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La Piazza, Georgetown, CT

No surprise...La Piazza is now closed. Fingers crossed for whatever opens in that space next, but I admit I don't have high hopes, given the history of that space!

Jun 21, 2014
hungrykids in Southern New England

Georgetown, CT update

Sigh... after all the waiting, it looks like we are in for another disappointment in Georgetown. The long-awaited Black Cat Grille is now open for business. If our experience there tonight is any indication, it won't be open for very long.

Black Cat is located - both geographically and metaphorically - closer to Lumberyard Pub than to The Little Pub. So perhaps that should have been our cue to stick to bar food...nearby we saw nachos that looked good and a bowl of chili went past our table looking warm and tasty...but we opted for healthier fare, ordering the chicken satay appetizer, a shrimp Caesar salad, and the special of the day: broiled salmon served with rice pilaf and a vegetable side dish.

We waited an inordinately long time for our food. In fact, a couple who arrived at the restaurant after us was able to order, eat, and pay for their meal while we waited. They were leaving the restaurant as our food arrived. We weren't expecting five star service (especially since the place is still new) - and we would have been happy to overlook a few growing pains - but I'm not sure they can overcome the problems we noted tonight.

The chicken satay turned out to be some grilled chicken strips on a plate with two dipping sauces, only one of which resembled satay (the other seemed to be a citrusy vinaigrette). Both sauces were tasty. Presentation was only fair.

The Caesar salad was delivered to our table with grilled chicken instead of the shrimp we ordered. The waitstaff took the dish back to the kitchen, promising a quick turnaround.

As for the salmon...it was disappointing to say the least. First, it was surely the smallest piece of salmon we've ever seen served as a main course in a restaurant. I'd be shocked if it weighed in at a 1/4 pound. It was completely bland - no seasoning whatsover - and, frankly, a little watery, making me wonder if it had really been broiled. Accompanying my fairly tasteless fish was an equally bland side of veggies: a zucchini and squash combination that was also a little watered down and lacking any seasoning, except for the one bite in which I bit down on a peppercorn! (At my request, they doubled up on the veggies and skipped the rice. I have a food allergy and they could not confirm the rice pilaf ingredients did not include the allergen...which makes me wonder how they made the rice pilaf? If they don't know what's in it because perhaps it was a prepared mix of some sort, didn't it arrive in the kitchen with some sort of box printed with a list of ingredients? Okay...whatever...)

Adding (admittedly minor) insult to injury: I wanted brewed unsweetened iced tea...and they don't have it. Really? How difficult is it to brew tea? (Given the amount of time we waited for food, I should have ordered hot tea. It would have cooled and I could have dumped it over a glass of ice myself. It would have been ready long before our meal arrived.)

REALLY I wanted to love this place. I wanted another delicious go-to restaurant in the neighborhood. And maybe if I just want a burger or a plate of nachos then Black Cat Grille will be an option.

The bar was busy...and loud...since it's all one big room with nothing but brick and wood to soak up the sound. Not a place for a romantic dinner (not to say we were looking for one). For folks looking mainly to socialize, enjoy a drink, and eat bar food it will probably serve the same niche, more or less, that Lumberyard serves. But for those of us who want our food to be better than average, Black Cat Grille will have a long way to go.

In the meantime, we will wait for other Chowhound locals to check it out and chime in before we give it a second chance...

Nov 29, 2013
hungrykids in Southern New England
1

Danbury area diners: Mezon or Ibiza?

I'm so glad you had a good experience! This thread has me hungry for a return visit...maybe this weekend for us.

Nov 05, 2013
hungrykids in Southern New England

Danbury area diners: Mezon or Ibiza?

Mezon is loud...especially on a Friday or Saturday night when the bar is busy...but it's still our first choice for dinner (particularly when the weather is nice enough to sit outside). We've had multiple great meals at Mezon - never ordered anything we weren't happy with (top pick from me is the Coco Invierno...for my SO it would be any of the ceviche options). We weren't bowled over by Ibiza and after two tries have not returned. So we accept the noise as part of the experience and try not to let it bother us.

Nov 02, 2013
hungrykids in Southern New England

Sacramento and Surroundings

apparently it will be open to the public (and i think they said it would open on or about september 1st) so you probably can go check it out. it's worth it if onlyl to see the amazing architecture and design (on top of the great food, which you're already getting at work).

