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.
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 culinary wunderkinds at Matthew’s Restaurant usher upscale fare into diners' mouths, crafted from hand-selected fresh fish and fine cuts of meat. Sweet corn and spicy crab bisque ($7) limber tongues for a dinner of New England butter-poached lobster ($32) or beef wellington ($30), complete with a caesar salad prepared tableside as the ghost of Julius Caesar invisibly nods his approval ($8/person, minimum two diners). Nosh on small plates of fried calamari ($11) and fresh jumbo-lump crab cakes ($13) from the pub menu, or lunch on sandwich selections including the classic Reuben ($11) and the oyster po boy ($13). Classic brunch fare, served Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., includes eggs benedict ($12.95) and a crusty cadre of scones, muffins, breads, and assorted jams.
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.