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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Brunch’

Restaurant Files: Brunch Island Style – at Beach House Sono

April 13, 2018 9 comments

Beach House SONO Decor (6)What do you think of brunch? Yes, that late breakfast which is slowly becoming a lunch. Can this be ultimately the best family meal? It takes place over the weekend. It is not yet late in the day. It is the weekend, so you are (hopefully!) not in a hurry, and you can eat slowly, and talk. Breakfast is just … too early, and dinner… might be too late for the family time? So really, what do you think?

Okay, let’s assume you agree with me (you don’t have to, of course), and you also like the idea of brunch. Then the only questions remaining are when are where. Can’t help you with “when”, but as far as “where” is concerned, I might actually help you. If you happen to be in a close proximity to Norwalk, Connecticut, how about Sunday brunch at the newly opened Beach House Sono?

The “Island Style” to me is ambiance and food. As you walk into the Beach House Sono, located on the North Water street in Norwalk, right across from the entrance to the famous Maritime Aquarium, the maritime-style decor sets you right into a proper mood:

I like starting the brunch with a little cocktail – of course it can be a Mimosa, but at Beach House Sono, you have quite a few options fro chose from. I decide first to try Ring of Fire (house bloody mary mix, jalapeno peppers) – it was not as spicy as I wanted, especially for the cocktail which includes Jalopeno peppers among the ingredients – but it was still a good rendition of Bloody Mary. Coconut Mojito (cream of coconut, captain white rum & malibu, muddled fresh mint and lime, club soda), on another hand, was superb – I’m very particular about my Mojito, and not big on the coconut flavor profile in the drinks, but this cocktail was balanced, refreshing and delicious. The Best Dang Manhattan (bulleit bourbon, cocchi, luxardo brandied cherry) was also a pretty good take on the classic.

Let’s talk about food. We shared quite a few dishes for the starters. First, we had Meat and Cheese Plate (prosciutto, soppressata & capocollo, marinated olives, house select gourmet cheeses) – a very good selection of traditional Italian cured meats and cheeses. Next came Gorilla Bread (cinnamon roll filled with cream cheese, dulce de leche), which I wouldn’t even dare to call a “starter” – that is a whole meal, more looking like an over-stuffed French toast – very tasty, though.

We continued with Deviled Eggs (paprika), which were tasty (deviled eggs is one of my favorite dishes, but proper deviled eggs have roots in Russian cuisine and most of the restaurants in the US are only serving an okay version). Tuna Tartare (avocado, scallion, masago, spicy sesame soy) was good, but unnecessarily spicy to my taste – I would definitely tone it done, the heat was distracting from enjoying the delicate flavor of tuna. Goat Cheese Wonton (mixed with cream cheese, lightly fried, pepper jelly) were excellent, a nice crunch and a perfectly spicy jelly.

As this was not enough food already, from here we moved on to the so-called Plates. Frist, Chicken and Waffles (marinated country-fried chicken, freshly made waffle, habanero jelly, Brookside Farms maple syrup) – excellent, well-marinated chicken, good acidity, good spices. My only tiny gripe would be the habanero jelly which didn’t pack any punch at all. Another Southern classic, Shrimp and Grits (smoked tasso (pork), spring onion, pimento gravy) were excellent, great flavor, texture – just an outstanding dish all around; one more of the Southern classics, Chicken Fried Steak (smoked-paprika pork sausage gravy, breakfast potatoes, sunny side up egg) was delicious. The sausage gravy was so good that it inspired me to make it at home the next night, and everyone really enjoyed it. Great representation of the Southern cooking and three of my most favorite dishes of our brunch experience, right there.

Beach House SONO Chicken and Waffles (19)

Beach House SONO Chicken and Waffles (22) Beach House SONO Shrimp and Grits(22)

Beach House SONO Shrimp and Grits(21)

Beach House SONO Chicken and Waffles (20)
We tried two more dishes from the Plates selection – Lobster Benedict (grit cake, hollandaise, baby greens), probably my least favorite dish from the whole experience – the grit cake was falling apart, and the tiny piece of lobster had no seasoning, so that didn’t work. Organic Salmon BLT (grilled salmon, lettuce and tomatoes, bacon, cilantro jalapeno aioli) was interesting and creative – bacon was adding some good flavor notes.

We were pretty much done here, but still managed to try the dessert – Pistachio and Ricotta Cheesecake – which was simply a riot – melting in your mouth flavor bomb. Great finish to a great meal.

Beach House SONO Pistachio and Ricotta Cheese Cake

Beach House SONO Pistachio and Ricotta Cheese Cake 1

So, what do you think? How does the brunch sound for the next weekend’s plan? Well, as I said, I can’t help you with “when”, but at least I told you “where”. Cheers!

