Grilling within the walls of a historic firehouse, the culinary artists at Two Steps utilize an assorted palette of fresh ingredients to create an imaginative menu of American cuisine with colorful splashes of Southwestern, Caribbean, and Cajun influences. A pitcher of Coors Light ($12) quells the fires of the sweet and spicy Jamaican jerk chicken ($13.95) served with rice pilaf and fresh vegetables, while the grilled filet mignon ($18.95) provides elegance to an empty stomach like a Victorian armoire in a college dorm room. See the full menu online for more details and prices.
The Mad Hatter Restaurant and Tap Room piles plates with hat-themed burgers and ample entrees of bistro cuisine. The Stetson burger slathers onion rings and cheddar cheese with barbecue sauce ($8.95), whereas the Top Hat burger outfits its 6-ounce patty with layers of candied bacon, cheddar, and veggies ($8.95) before scooting up to a side of hand-cut fries. Guests can launch meals with a trebuchet in the parking lot or opt to order starters such as deep-fried cheese ravioli ($5.95). Bread and a small house salad herald the arrival of every entree, including the pan-seared market-fresh whitefish with mango salsa ($14.95) and the double-stuffed pork chops ($14.95), which stow a blend of bread crumbs, sausage, and herbs in their savory clasp.
In 1983 Nord Brue and Mike Dressell decided that it didn't matter how far Burlington, Vermont was from New York City; no distance was too great to limit their access to New York-style bagels. So they spent 2.5 years apprenticing with a professional bagel baker from the city until they mastered the technique. Once they were comfortable with their skills and had accepted that it doesn't actually hurt the bagel to bite it, they opened their first Bruegger's Bagels, a casual bakery and café. Today, they have more than 300 eateries across the United States and Canada, each hawking freshly baked bagels, cream cheeses, sandwiches, coffee, and desserts.
You know you have a popular menu item when more than 20,000 of it gets ordered every week. At T.K.'s American Cafe, that menu item is its wings. The restaurant's specialty is offered in 52 different sauces, which range from no spice to so hot the devil himself can't stomach it. The wings pair well with the 40 beers on hand and the sports events flickering on 30 HDTVs.
Like high-school students at a science demonstration, patrons at Koo Restaurant gather around a table, oohing and ahhing as flames dance high in the air. But instead of test tubes and beakers, the person behind the table wields knives and spatulas, slicing and flipping meats and veggies over a hibachi grill. Once each morsel has sizzled to a crisp golden brown, chefs divvy them up onto plates, and the guests devour the food that was just cooked right before their eyes.
Hibachi meals—which include filet mignon, scallop, and lobster-tail options—are not the only Japanese fare served within Koo's bold red and gray walls. Regular tables host plates of wok-fried noodles, teriyaki shrimp, sesame-crusted ahi tuna, and sushi rolls. Chefs also whip up smaller, tapas-style plates, so groups can bond by sharing steamed shrimp dumplings or stacking thai spring rolls into a rickety Jenga tower.
Beach Boy and local resident David Marks considers Tavern on 37 his favorite restaurant in Danbury. It's not hard to see why—the eatery imports sun-ripened Italian tomatoes, and chef and owner Adam Moss crafts each pizza with housemade dough. He tops the dough with fresh ingredients such as pepperoni and olives before placing it inside a wood-fired brick oven, which renders the crust crispy, the cheese gooey, and the sun useless.