Aug 22, 2012
hungrykids in California

Sacramento and Surroundings

lol - thanks for the detective work and the explanation of the difference between the Denios Jimboys and all the others. i guess i'm going to have to make plans for a future visit just to confirm your analysis!

Jul 30, 2012
hungrykids in California

Sacramento and Surroundings

There was a detour because they were paving the road, so maybe we went in/out a different way than usual? Also, although you had written it here, I didn't remember at the time that we had to look for the auction.

Oh well...I guess I have a good reason to come back another time (in addition to another wonderful visit with friends)!

Jul 27, 2012
hungrykids in California

Sacramento and Surroundings

On Saturday morning we made an early run to Denios before the temperature became unbearable. It was a ton of fun and I have to say I'm surprised there isn't more chatter on the Sacramento board about it since, apparently, it's the largest farmer's market in California. I was impressed with the variety of fruits, vegetables, and various other items for sale, as well as the prices, which were significantly better than what I pay back in Connecticut. We sampled many items and ended up buying some incredible white peaches, nectarines, and a watermelon along with some cactus fruit for my hosts' children. If we had planned on doing any cooking during my visit we also would have been happy to purchase any number of other items, including the tomatillos, various types of beans (pole, wax, green and I'm not sure what else), the cauliflower, tomatoes, and the cucumbers.

Afterwards, in a nod to the "junk food tour of Sacramento" mentioned in a different thread, we looked for the Jimboys Tacos rumored to be across the street from Denios. No luck - either in person or using a google search on my phone, so instead we stopped at one of the Jimboys in Rocklin. It was...um...good...for a taco from a fast food chain. I came, I saw, I ate at Jimboys. Not sure I need to repeat the experience in the future!

But I would gladly return for a second trip to Hawks in Granite Bay, where we thoroughly enjoyed our Chef's Grand Tasting! I tried to write down everything we had - and I tried to take photos of everything - but several times we were so caught up in wanting to eat that we forgot one or the other of those tasks! So, to the best of my recollection (and with the help of some notes and some photos), here was our incredible meal.

The meal started with an amuse-bouche, but not just any old amuse-bouche (see photo). This one allowed us to sample four items: the corn chowder, a salmon belly, steak tartare, and what was described as green bean beignets (but which I would argue might have been more aptly named green bean tempura). The corn chowder was creamy and delicious and, if the temperature hadn't been topping 100 that day I might have been delighted to have an entire bowl. The salmon belly and the steak tartare were also delightful. The green beans, frankly, were a little greasy. Maybe it was just the ones on our plate or maybe that's the way they serve them...but the lemon aioli dipping sauce was a nice touch.

Official first course: octopus with compressed melon. This was the first of my "oops I forgot to take a photo" moments. The octopus was about the size of a long finger, surrounded by a light crust. The server explained that the compressed melon (which looked like little orange dice) were made by placing melon and cider vinegar in the cryovac. I loved the combination of the vinegar with the melon. It was refreshing and different and delicious. The octopus was good...not outstanding...but the dish as a whole worked for me.

Next up: seared ahi tuna served in cucumber water (see photo) with cucumber, squash, and radish. Another delicious treat. The cucumber water was poured into the bowl at the table. The tuna was perfect.

After the tuna came one of our favorites of the night: sauteed halibut served over a corn pudding with uni butter. Again, I'm afraid to say, I forgot to snap a photo. The halibut - a piece about three inches square - was perfectly cooked. It rested on a bed of the sweetest, creamiest corn pudding and the uni butter. The dish literally melted in our mouths.

The following course brought us some texture - which was a pleasant change from the halibut dish. We were served duck confit with quinoa with roasted peaches (see photo). The chef got the sear on the skin just right. The quinoa salad was delicious. And the roasted peaches were the perfect compliment. See those little buds on top of each peach cube? They were a little spicy bite. At our request, the server went into the kitchen to ask what they were (since he didn't know) - fennel flowers! I've looked online at photos of fennel flowers and I think these may have been fennel flower buds. Regardless of what you call them, they were a fun addition to the dish.

The next course was the beef duo and on this evening it was a short rib served over creamed corn and a filet served with a potato rosti (see photo - although in this case I don't think the photo does the food justice). The short rib was so tender you could have cut it with a spoon. And although this was the third time we were served corn in one evening, it was so good I couldn't possibly complain. The filet was cooked equally well and the potato was the most gourmet version of a tater tot I've ever had. I realize that may not sound like a compliment but, believe me, it was.

