Category Archives: Restaurants

Main Street Grille

Well, here you are: a lovely day in downtown Niantic, next to the blue vistas of Niantic Bay and Long Island Sound, drinks on the table and fabulous appetizers and delicious meals to come. Not a bad life, here by the beautiful sea.

 

The Main Street Grille in Niantic has added a new water-view from the patio and deck, and a great chef to expand the dining specialties at 252 Main Street. Continuing the legacy of the Constantine family on Main Street—and the owner’s celebrated Frank’s Gourmet Grille—the Main Street Grille offers new gourmet taste-tempters and ever-popular comfort-favorites.. The spacious patio and deck are complete, and in the meantime the Main Street landmark remains a friendly place with fabulous food.

 

The classic sizzling steaks and chops are supplemented with a delectable menu of fresh seafoods and seasonal specials, plus pastas, soups and salads, and sandwiches. Lunch-sized portions of BBQ pulled pork, reubens, grilled portabella mushroom sandwiches go well with sides of fries or coleslaw for a tasty midday repast…and dinner choices include the full-catch Fisherman’s Platter, replete with cod, Stonington scallops, and jumbo shrimp in your choice of servings: batter-dipped, lightly dusted deep fried to a golden brown, or oven-roasted with lemon-herb butter. Beyond tasty!

 

Top-grade steaks abound: bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon is topped with house-made garlic and herb butter, and other oven-roasted specialties are stuffed pork chops, veal scallopini, shepherd’s pie with braised beef tips, and shrimp scampi. Recent imports from Chef Frank’s grille are portabella mushroom torte, grilled mussels, veal Oscar, and picatta, as well new items like our grilled boneless chicken breast, and boneless rib eye steak topped with home garlic and herb butter.

 

So put the Main Street Grille on your list for pleasant and relaxed dining indoors by a cozy table or outside overlooking the water. It’s open seven days a week, serving lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m. Your reservation is welcome at 860.739.5300 or through the website at mainstreetgrille.com. If you haven’t seen us for a while, stop in and prepare for a treat!

 

Main Street Grille in Niantic, 252 Main Street, Niantic, CT. 860 739 5300

Octagon Celebrates South African Wines at U.S. Reunion Dinner

By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle, Out and Travelin’

 

(l-r) Waterford Group CEO Len Wolman chats with Mystic Marriott's Octagon Chef Paul Krawic and South African vintner Ken Forrester at the Mystic Marriot's Octagon Restaurant Wine Dinner Event on June 13

It’s not often that you get the opportunity to enjoy a six-course dinner as we did at the Mystic Marriot on June 13. Created by Executive Chef Paul Krawic the superb fare was accompanied by Chenin Blanc wines introduced by one of South Africa’s best vintners, Ken Forrester.

 

Host and General Manager Farouk Rajab joined Waterford Hotel Group Chairman and CEO Len Wolman in welcoming Ken Forrester of Ken Forrester Wines to the area.  Len and Ken went to school together in South Africa, and this renewal of their friendship was the first visit to Mystic Country by Mr. Forrester and his wife Teresa.

 

A proud supporter of Connecticut farms, top-ranked Chef Paul, who resides in Gales Ferry, featured locally farmed ingredients in his new spring/summer menu.  Selections from the wine dinner included local apples and Cato Farms ‘womanchego’ cheese fondue, Stonington seared scallops with mushroom risotto, grilled swordfish with toasted Israeli cous cous, chicken statler with jicama slaw and potato skins, and a desert sampler plate. The six courses were all beautifully prepared and plated, and served perfectly by the charming and attentive wait staff.

 

Each course was accompanied by one of Ken’s organically certified wines, and the name of the dinner “Chenin Celebration” featured a Petit Chenin Blanc, Reserve Chenin Blanc, and FMC Forrester Meinhert Chenin that each paired with a course.  Red wines included a Pinotage (Pinot Noir/Meritage) and Renegade (Grenache and Sirah), with the luxurious dessert wine “T” Noble Late Harvest concluding the luscious selection. The buzz at this convivial pairing dinner seemed like nothing but raves for each of the wines.

Sara Ryan, Wine Distributor for South African Wines, poses withLen Wolman, Chariman and CEO of the Waterford Hotel Group

 

Ken explained that “We are located near the ocean, and the cool breezes and sunshine contribute to the brightness of the wine.  Our grapes are farmed and harvested by hand, and the soil is tilled by hand as well.”  The Wine and Spirit Board of South Africa has certified Ken Forrester Wines as a vineyard offering sustainability and integrity. Ken continued by proudly stating: “We use no pesticides or herbicides.” www.kenforresterwines.com.  The land on which Ken Forrester Wines now stands has been a vineyard since 1689.

