When chef and artist Stelios Koutouvides and his wife, Niki, founded the Stonewell Restaurant, they did so with help from family. Over the years, their restaurant has been staffed by sons, Ari, Daki, and Niko; Niki’s sisters Starno and Loukia; and a revolving cast of nieces, nephews, and other extended family members. The Stonewell even keeps the decor in the family—Stelios’s original paintings of local landscapes decorate the three dining rooms, adding a personal touch that, unlike papering the walls with old diary entries, is pleasant to behold. Complementing these paintings are photographs of old stone wells, which hang from exposed brick walls, potted plants, a white fence, and the crackling fireplaces that warm each dining room.
Behind the scenes, Stelios and his team massage Mediterranean seasonings into USDA-certified Angus beef, sea scallops, and coastal fish. They toss traditional sauces and feta cheese with pasta, and grill lamb chops. Servers pair these dishes with beer and more than 40 wines, relaxing guests during dinner, private functions, and karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights.
"Now listen up," insists Connecticut Magazine. "Matthew?s tableside Caesar salad has to be the best in the state, if not the country." It's hard to argue with that claim. Starting with torn hearts of romaine lettuce, the salad is made right next to your table, which gives you the chance to catch the distinct aromas of garlic croutons and parmesan cheese before each is thrown into the mix.
Executive Chef Greg Marcuson's culinary talents, of course, extend beyond salad. In fact, they're visible throughout Matthew's menu, in the Berkshire lamb shanks he braises for eight hours and in the cheddar grits he pairs with jumbo shrimp tossed in a barbecue dry rub.
But even the food can't claim sole responsibility for Matthew's popularity. Credit is also due to the restaurant's idyllic location, which includes a spacious outdoor patio with a stunning view of the Farmington River and its kindly fish god.
Named the second-best area dance studio by the Hartford Advocate, A Dancer's Palette offers dancers instruction in the art of jazz toes and twinkling hands. Dance classes are offered for budding Baryshnikovs as young as three years old. Beginner and intermediate jazz classes let children harness their Big Apple energy into Broadway-style leaps and turns. Introduce your niece to the graceful world of ballet, or fit your son with tap shoes for a quick ball change and shuffle off to an undisclosed destination in Western New York. A beginner jazz/hip-hop and ballet class is held on Thursdays and will give your little sister's feet a wide sampling of moves. Advanced-level classes for anyone 16 and older are available in varieties such as rhythm tap, ballet, hip-hop, African movement, and more. The accommodating schedule allows classes to be worked in around school, sports, and aquatic self-defense classes. Check out the required dance attire for each class.
The ancient art of dining meets modern ingredients and design at Feng Asian Bistro, where delicate geometric forms adorn both the walls and rice-covered plates. Cozy up in a stone-spangled alcove and dip into Feng’s lunch and dinner offerings to find yellow-tail jalapeño starters ($12), eel-cucumber sushi rolls ($6), and entrees such as miso-glazed Chilean sea bass ($16 lunch, $27 dinner). Enterprising eaters can tackle their fare in the main dining room, the lounge, or the sushi bar.