On to the cheese course which, on this evening, was a St. Andre cheese, served with nuts, spicy microgreens, and pine syrup (see photo). The pine syrup was something new for me. It tasted similar, imho, to maple syrup. The combination of the ingredients on the plate could not have been better.

And, then, finally, it was dessert, which was described as a brown butter panna cotta and which was served with ice cream (there was some word added to the description that I can't recall) and a bit of chocolate sauce and berries (see photo). Not surprisingly, it was divine. And all I can say is that despite the number of courses that preceded this one, we could easily - and happily - have eaten a portion twice the size of what we were served!!!

This was a perfect meal from start to finish. I enjoyed every bite. I would repeat the experience in a heartbeat and, hopefully, I'll be back in the Greater Sacramento area again someday so that I'll be able to do so.

Thanks to all the CHers who posted previously about Sacramento and surroundings. Many of our choices this week were based on your threads and I appreciated all of the suggestions.

Jul 22, 2012
hungrykids in California

Sacramento and Surroundings

Sacramento and surroundings continues to bring great culinary surprises...and the biggest surprise of all was today's lunch which, originally, I didn't think I would be writing about at all!

My hosts here in the Sac area have a business connection to William Jessup University. As a result, I was invited to join them for a sneak peek at the soon-to-be-opened campus restaurant run by Bon Appetit Management Company (www.bamco.com). I can't believe I'm going to say this about what is, essentially, a college dining hall, but take my word for it when I tell you that if I lived in this area I would be lunching regularly at this place as soon as it is open to the public (on or about September 1st).

Located in the former Herman Miller chair factory designed by Frank Gehry, the interior space has been transformed by Taylor Teeter and Reeve Knight into a contemporary but comfortable space complete with private dining rooms and a circular lounge-like seating area in the center. Even the dish return conveyor belt, tucked around a corner and not visible from the main dining area, is such an interesting and aesthetically pleasing design that it's worth a look.

I started the meal with a cold watermelon-tomato gazpacho. Flavored with cilantro and packing a punch it was a refreshing start on a hot day. The salad bar, in keeping with Bon App's farm-to-fork, sustainable, healthy approach to food service, offered a variety of fresh vegetables and vegan options. I sampled a lentil curry, a quinoa salad, and a warm sauteed chard and onion dish, all of which were delicious and worthy of a "real" restaurant menu. After sampling the salads we chose from two pizzas being made in the wood-burning oven: a margerita pizza and a salami and carmelized onion. Reviews of both at our table were quite positive. Hot entrees being offered today were a spicy thai chicken stir fry (at the "fire and ice" station), baja fish tacos, a rotisserie chicken and herb-roasted potato option, and "sliders" and fries (which looked more like potato wedges than fries). Between us we tried everything except the fries... No one was disappointed and everyone went back for seconds (and sometimes thirds). Along the way we helped ourselves to drinks (iced tea, orange water, and watermelon agua fresca were available alongside the soda bar) and we finished with dessert (options included mini-cupcakes, tarts, cookies, and a delicious fruit compote).

Local foodies would be smart to keep this on their radar and head to campus as soon as possible (once it opens to the public). I was utterly amazed that college dining could be this good (and commented to the 15-year-old in our group that she will be sorely disappointed when she goes to college someday if she expects this same level of food quality!).

Ironically, our original plan was to eat a light lunch, thinking (a) it wouldn't be that good and (b) we would need room for dinner. Instead, we tried a little of almost everything!

And then it was time for dinner...

at Ella Dining Room & Bar in downtown Sacramento.

And it was another great meal. (I think the airline is going to charge me a fee on the return flight for "extra baggage" at the rate I'm going!

)

We started with the classic Ella gin and tonic and I can honestly say it was probably the best gin and tonic I've ever had. Someone had mentioned to us earlier in the week that they make the drink from scratch and, although I'm still not exactly sure what that means, it was worth every sip and I'm glad we paid attention.

From there it was on to appetizers: the heirloom tomato bisque and the country pork pate. The soup was sublime. Creamy texture, perfectly blended, with cotija cheese, lime and cilantro, it was light and airy and delicious. The pate was truly a "country" style - almost chunky, reminiscent of a rillete - and served with a strong mustard, leafy greens, and toasted baguette. It reminded me of many summer afternoons in France.

For entrees we ordered the tagliatelle pasta with poached egg, savoy cabbage, mushrooms, and lemon butter sauce, and the grilled tri tip served with wedge potatoes, blistered tomatoes, and chimichurri. Both were outstanding. The pasta - made at Ella - was wondeful and the tri tip was grilled to perfection.

