Hello, Long Island! It's good to be back! It feels as though I haven't blogged in forever. Got a few nice area restaurants... but first, a few from the city of Hartford (whose fault it was I've been away in the first place, as Jay and I had professional obligations there.)
PolytechnicON20--- words cannot adequately recreate the experience. Just know that sitting in a luxurious, calm dining room situated on the 20th floor of a building overlooking the Connecticut River and staffed by folks whose service is second to Charlie Trotter's old crew while eating brilliantly executed cuisine ironically lacking a deserving Michelin star (but at half the cost of anywhere else) is possible, in Hartford. Yes, it left me that flabbergasted: ON20 deserved a proper run-on sentence. I ordered the 'Consomme' (chicken & dumpling, parisiene of carrots & parsnip celery leaf, winter herb oil), 'Green Salad' (tuscan kale, petite basque cheese, compressed apples, candied walnuts) and 'Salmon' (soft poached & smoked filet, salsify puree, root vegetable tajarin crispy fried leeks and nori, pernod cream sauce)--- all perfection. DH ordered the 'Agnolotti' (maytag blue cheese, grilled belgian endive agro dolce, arugula amaretti cookie, 25 year old balsamic) as an appetizer. As an entree, he had wanted the 'Venison' (roast sirloin, red wine sausage, cipollini onion tartelette, thumbelina carrots, game jus) which they were sadly out of, but ON20 rose to the occasion replacing it with filet mignon and even more effusive service and extras. The wine pairings reccomended to us was spot on (not just the most expensive on the menu.) Dessert was an adventure in and of itself. Bravi, Mike, Chef and all!
For a quick smart cocktail after work, Crush is a cozy yet spacious place with a New York vibe. Their rotating "martini" menu (I had to put martini in parantheses for the sake of marital bliss since according to Jay Cardinal, vodka martinis are not real martinis) included a spring-like cucumber drink that was refreshing and not overtly sweet. For a girly martini, the Pineapple Upside Down cake was spot on. They had a handsome selection of hard liquor and cordials.
Frog Hollow's Firebox instantly struck me as one of the most beautiful restaurants I'd ever been in. The composition of building materials, furniture, lighting and art were stunning yet unfussy. Billed as "Farm to Table", the what stood out the most to me was the gorgeous plating, which ranged from abstract, contemporary shapes to Americana (ball jars, anyone?), as well as effective incorporation of pickling. We adored the 'Grilled Asparagus' (english pea coulis, shaved radishes, pickled cabbage, pea tendrils, sunny side up farm egg, piment d'espelette). The 'Daily Charcuterie Plate' (pork terrine, salmon pastrami, chicken liver mousse, seasonal garnishes) was excellent, but needed more toasts to enjoy with the chicken liver. The half-dozen Naragansett oysters we partook of were divine. Can't recall DH's entree, but I loved the 'Stonington Sea Scallops (duck bacon--- yes, there is such a thing, melted leeks, asparagus, onion jus, lemon preserves, gremolata, pickled french breakfast radish, pea tendrils). For desert, the 'Smore's' and a special mousse (blood orange, pistachio and meyer lemon, I believe) were the perfect conclusion, but since the waitress deemed our plates slow in coming, she comp'ed us on desert.