Executive chef and owner Matthew Guiffrida infuses contemporary fare with an innovative spirit in Muse Restaurant & Aquatic Lounge’s menu, which has been lauded in the New York Times. Not Ya Mama’s meatballs ($12) dress up the savory spheres in four varieties: Asian-style with sweet-and-spicy chili sauce, Italian-style with pomodoro sauce and shaved parmesan, a Thanksgiving-inspired treatment with a cranberry and caramelized-vidalia-onion compote, and standard swedish. Upscale couch potatoes can surround themselves with elegance without sneaking into a king's blanket fort as they feast on The T.V. Dinner, which consists of milk-fed-veal meat loaf with grilled portobellos and homemade ketchup glaze ($26). The Breakfast 4 Supper cloaks black-pepper-and-parmesan french toast with chipotle-maple syrup, served alongside sweet-potato corned-beef hash, a poached egg, and béarnaise sauce ($24). Simply Grilled entrees give new york strip or Atlantic salmon a more minimalist treatment and an entourage of garlic-infused whipped potatoes and grilled asparagus ($29).
There's always something going on at Village Idiot Pub, where drink specials abound and live music takes the stage each weekend. A menu of pub grub tempts diners with starters such as lobster wontons and mac 'n' cheese wedges, along with beefy burgers topped with bacon and jalapeños. For finger-licking eats, the pub also prepares chicken wings in 11 sauces, from trademark buffalo to the super-spicy atomic.
Recently named the state’s best family dining restaurant by Connecticut Managzine, Chips’ Pub III fills the bellies of its guests with steaks, seafood, and other homestyle dishes. An impressive list of 15 hand-pressed burgers, each char-broiled over an open hearth, dominates the menu, which also features Chips’ specialties such as the Primo prime rib with housemade horseradish, and platters of scallops, shrimp, and calamari.
Pool players of all ages and skill levels can find all the right angles at VIP Billiards’ 20 pool tables seven days a week. When not sinking shots into the spot’s 120 pockets, cue hands keep busy with bottles of beer or a cocktail from the full-service bar, and all patrons can pass the time between games by throwing darts, sending ping-pong balls careening across tables, or using the WiFi to look up pro tips for applying chalk. VIP Billiards also opens up its space and all the attendant green felt surfaces for private parties, fundraisers, and APA league teams.
O’Reilly’s flame-wielders dish up an eclectic menu of traditional Irish-pub fare amid fetching period décor and games fit for the whole family. Imbue taste buds with the savory flavors of a twice-baked shrimp potato ($7.48) before unbridling a gallant fleet of forks upon a legion of irish-sausage links straddled with mashed potatoes and sautéed onions ($14.98). Or invoke the Earl of Sandwich without donning a fluffernutter-encrusted crown by perusing O’Reilly’s selection of handheld eats, which includes the succulent short-rib grilled-cheese sandwich slathered in horseradish sauce ($10.48) and the Bookmaker—a robust layering of filet mignon, sautéed onions, and mushrooms ($13.48). Homemade by O’Reilly’s crack chefs, the strawberry-rhubarb cobbler robes itself with regal dollops of whipped and sweetened Jameson butter ($4.98).
The flames at Prime American Grille have escaped the kitchen. Not only do they live inside the sizzling-hot grill, they also exist atop flickering candles and inside the dining room's roaring fireplace. Flame-kissed rib-eye and new york strip steaks arrive at tables coated in house-made peppercorn, gorgonzola, or mushroom-and-onion sauces. Chefs also bolster their menu with ocean-fresh seafood, pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Bottles of wine litter a massive rack inside the restaurant's dining room, which boasts a warm color palette, dark woods, and strategically placed mirrors that make the space feel airy and light, like a helium balloon filled with tossed salad. On the weekends, Prime American Grille pulses with live music from DJs and bands, and each night, diners can sit at the full bar to watch sports on seven flat-screen televisions.