We shared dessert...(after the day we had, can you blame us?)...the most incredible "black forest" cake I've ever tasted. I would say it was an updated version of the classic, with gianduja cherry mousse atop a lighter than air chocolate cake. And I admit that as soon as we polished off the first we seriously considered ordering a second.

In the end, only the thought of tomorrow's dinner plans helped us hold back.

Who knew Sacramento was such a food mecca???

More tomorrow....

Jul 20, 2012
hungrykids in California

Sacramento and Surroundings

I'm on a quick trip to Sacramento (from Connecticut). After perusing these boards for some recommendations and ideas and consulting with my host we have been trying to hit the "best of" for some good eats.

Lunch on Wednesday was at La Provence in Roseville. It's a beautiful setting...if I lived here I would definitely inquire about using the space for a private event. The food was good. Not great. We started with the pissaladiere saumon which would have been amazing if the salmon hadn't been quite so salty. To add insult to injury, the dough was also salty. Two of the three of us couldn't finish our first piece. (And I quibble with calling it a pissalidiere when it was really more of a flatbread pizza but, whatever...) The waitress did ask how we liked it (after she had said earlier it was her favorite item on the menu) and we told the truth. To their credit, the restaurant removed the item from our bill. Much more to my liking was the grilled vegetable sandwich - a truly delicious cold lunch on a hot day - which I would definitely order again. We also enjoyed the turkey club and the croque madame although we wouldn't go racing back to have either again.

Thursday we had a terrific lunch at the High Hand Cafe in Loomis. First, the concept is great. The restaurant sits in a giant greenhouse at the High Hand Nursery. Attached/surrounding buildings include interesting artsy shops. We enjoyed a well-spent hour or so browsing the shops after lunch. The food itself was perfect for the setting. Lots of interesting sandwiches and salads along with a selection of wood-fired pizzas. Hits at our table included the tri-tip sandwich, the chicken salad sandwich, and the orange-glazed salmon salad. No dessert as we were saving ourselves for dinner...

at Biba's...where we dined Thursday night. We started at the bar and enjoyed cocktails (lemon drop martini was excellent) and took advantage of the happy hour pricing to enjoy calamari fritti as an appetizer. We moved into the dining room and were greeted by Giuseppe, who may very well have provided the best table service I've ever experienced. He was a real character - but in a good way. The Italian accent was real, the knowledge of food was impressive (he shared stories with us about his annual 100 jars of tomato sauce marathon as well as his recipe for a meat-based ragout), and his suggestions for our meal were incredibly helpful. We began with salads - one of us ordered the mozzarella/tomato combination (but thought maybe a little more tomato would have helped the tomato to mozz ratio) - and one of us had the bean/mint/parmesan/pine nut salad - a combination that was beyond divine. Since it was Thursday, we had to try Biba's famous lasagna and, although it was delicious and we're glad we had such a quintessential Sacramento experience, I'm not sure either of us would bother to order it again, unless we were really in the mood for lasagna. In comparison, the second entree was the real winner: duck breast with honeyed grilled figs served with a summer vegetable medley. The duck was delicious and the figs were eye-openingly amazing. For dessert we shared the zabaglione with fresh fruit - another excellent choice - and one that we don't find often on menus these days. It was the perfect end to the meal - airy and creamy and mixed with fresh berries. To top things off, Giuseppe brought us a taste of the mango gelato - and we enjoyed every bite.

Still on our list (and I'll write them up): Ella for sure and either Hawks, Spetaro, or something all of you suggest...and we need to make a run to Denios and Jimboys tacos.

Jul 20, 2012
hungrykids in California

Georgetown, CT update

I'm trying not to panic, but... friends of ours went to Bistro 7 last night after hearing us rave about our experience, and they called today to say their experience couldn't have been more the opposite of ours, both in terms of food and service. Apparently the restaurant was out of four items on the menu (the cod, the lobster bolgnese that we loved, and two of the appetizers). One complaint was the coffee-rubbed pork chop which they said was dry as a bone. The other complaint had to do with wait staff unfamiliar with the menu (and therefore unable to answer critical questions) and food not arriving as ordered (for example, with the cheese on the side of one of the salads). They said their experience was bad enough that they will not even give the restaurant a second chance. I'm hoping it was a fluke. And I'm willing to try again, since we had such an overwhelmingly positive experience. But I'm definitely bummed that they were so unhappy, especially since they are generally reliable sources of food information.