 

Len Wolman announced that the wines are now included in the wine list at the Octagon Restaurant in the Mystic Marriott. www.octagonsteakhouse.com

 

As the gala evening ended with dessert and coffee, Sara Ryan, representing Ken’s U.S. distributer, told us that the wines served at the Chenin Celebration will be available locally at the Cask N’ Keg in Mystic – two of them for less than $12 per bottle!

Len and Ken really know how to host a dinner party, with the best food, wines, service and clubby ambience at the AAA 4-Diamond Octagon at the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa.  We highly recommend it!

Restaurant: Universal Food Store – Noank

Universal Food Store of Noank serves Southeastern CT and Western Rhode Island since 1947. Proprietor, Frank Quaratella, Jr. said “We specialize in Premium Gold Certified Angus Beef, especially prime ribs, crown roasts of pork, veal sliced to perfection and other premium meats. We have Bell & Evans Chickens and free-range turkeys by Gozzi Farm, Guilford, for the holidays. A full line of groceries is available, including fresh produce daily. Our authentic Italian pizza is baked fresh, and we prepare grinders, calzones, strombolis and party platters to order. Our choice, freshly cut, hanging meats include everything that you would like to serve your family and friends and we will cut, bone it and season it, so that it is oven-ready for you. It’s really like an old-fashioned Italian market.”

Restaurants: MGM Grand at Foxwoods

MGM Grand at Foxwoods offers everything from restaurants by celebrity chefs to theme dining pavilions, catapulting the destination to the forefront of the region’s culinary scene. From tantalizing Italian cuisine to gourmet-on-the-go, every appetite is satisfied within these enticing new venues.

At Alta Strada acclaimed Chef Michael Schlow oversees the kitchen at the 225-seat restaurant that blends traditional Italian flair with modern elegance featuring favorites such as Homemade Ricotta with Sage, Hot Pepper and Crostini, and Chittara with Spicy Lobster and Fresh Peas and Grilled Lamb Chops with Asparagus.

Famous for celebrating the flavors of seasonal ingredients sourced from small family farms and artisanal producers, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s 150-seat Craftsteak features an extensive array of steaks, including several cuts of Wagyu beef, and an assortment of corn- and grass-fed beef. Complementing the menu is a wide selection of fish and shellfish, and seasonal side dishes.

From its state-of-the-art and energetic sound to its authentic Asian design and décor, Shrine’s menu presents a modern interpretation of Asian cuisine with a predominately Chinese feel, while also incorporating Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Cambodian and Thai flavors and spices into the mix. With two private dining rooms accommodating 20 and 40 people, a 12-person kitchen and sushi counter and a 225-seat dining room, Shrine has no trouble satisfying any appetite.

Guests looking for a more casual meal with enjoy The Gelato Café, Junior’s Restaurant and The Food Market. The Gelato Café tempts guests with more than 20 flavors of tantalizing Italian ice cream in addition to Italian drinks, pastries, specialty sandwiches and salads.

Junior’s Restaurant, famous for its legendary cheesecake, accommodates guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A full bar, take-out counter and bakery are also available.

The Food Market offers an exciting culinary journey through six distinct dining experiences including hand-tossed wood oven pizza, classic New York-style deli specialties, an American burger bar, Asian fare and scrumptious New England favorites from the Durgin Park Oyster & Chowder Bar.

Restaurant: Oh Boy! Diner

Americans always had a love affair with diners. Since the late 1800’s these railroad-car-shaped restaurants served the workingman quick and tasty meals. The growth of suburbs and fast food in the 1950’s threatened the diner’s existence, but the need for a hot meal and homespun charm never ended.

Fast forward to the 21st century on Gold Star Highway (Rt. 184 across from Wal-Mart and Hilton Garden Inn) in Groton, where area diners can enjoy a taste of nostalgia and the great tasting food of the Oh Boy! Diner.

The large menu is stocked with classic diner fare, from a full turkey dinner to pot roast, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, pork chops, and more.

Along with classic dinners, the menu has a large variety of salads, soups, deli and club sandwiches, burgers, fabulous desserts and more. If you don’t see something on the voluminous menu, look again. And you can’t leave without tasting the homemade potato chips. Beer and wine are served to accompany your dinner from noon until 10 pm.

