moved on to dinner.

We were offered a table off of the bar in front of the fireplace or in the main dining room by the large windows overlooking Main Street. We chose the window seats and were brought warm bread with honey butter and roasted garlic, a great start. For appetizers, we chose fried lobster raviolis with a zucchini topping and homemade sausage patty topped with roasted reds and 100 yr balsamic. Neither dissapointed, but I was partial to the sausage.

For our main meals, I chose the roasted duck over chourico risotto cooked to medium perfection and the wife had pumkin encrusted cod over quinoa. We finished dinner with a split carrot cake that I would rate average. We were then offered by the co-owner complimentary glasses of port wine which we accepted. I thought that this was a nice touch to a great evening and certainly not something that any chain restaurant or most private restaurants do with any frequency.

We certainly will be adding Foe to our list of restaurants that we frequent, not only because the food was superb, but because of the way we were treated. Most restaurants take their customers for granted, often forgetting that I can spend my money somewhere else. Not so at Foe.

Nov 24, 2008
jakeith in All New England Archive

The Cottage, Plainville CT

I am glad you enjoyed the Cottage. Please do not tell too many people about this place. Oh well, you already have. Anyway, the Cottage is by far our favorite restaurant in Connecticut. Yes, the atmosphere is somewhat country barn meets your grandmother's house but the food cannot be beat. I believe that Chef Patty is probably the most under-rated chef in CT. In general we are by far the youngest couple(or crowd when we go with friends) as we are only in our early 30's and the normal crowd seems to be mid 50's.

Never pass on her pork as she can cook a hunk of pig like I have never had. My wife always likes her vegetarian entrees too. Save room for big desserts and as Dave for a good after dinner Port. You won't be dissapointed.

Aug 05, 2008
jakeith in All New England Archive

Any Middletown, CT suggestions?

Burny,

Coolest bar by far in Middletown is Eli Cannon's, on the north end of Main Street by the Portland Bridge. Something like 32 beers on tap, good bar food, and a cool atmosphere. Definetly worth a try.
The bar upstairs a the Firehouse Steakhouse is nice. A pool table, digital jukebox, leather couches. Can't speak for the food, haven't eaten there but drink service is prompt. Firehouse on the middle area of Main Street by the intersection of Main and Washington.
For pizza, my favorite is Illiano's. There are two in Middletown, but the closest to Wesleyan is on South Main near KFC and Domino's. New York style pizza in a casual atmosphere(old Friendly's building). Hope this helps.

Joshua

Jun 13, 2008
jakeith in Southern New England

Forbidden City Bistro in Middletown, CT

Dan,

As a resident of Middletown, I can speak to most of the Middletown restaurants. Forbidden City is a great addition to our city filling the upscale Asian void in the city. As for a date, I would say yes although on the weekends it can get busy and somewhat loud. The dress code is the same as most restaurants, as dressy as you want, but a nice pair of jeans and a button down will also do. The food is very inventive and modern, check their website.

May 11, 2008
jakeith in All New England Archive

Firebox Restaurant-Hartford: A review (long)

Had the joy of a great meal at Firebox last night. Firebox has been on our list of "TO DO" restaurants and we finally got there. Arrived 10 minutes early for our 7 PM reservations and was offered either to relax at the bar for a drink first or go directly to our table. Nice offering, don't see that too much. We were lead to the back dining room to a small table for two in the corner. Very nice restoration while maintaining original brickwork.

We started with the soup of the day, Carrot Ginger with creme fraiche and ginger croutons and the white bean soup. Both were very good. Followed with scallops over cauliflower two ways and warm beets. I had the cider braised short ribs with fingerling
potatoes and onions. Short rib was so tender it could be cut with a fork. We split the warm bread pudding served over Myer's Rum glaze. Not your typical soggy bread pudding, more like a cake. Also, very good.

Overall we were very impressed with the overall experience. Others have commented on poor service. Not the case at all for us. Very knowledgeable and prompt service. Total before tip for 2 apps, 2 entrees, 1 dessert, 3 drinks, 1 espresso was $110.

We will be returning in the future, and would like to have more casual food and drinks in the amazing bar area.

Mar 29, 2008
jakeith in All New England Archive

Moonfish Grill in Cape May

My wife and I ate at the Moonfish Grill Wednesday evening between Christmas and New Year's. We stopped in the afternoon to make reservations and my wife went in. We were able to secure reservations for 7:30, our preferred time. My wife said the man she spoke with was the chef and he questioned as to how we heard about Moonfish. She told him we were big fans of Daniel's and that her husband, me of course, read some encouraging reviews on Chowhound. Later that evening, the host said that they are very aware of Chowhound and do monitor the postings. Good to know.

Now the food.

We were seated promptly even as we were early. Our wine, BYOB, was opened and poured promptly. Did take quite some time and a request for water after about 30 minutes. I had creole dusted calamari and the wife had the duck quesadillas for apps. The calamari was light, perfect, and absolutely a huge portion, enough for at least two. The duck quesadilla was said to be excellent. By the way, the duck quesadilla also has chourico and goat cheese.

For our main meals, we chose one of the specials the Chilean Sea Bass over lobster risotto and wilted spinach. I has NY Strip with a horseradish bernaise, potoatoes, and asparagus. Both dishes did not dissapoint.

Dessert was split being an almond torte. Average, not great.

Now my two complaints. We were sat at a two top in the back(sushi) room at the bottom of stairs which obviously lead to an unheated upstairs. Several employees kept going up and down the stairs and everytime the door opened the draft was unbearable. Even when the doors were closed the constant flow of cold air was unpleasant. Avoid this spot at all costs. My second complaint is with specials/market price. This is not directed at Moonfish, but restaurants in general. I would like to know the prices ahead of time, not to get a big surprise on the final bill. My wife's sea bass was market price, and of course we did not ask. I was a little surprised by the $36 price tag. I can be pessimistic at times, but I do believe that restaurants sometimes jack up specials/market price because 99% of the time people don't ask the price and simply order.

Overall, a very positive experience. Our bill for two apps, two meals, one dessert, and tip $120. We would definetly return, just not at the bottom of the back stairs in the winter!

Jan 03, 2007
jakeith in Mid-Atlantic

Good eats near Foxboro before Bon Jovi

Looking for some recommendations for a good dinner in the Foxboro area before Bon Jovi this Thursday. Interested in New American or Italian.

Jul 24, 2006
jakeith in Greater Boston Area