Jul 15, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Post-tubing casual dinner (Port Jervis on back towards Peekskill)? (Weds night)

the best laid plans....we ended up leaving late and skipping lunch. our loss. maybe next time!

Jul 14, 2012
hungrykids in New York State (exc. NYC)

Georgetown, CT update

I thought the panna cotta was good, not too pudding-like, but maybe not the best panna cotta I've ever tasted.

Here's a link to the menus (which I should have thought to post yesterday):

http://www.menuism.com/restaurants/bi...

Lots of chicken, beef, and vegetarian options for you! Can't wait to hear if you like it as much as we did. (And OT - did you ever make it to La Piazza?)

Jul 13, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Post-tubing casual dinner (Port Jervis on back towards Peekskill)? (Weds night)

ooh - landed on this post by accident but just in time as we are driving from danbury ct to milford pa on saturday - at lunchtime - perfect opportunity to stop for a bite! hoping lunch is as tasty as your dinner - and already regretting that we will also only be two for the meal, so not enough to sample many items. (maybe the people at the next table would want to share???)

Jul 12, 2012
hungrykids in New York State (exc. NYC)

Georgetown, CT update

Without a doubt, Bistro 7 is the best thing to happen to Georgetown since, well, I don't even have a since... RUN RUN as fast as you can to grab a table and a bite to eat! Seriously. I don't think we've EVER seen food like this around here. I'm so excited I can barely type!

So we went for dinner tonight. The space is small (seats about 50, including the bar) but beautiful. It's hard to believe it's the same place that so recently housed Cafe Cogolulu.

The concept is small plates meets farm-to-table with lots of organic, locally sourced food (although branzino was on the menu and I'm pretty sure that's a Meditteranean fish...). Vegetarian and vegan items on the menu sounded delicious even to us meat-eaters.

They brought "bread" to the table: two warm, mini-pitas topped with za'atar (a middle eastern spice blend that we love and which is not common around here - a happy surprise for us!) cleverly served in a lined flowerpot with a little olive oil on the side.

We ordered two "small plates" to share as starters: chorizo empanadas with a cilantro-lime dipping sauce and soft-shell crab served on an edamame puree. Both were delicious. But when they say "soft-shell crab" on the menu, they really mean "crab" - singular - as in, we cut it in half and shared the one crab between us. Not that it wasn't wonderful, but it definitely left me wanting more.

We moved on to a salad course, described on the menu as 'black-eyed pea fritters, watercress, cucumber, feta, worcestershire syrup." It was a divine combination and the "fritters" reminded us of falafel - both in taste AND in shape. When I read "fritter" I expect something flatter than what I was served, which looked like it had been scooped with a melon baller and then fried. Also I would say that while I appreciated the artistic plating, I would have appreciated a larger portion even more. We saw other, more traditional, salads being served at nearby tables and those portions were clearly larger and might have been better choices for sharing.

We shared a main course, too: lobster bolognese on black sepia pasta. Again, the food was delicious. The ratio of lobster to pasta was generous and the bolognese was a delightful tomato-based sauce that could have, but didn't, overwhelm the lobster. Again, it was almost a little too small a portion to share (well, maybe only because it was so good we both wanted more).

We couldn't leave without dessert and, here, the timing of the meal fell apart a little bit. The dessert took significantly longer to arrive than we thought it would, based on the pace of the other courses. I'm not sure what happened, exactly (although we got an apology for the wait when they brought us the dessert). And once again the description on the menu and the food on the plate didn't quite match... We ordered the "chocolate and cherries" which was described as "chocolate doughnuts, panna cotta, tarragon cherry compote." I think "chocolate doughnut HOLES" would have been a more appropriate description (see photo - the "doughnuts" are barely bigger than the cherries). And my biggest complaint of the evening: two of the cherries still had pits.

But, I have to say, two pits and a quibble about naming foods fritter or doughnut is a small price to pay for what is surely the best food we've seen on this stretch of Route 7 in the more than 15 years we've lived in the area.

This is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. At this price point it's not likely to be my everyday go-to restaurant (although I asked my SO if we could return every day until we've worked our way through the entire menu....) but it is likely to be my go-to restaurant for any excuse I can come up with for a celebration or a nicer-than-normal meal with friends.