Beach House Sono
19 North Water St
Norwalk CT, 06854
203-956-7171
http://www.beachhousecafe.com/

Restaurant Files: A Bistronomie Experience, or Brunch at Noir Stamford

March 11, 2016 6 comments

No, “Bistronomie” is not defined in Merriam-Webster, not yet anyway, but I expect that you have no problems understanding its meaning – a Gastronomy experience in a Bistro setting, right? It also means that you can eat dessert when you want, but we will talk about it later. Before we continue, I have to give the usual warning – there are lots of food pictures ahead, proceed at your own risk (not sure if “risk” is a right word, but I’m sure you got my point).

Welcome to the recently opened Noir Restaurant in Stamford, Connecticut, which identifies itself as an American Bistronomie. The restaurant looks nice and cozy from the moment you enter, sporting dark quiet decor with interesting paintings on walls – your brain tells you “ha, that looks interesting”, putting you into the right mood, or rather anticipation, for the food to come.

We visited restaurant for Sunday brunch, so what do you typically start your brunch with? Let me rephrase this: when greeted with “what would you like to drink” as you get situated [during brunch], what is the first thing which comes to mind? You might be better than me, but my brain stops at a very pedestrian “mimosa!”. The mimosa was very tasty, but then I actually noticed the cocktail menu – small, but each item on the list looking very intriguing. I had an opportunity to try a number of cocktails and they we all very creative and delicious – and needless to say, visually appealing. I can’t even name a favorite cocktail – well, may be 3 favorites – The Jazzy Latina, The Cabo Mule and The Piscomatico – as I was going from “wow” to “excellent” and back to “wow”.

Our brunch started somewhat traditional with Devilled Eggs (caper aioli, bacon, pimentone) – I love devilled eggs, so I really had to contain myself to behave (meaning: not to move half of the serving dish into my plate), also this was just the beginning of the meal. The dish was very tasty, and as we eat with our eyes first, I can’t help not to commend the presentation.

Our brunch continued – first surprise – with Fresh Fruit with Yogurt. A peculiar side note: few days ago, I read an article suggesting that we eat our fruit all wrong at the end of the meal, which is not right for our digestive system, and instead, we should start our meal with the fresh fruit. I can’t really comment on that, but I can tell you that the fruit was nice, fresh, ripe and tasty.

Next up – Biscuits and Gravy (Homemade buttermilk biscuits, savory sausage gravy). I don’t know even how this works – I don’t have strong cultural connection to the South, where this would be a typical dish – but I love fresh biscuits and savory gravy – this dish was superb. The dish which followed was Pastelon (sweet plantains, seasoned beef, mascarpone cheese), and it even prompted me to do a little research – it appears that “Pastelón is a sweet and salty Puerto Rican version of lasagna or casserole”. I can easily see the similarity with lasagna – the dish had nice layers. I have to also say that it was not overly sweet.

At this point we are in a middle of our meal, and the next up is … remember what I told you before about the Bistronomie? Well, it is not that it is mandatory feature, but yes, we arrived at the dessert in a middle of our meal! First we had Monica’s French Toast (caramelized challah bread, Grand Marnier, browned butter), which was delicious, and it was followed by Banana Foster Griddle Cakes (spiced pancakes, caramelized bananas, praline pecans) which was “please give me a big spoon and everybody leave the room”.

Done with dessert, back to savory! Eggs Benedict, anyone? Isn’t it a classic brunch dish? Yes, I think so. And topped with a little crab? Yes, I know I’m now talking. Crab Eggs Benedict (jumbo lump crab, toast English muffin, hollandaise) – outstanding.

Following an American classic (I always think of Eggs Benedict as a French dish, but it was actually created in the USA) was another Southern specialty – Crispy Chicken and Waffles (home fried crispy chicken, jalapeño maple syrup). I have to tell you that chicken was crispy and tender, and jalapeño maple syrup was simply a stand out. Then we were served Short Rib Hash (slow braised short rib, home fries, fried egg) – isn’t fried egg makes everything look and taste better? I think it does. Overall, this was very tasty dish with one little gripe – the short rib itself was too salty – for sure for my personal taste.

Finishing up on the high note was one last dish, yet another Southern classic – Shrimp and Grits (Cajun Herbed shrimp, creamy grits). While shrimp were perfectly cooked and very tasty, the creamy grits were simply out of this world.

All in all, this was a spectacular meal, and I can’t recommend Noir Bistronomie high enough as location for your next dinner, brunch or simply a place to have a drink at. And before we part, I also would like to thank Chef Francisco Ciciliano who came to speak to us for a few minutes at the end of our food journey.

Chef Francisco Ciciliano Noir Stamford

And of course I have to acknowledge and thank the staff at Noir Stamford for all the wonderful drinks and for taking great care of our group.

So, what do you think about the Bistronomie? Are you going to ask for it now by name? Cheers!

Noir Stamford
225 Summer Street
Stamford CT 06901
Ph: 203.323.2711
https://noirstamford.com/

Hours:
Tuesday thru Thursday 5PM – 10PM
Friday & Saturday 5PM – 11PM
Sunday Brunch 11:30AM – 3PM

Noir Stamford Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato