Chow down in CT

New Haven Restaurant Week

In Connecticut, local cities organize restaurant weeks, where participating restaurants offer a prix-fixe (fixed price) for lunch and dinner.  It is one of my favorite because my friends, family and me can try some restaurants we may not typically go to.

This week happens to be Restaurant Week in New Haven.  Here’s the link for you to look at the participating restaurants and their menus. New Haven Restaurant Week April 8-13, 2018.  Note:  Some restaurants do change some items on their menu.

I tried Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant.  Parking in New Haven isn’t too bad.  If you can’t find street parking, there are parking garages and during restaurant week, they tend to offer special pricing.  When you get to 1104 Chapel Street, look downward and head down the stairs.  It looks like a fun hangout place during the spring and summer with its outdoor patio with heater for those cool nights.

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This time, I had dinner with my brother.  I ordered the steak tartare, seared branzino, and tres leche cake while my brother ordered duck risotto, grilled NY strip steak, and the nutella crepe.  I can’t speak for my brother’s food, but my food was delicious.  My steak tartare was a great starter.  It came with a quail egg which I drizzled over the raw meat and mixed.  I smeared bits of the mixture on the toasty soft bread and bit into it.  Delish!!!  My branzino was light, delicate in flavor, and flaky and came with a ravioli filled with a lobster and crab filling and petite carrots.  Devine!  The tres leche cake was a  delightful end to my meal.

Restaurant weeks are a great time to go and explore the different tastes in your community.  So look and see if your city or surrounding towns offer them.  The next restaurant week in Connecticut will take place in Stratford during the week of April 22-28.

Best Banh Mi

Kien Oriental Market
1801 Park St. Hartford, CT 06106

Growing up in Bridgeport, a very diverse city, there are a plethora of restaurants serving different ethnic foods.  One of those foods is the banh mi.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, banh mi is a French-influenced Vietnamese sandwich.  It usually is smeared with homemade pate and a homemade mayonnaise concoction or garlic butter.  It also comes with some sort of meat and veggies (cucumber, cilantro, and pickled daikon radish and carrots), and slivers of chili peppers if you want your sandwich spicy.  I grew up eating this, getting it from Mimi’s, a bodega-style store.  It was the tastiest sandwich and cheap for only $3.00.  I was so upset when the store closed because there wasn’t any Vietnamese restaurant whose sandwich compared to theirs until my best friend had mentioned there was a place in Hartford.  It’s called Kien Oriental Market.  When you first enter, it looks like a little supermarket with several aisles selling Asian products.  If you walk to the back of the store, you’ll see a kitchen and eating area.  They sell other Vietnamese dishes, but their sandwiches are the best and they are inexpensive.

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I always get the #1 Vietnamese style cold cuts and the #2 which has grilled beef.  For both sandwiches, the baguettes are toasted, although that is optional.  The meats are flavorful, coupled by the tanginess of the pickled daikon radishes and carrots, and a kick if you get the chili peppers.  If I am in the area for a workshop or my parents want to stop at A Dong, the Asian Supermarket, I always make sure I stop at Kien to pick up sandwiches.

 

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