Oh - and there are three "kid's menu" items as an option for the younger set. Since the hungrykids are away for the summer we didn't have to worry about it.

Can't wait to hear what our fellow Georgetown Chowhounds have to say...

Jul 12, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Best North Indian I know....in Danbury CT

got distracted by something that night (kids, no doubt) and never made it to danbury for dinner...then completely lost track of our plans in the midst of getting the hungry kids out the door for the summer.

so now that we're a month behind schedule....maybe we'll try it this week...especially in light of your longer post and jim's thoughtful reply, i'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Jul 09, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Georgetown, CT update

Bistro7 apparently opened this weekend (soft opening?). I see that the door is open and customers were walking in and out. We will give it a try this week...anyone else?

Jul 01, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Best North Indian I know....in Danbury CT

don't know how i missed this last year - so glad it popped back up on the board. we are looking for someplace to go for dinner tonight!

Jun 12, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Your top ten favorite Sacramento dining places

thanks for resurrecting this thread, just in time for my upcoming visit to the sacramento area at the end of july. any suggestions gladly taken. we will be two women (of a certain age, but not THAT aged) heading out for good food and conversation. too many years with me on the right coast and her on the left (wrong?) - this is a chance to catch up and visit while enjoying the best that sacramento has to offer...whatever that may be.

Jun 04, 2012
hungrykids in California

STATION EATS... NEW CANAAN, STAMFORD... HOW IS IT?

It's fine. Nothing to write home about imho. New Canaan is teeny tiny...a few seats inside, a few more outside. No better or worse than Shake Shack (maybe cheaper, however, which is a plus) or Five Guys. Personally, I think some other places are better (but I'm not allowed to name one). Quirky ordering system that I suppose they think gives them character but isn't so convenient when you're juggling hungry kids who have never been there before and who don't want to change the way they like to order...

note: this post has been edited at the request of the moderators

May 17, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Valencia Luncheria's new location

hooray on the new, larger location and ditto to kattyeyes (wish it moved closer to me, but can't complain too much...it's under 30 minutes)

May 16, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

La Piazza, Georgetown, CT

We gave La Piazza a second try - this time with one of the hungry kids in tow.

Trish, I forgot to ask if the mozzarella triangles were deep fried and, honestly, I can't remember. The menu called them "fried" - and they were breaded and crisp, but certainly could have been pan fried or oven "fried" rather than deep fried...my apologies!

The return visit was a mixed experience. We again sat "in the greenhouse" where the hungry kid immediately looked up and announced (loudly) that perhaps having a glass "roof" wasn't such a great idea with all the birds around here. I'll leave it to your imaginations to picture the scene and I'll warn future diners not to look up if they don't want to spoil their appetites!

This time I specifically asked for ice in a large glass to go with the water, which I did receive. The bus staff is still really green. Lots of bumping into one another, etc. and our busboy spilled the water on our table when he filled our glasses the first time but never came back to clean it off. Okay - not the end of the world - but some room for improvement here.

Closer to the end of the world (or the end of my life), I was debating ordering a sandwich or wrap. Since I have a fatal allergy to buckwheat (yeah, it's odd), I needed to ask about the ingredients in the breads. My first question to the waiter was whether or not they made their own breads. He said they do not. So I asked if they had an ingredient list and if he could check whether or not there was buckwheat in any of the breads. He returned to the kitchen then came back to our table apologizing that they did not have a list of ingredients and he could not confirm whether or not the breads would be safe for me to eat.

Now I don't have a problem with the restaurant not making their own bread. But I do think they have a responsibility to have a list of ingredients on hand exactly for this reason.

(As it turned out, the sandwich I wanted to order is served on the same focaccia they offer up in the bread basket at the beginning of the meal, which I inadvertently ate WITHOUT asking last week, so at that point I realized I was fine to order it...but STILL I think they need to know the ingredients if they don't make the bread themselves.)

Dinner was mostly okay, but only okay.

First (at the hungry kid's request) we ordered garlic knots. The garlic knots arrived steaming hot and the fragrance of butter and garlic made us all grab for one at the same time...but we were SO disappointed...because despite the wonderful smell, there was absolutely no TASTE of garlic whatsoever. Thanfully, they were served with a side of warm marinara sauce, which was delicious as a dip for the bread.

