Yolande Lacan grew up surrounded by great French cuisine. Her father, Noel, was a gourmet French chef. As a child, her family lived in an inn that featured a handful of restaurants—one that specialized in old-world French food and another that served sweet and savory crepes. When Lacan found that New Haven lacked an inviting corner bistro with good onion soup, escargot, and steak tartare, she took it upon herself in the fall of 2012 to open Yolande's Bistro and Creperie, which incorporates all of these staples of French cuisine.
Lacan and her cook Stephanie aim to create traditional French cuisine that is “not too fancy or intimidating,” such as frog legs Provençale and duck leg confit. In addition, Lacan folds imported cheeses and salmon into gluten-free buckwheat and oat-flour crepes, and chops champagne bottles open with a saber. Dinner and brunch feature plates that are a touch fancier than the average cafe, while lunch features casual French-inspired fare such as cracked-pepper burgers and bistro beef sandwiches.
Chops Steak & Fish Grill—formerly Chuck's Steakhouse—dishes out fresh catches and premium cuts and chops in a gold-accented dining room. Plates of crisp vegetables from the salad bar temper robust strip steaks, top sirloin, filet mignon, and Delmonico steaks. Risotto, gnocchi, and other pastas embrace vegetables or morsels of lobster and scallops, and chefs' specials treat tablescapes to daily surprises dished out beneath gold picture frames and soft lighting. Chops also hosts special events in the banquet room with aged wood-paneled walls and enough hardwood tables to seat 120 people, exactly the number of people in a standard bridal party.
The menus at Sakimura's two locations change regularly in order to incorporate the freshest seasonal ingredients and the chefs’ newest culinary muses. The Simsbury location is known to intermingle traditional Japanese flavors with contemporary flourishes, with specials taking forms such as foie gras with sweet miso sauce. Both locales’ sushi chefs also invent their own creative rolls, such as a deep-fried Godzilla roll and an Out of Control roll filled with shrimp tempura and topped with seared pepper tuna.
Diners seeking a hot dinner can gather around hibachi grills and watch as chefs sear their choice of shrimp, chicken, scallops, filet mignon, or any number of other gourmet ingredients. The hibachi rooms' smokeless grills and modern yet warm decor combine to create a pleasant dining experience.
The chefs at O'Hana Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar expertly roll dozens of sushi specialties and sizzle meat-centric Japanese entrees atop a hibachi grill. Snag a seat at the bar to watch chefs chop, slice, and wrap the popular Snow Crab Heaven roll, a blend of cream cheese, snow crab, and avocado topped with spicy mayo ($11.95), and other specialty rolls on the menu. Bite into the Hottie Susan’s molten core of spicy tuna, cucumber, and salmon ($12.95), or let daring chopsticks challenge the Dragon ($9.95), a California roll packed with eel and a deep-seated grudge against questing knights. Alternately, chefs can flip fiery portions of steak, chicken, shrimp, or scallops on a traditional Japanese grill to yield four types of hibachi dinners ($12.99–$17.99 each) flanked by onion soup, a house salad, grilled vegetables, and rice. Kid-friendly options, including pint-sized portions of teriyaki chicken ($8.99) and steak ($9.99), keep young mouths busy so they don’t shout out parents’ computer passwords in the middle of dinner.
John Gogas first became a chef in Greece, eventually traveling throughout Europe helping to establish Club Med kitchens. He relocated to the United States in the 1970s, where he opened Jordan's Restaurant and developed a menu focused in Italian cuisine. Entrees include fettuccine debosco with ham, mushrooms, and peas, as well as baked ziti and veal marsala. Groups can share one of six specialty pizzas, such as a clams casino with bacon, garlic, and a choice of sauce. Of course, there are also a few Greek dishes: pitas can be stuffed with pork, beef, chicken, or pages from Aristotle's rejected film scripts.
With four generations of culinary wisdom running in their blood, the Pace family has a pretty good idea of what it takes to run a successful restaurant. Foremost on the list are top-notch ingredients—all meat served at Pace’s Steak House is handpicked in New York City’s famed meatpacking district and aged onsite in aging rooms filled with special lights and fans. After aging, some cuts are marinated for 24 hours. The menu's meatier selections—sizzling rib eye, filet mignon, and porterhouse steaks—are supplemented by oysters on the half shell, fresh seafood steaks, and a wine list, which includes 15 wines by the glass.