But it is not the food alone that brings people back to the Oh Boy! Diner. Much thought went into the design. Tables are spaced adequately for a restaurant of its size. A mirrored tile ceiling reflects the cool retro blue and orange vinyl seats and stainless steel trimmed Formica tabletops. Brightly colored lighting and wall posters add to the enjoyment.

For late sleepers, breakfast is served all day. And what a breakfast it is. Items range from the standard two eggs with the usual bacon, to specials to suit every taste, a variety of pancakes, waffles, and French toast, and a build-your-own omelette. Senior discounts are available everyday and they offer a 15% early bird discount from 4 -6pm!

Oh Boy! Diner also has curbside pick up. Simply call ahead (860.448.1000), place your order, and then park in one of the special parking spaces where an Oh Boy! server will deliver food to you in your car.

So, for a wonderful meal in a nostalgic setting, visit the Oh Boy! Diner at 143 Gold Star Highway (Rt. 184) in Groton.

Restaurant: Kensington’s

If you’re in the mood for total relaxation and some wonderful food, Yankee Magazine has a great recommendation for you. It named The Spa at Norwich Inn as the Best Destination Spa in New England. New England Travel & Life agrees; it named The Spa at Norwich Inn “Best Resort in Connecticut” in its 2006 issue. Many local residents visit The Spa at Norwich Inn to enjoy its world class spa treatments, to shop at the sophisticated Boutique or to attend a wedding, but they believe the property’s award-winning restaurant, Kensington’s, is reserved only for overnight guests.

Nothing is further from the truth. Executive Chef Daniel Chong-Jimenez is always delighted when he finds local people when he leaves the kitchen to chat tableside with dinner guests.

Kensington’s features sophisticated cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. While all of the food is healthfully prepared and beautifully presented, the menu offers a wide range of choices. The cliché of spa food as a boiled carrot and a plain white filet of fish is nowhere to be found at Kensington’s. If you want a fine red wine (Kensington’s wine cellar won awards from Wine Spectator magazine), a great steak and a decadent chocolate dessert, you can find them at Kensington’s.

Chong-Jimenez, a native Californian who worked at two famous West Coast spas before coming to Norwich, was a guest on Connecticut Public Radio’s Food Schmooze program with Faith Middleton and has been praised by Connecticut Magazine’s restaurant critic, Elise Maclay. What better re-commendations in the Nutmeg State?

For additional information or to make online reservations, visit www.thespaatnorwichinn.com or call 860-425-3630.

Restaurant: Octagon

Octagon is jumping right into summer with exciting new menus. Begin to experience the Art of Steak with a selection of our starters, including Peppered Kobe Beef Carpaccio with a spicy Arugula Salad or Crab & Asparagus Salad with Bitter Greens and Basil Vinaigrette or Truffled Mussels & Clams with Corn Madeleines or select your own starter plate with blackened Tuna Sashimi, or Scallop Ceviche or our daily raw bar including Oysters, Clams, Mussels & Shrimp. Continue your gastronomic journey with one of Octagon’s feature plates: Bella Bella Farms Organic Roast Chicken, Bamboo salted Tasmanian Salmon, Jumbo Grilled Prawns, or Steamed Striped Wild Bass with Hon Shiminji and Enoki Mushrooms in a Lemongrass Broth. Our current handcrafted Steaks include an 8oz certified Black Angus Tenderloin, a 16oz Brandt Farms All Natural Delmonico Rib-eye, a 14oz Snake River Farms Kobe Sirloin, a 22oz certified Black Angus Kansas City Bone-in Strip and of course, Octagon’s Signature 24oz Chili-rubbed Bone-in Rib Eye. All prepared for you with a choice of nine complimentary rubs and sauces.

Octagon is located at 625 North Road in Groton. For more information, visit www.waterfordgrouprestaurants.com or call 860.326.0360.

Restaurant: Foxwoods Resort Casino

Foxwoods Resort Casino offers an impressive array of eateries giving guests a wealth of dining choices to suit every appetite, budget and occasion. The resort has more than 30 food and beverage venues to choose from with more on the way.

Guests in the mood for a celebratory meal will find inspired dining choices at any of Foxwoods gourmet restaurants including Paragon, Al Dente, and Cedars Steakhouse.

Opportunities for a casual meal are as endless as they are memorable, from an ever-popular buffet to regional American and international specialties and plenty of familiar national names.

New to the Foxwoods Resort Casino casual dining scene is the recently opened, 2,700-square-foot Burke in the Box, by celebrated chef David Burke. Burke in the Box offers gourmet food to-go or to eat-in. Located on the casino level, the high-end fast casual restaurant is modeled after the flagship Burke in the Box in Manhattan.