For dinner, the hungry kid decided (having heard our review) that he wanted to try the ravioli bar. Not that this is a big deal, but between last week and this, La Piazza changed the style of service. Last week the ravioli were on a relatively small plate, and the sauce was in a small container on the side. This week the ravioli was served in a large bowl and the side of sauce came in a large, very full gravy boat. Since it was pesto, the solids had settled to the bottom of the gravy boat, which hungry kid didn't realize until after he had started pouring what was mostly warm olive oil onto his ravioli. We stopped him, mixed the pesto, and then used a fork to get some of the solids onto his plate...not so appetizing an experience.

My SO ordered the caprese sandwich and pronounced the first bites delicious. He finished the first half (served on their focaccia bread) but had to trade his second half to the hungry kid, who decided he didn't want the ravioli after all. Hungry kid pulled off the raw red onion but enjoyed the remainder.

As for me, I ordered the filet mignon sandwich, which came with arugala, carmelized onions, gorgonzola, and a tarragon mayo. Frankly, it was a hot mess. And by that I mean it was, literally, a hot mess! The filet mignon was cooked perfectly and it was moist and tender. But bewtween the juice from the meat, the liquid from the onions, the cheese, and the mayo, the sandwich was dripping wet. It's served in a metal "basket" lined with wax paper which was falling apart (with the food juices dripping through onto the table below) before I was even halfway through my meal. And although I like gorgonzola (otherwise I wouldn't have ordered the sandwich), it was a little overpowering (too much, maybe?) for the sandwich, which maybe also didn't need the tarragon mayo - one item too many, I think.

Both sandwiches were served with thin chips (veggie and potato?) which hungry kid thought were "cool looking" and which my SO thought were too salty. I thought they were delicious.

We also took a meatball grinder to go for the other hungry kid (who stayed home) - which he reports was "perfectly normal."

I'm not ready to write them off just yet (they're too close and convenient)...but I'm hoping for a little better next time around.

Still think the rest of you should check it out and let me know what you think!

May 13, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

La Piazza, Georgetown, CT

La Piazza opened this week for dinner only, and will be open for lunch and dinner beginning Monday, May 7th as per their website (http://lapiazzact.com/).

We decided to give it a try tonight and - for their first Saturday night in business - I would say it wasn't bad.

The renovation is lovely. The bar looks bigger (and brighter) than before and includes tables for dinner and several televisions. Behind the bar a large window looks into the main dining room, which has been completely redone. In addition to the "greenhouse-type" area they added to the front of the building overlooking Route 7, the main dining room now boasts a large fireplace nestled in a wall of built-in bookcases, giving the wall the look of a family room/living room in a large home. Candles graced the mantlepiece. The room is all beiges and browns with low lighting. Even full (by the time we left), the room wasn't too loud for a quiet conversation at the table (although that also meant we occasionally overheard large cheers from the bar whenever some big play was made in whatever sports event the bar crowd was watching on television).

The menu is defined as modern italian. It felt like a step up from Tootzy Patza down the road and was similar in price to Little Pub just up the road. A small plate of olives and a small basket of bread were brought to the table (the bread was good, and slightly warm, but should have been a little warmer). The bottle of olive oil on the table had rosemary, garlic, and other spices inside. We were offered a choice of ice water, sparkling water, or some other kind of water (I can't remember). I asked for ice water. The bottle of water placed on our table was cold...to start...but there was no ice and, eventually, the water was room temperature. Despite the fact that we were in a wine bar, my husband ordered an Italian beer.

We started by sharing an appetizer of the mozarella triangles. The waiter told us they were made in-house. Delicious. The accompanying marinara sauce was also yummy and tasted homemade.

We debated about the main course and then both of us ordered from the "ravioli bar" - choosing seven ravioli each from the six different types offered, and each selecting one of the ten sauces. We split our order between the shrimp/lobster ravioli and the chicken basil ravioli, with the garlic white wine and butter sauce and the pesto sauce on the sides so we could mix and match.

I thought the chicken/basil ravioli were tastier. My husband preferred the shrimp/lobster (which I found a little bland). We thought both sauces were delicious.

At neighboring tables we saw linguine with a meatball, which came served in the cast iron pan, one of the pizzas, which was too large for one person (he took half home), a sandwich on focaccia bread, and (I think) the cavatelli. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their meals and, other than the pizza, appeared to clean their plates.

Dessert offerings included tiramisu, fried pizza dough with cinnamon/sugar and (maybe?) ice cream, creme brulee, gelato, and our choice: the chocolate cake, which was described as something like chocolate cake with raspberry and fudge sauces and a scoop of ice cream. The cake was good - warm, with a molten chocolate center - the vanilla ice cream was good, too. And there was chocolate or fudge sauce over the top. But I was really disappointed that the raspberry sauce (which was great) was ONLY three tiny dots of sauce on the side of the plate - more for decoration than anything else. It's not just that the sauce was delicious and I would have liked more, it's that they went out of the way to mention it in the description on the menu, so I expected it to be an integral part of the dish.

Service was pretty good (our server recognized us from his days at Wilton Pizza & Pasta!), with a few minor glitches that can be easily corrected (like the missing ice or the fact that after the appetizer they took away my knife and fork and never replaced them, so I had to ask for new silverware when they handed me my main course).

It's not perfect, but it's definitely an improvement over Amici's (the last Italian restaurant in that space) - and we'll definitely try it again in a few weeks for dinner as well as for lunch.

Can't wait to hear what the rest of our little Georgetown Chowhound Clique thinks...

(and in a separate note, I see the sign for Bistro 7 went up on the building above DeLuca's Hardware, but it doesn't look like the space is anywhere near ready to open. Anyone have an update?)

May 05, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Georgetown, CT update

I saw the sign up yesterday but did not see cars (wrong time of day?). Also saw in The Redding Pilot that a SECOND Italian/wine bar combo place is opening on Main Street in Georgetown (Luca) and that Black Cat Grille is getting closer to opening around the corner on Route 107. We might actually have decent dining choices this summer...my fingers are crossed.

Apr 28, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

New life for Cobb's Mill Inn, Weston, CT

after reading the article in the paper on thursday, i have to say i'm worried...but i'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. just not sure a "cabaret/restaurant" is going to play well these days... and it sounds like Elayne was looking for a way to get performance exposure for her dance troupe - not like she was dying to open a restaurant - which is not exactly a formula for success

Apr 07, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Macaroni and cheese

it was a disastrous failure in georgetown, ct some time ago...do a search for the old thread. not only was it horrible, the owners got someone to come onto chowhound and post a fake review saying how great it was. fortunately, the ch-powers-that-be were on top of it and removed the thread asap.

the restaurant was in and out of georgetown quicker than a flash in the pan (hah - pun completely intended)

Apr 01, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

The Georgetown Saloon in CT calls it quits

i picked up dinner at toozy patza the other day, so i asked about the new bistro. they said they are hoping for an april opening...

Mar 29, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

The Georgetown Saloon in CT calls it quits

Yes - exactly. Toozy Patza is opening a bistro featuring Spanish-influenced cuisine in the space most recently occupied by Cafe Cogolulu.

Mar 22, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

The Georgetown Saloon in CT calls it quits

It's a sad day... We used to go to the Saloon for the Sunday night (family night) entertainment and dinner with the kids. But, honestly, we stopped several years ago, when the food quality went down and the prices went up. It just wasn't what it used to be.

Georgetown is getting tougher and tougher. Let's hope the new "Spanish Bistro" opening next to Toozy Patza turns out to be a decent option....and fingers crossed for someone to take over the Saloon space and give us back a great place for a fun evening out.

Mar 22, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England

Cactus Rose Cantina Wilton

Tried Cactus Rose last night. The menu is certainly inventive and interesting and a far cry from what this part of Fairfield County usually thinks of as Mexican or Southwestern. For example, I ordered the fish tacos, which were made with grilled swordfish. They were delicious. My dining partner ordered the steak asada fajitas, which included cactus as one of the veggies offered up on the platter. She also enjoyed them immensely. Desserts were a little bit less successful. Her pecan pie was "good but not great." I ordered the chocolate chili pot de creme. It was hard to taste the chili and the consistency was very fudgy instead of the more creamy flan-like texture I was expecting. Every table gets a big pink cotton candy cone with the check. It was a pleasant surprise to taste cinnamon instead of the standard bubble gum flavor. In hindsight, that would have been enough for dessert....we should have ordered appetizers instead.

The redesign of the restaurant is beautiful. Service was overly attentive. I would definitely go back (would like to try some other items, including the steak frites - which is served with yucca fries! - and the lobster enchiladas). Prices are on the higher end for the area (our dinner for two, no appetizers, two desserts, with only one person having a glass of wine, was $85).

I can't compare it to Boxcar Cantina because I haven't been there in years. I think it was significantly better than Southwest Cafe in Ridgefield.

Mar 09, 2012
hungrykids in Southern New England