Northern Berkshire peaks peek through the windows of Taylor's, where surf and turf unite in a lamp-lit, exposed-brick dining room. An army of appetizers kicks off the menu, including the baked brie, which is infused with grapes and sprinkled with brown sugar, walnuts, and apples ($8). A fresh garden salad and your choice of potato or vegetable sidekick every entree, serving as a momentary plate mate for hearty dishes such as the filet mignon ($24) and its aquatic, redundant counterpart, grilled mahi-mahi ($21). The ratatouille with tofu forgoes filets for a mix of stewed eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes that are fresher than haircuts of the eighties ($16).
Named Valley Advocate’s Best Steakhouse for five years in a row, Opa Opa Steakhouse and Brewery grills an array of steak cuts—ranging from sirloin tips to prime rib—to a juicy and house-recommended medium rare. Beyond its steaks, the eatery’s grub follows the same Southwestern theme as its dining room’s decorative touches, which includes a wagon wheels and a cattle skull. The kitchen’s carefully roasted baby-back ribs, barbecued chicken, and pulled pork complements homestyle favorites such as meatloaf, lasagna, and fish and chips. All of the hearty entrees pair with sides that run the gamut from fries to cowboy beans. An array of beers, encompassing award-winning pours such as Red Rock Amber Ale and King Oak Milk Stout, wash meals down more effectively than a good, long yawn in front of water slide. Opa Opa Steakhouse and Brewery also caters events on-site or at the customer's choice of location.
The grill masters at Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse stay true to their culinary roots with a distinctly South American cooking tradition, which begins with hormone-free meat from cows that were fed a vegetable-only diet and raised on pastures instead of in cages. Manning a cast-iron grill stoked by locally sourced hardwoods, the expert chefs fire-kiss select cuts of beef to smoky perfection, infusing filet mignons, skirt steaks, and short ribs with rustic flavors that pair harmoniously with the restaurant’s robust selection of Argentinean red wines.
Although Caminito’s wood-fired steaks have earned it the Valley Advocate’s award for Best Steak House from 2010 through 2013, the menu proves that the restaurant does not live and die by expertly charred beef. Lobster-filled ravioli, pan-seared salmon, and seasoned chicken breasts showcase the kitchen team’s culinary repertoire, in addition to vegetarian entrees that aren't just snapshots of steak printed on soy paper. Refreshing sips of ale from Peak Organic Brewing Company complement hearty bites, and spoonfuls of flan and mousse bring meals to their bittersweet conclusion. On weekends, the acoustic strumming of guitarist Alvaro Olvera Sanchez nourishes famished ears with flamenco notes and classic Spanish songs.
CW's American menu—which features locally sourced seafood and thick-cut steaks—combines the comforting nostalgia of classic Americana with contemporary cooking techniques. Their modern methods include rubbing each cut of meat with a proprietary blend of spices before broiling them at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit to seal in juices. When possible, the chefs source their seasonally changing ingredients from local businesses to encourage the local economy and give their wheelbarrow driver a break. In addition to the contemporary fare, Friday and Saturday evenings bring merriment and dancing as the restaurant showcases live jazz and prerecorded FDR fireside chats.
Within Hana Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar, groups can watch hibachi chefs add dollops of teriyaki sauce to chicken and veggies on the grill in front of them. As flames rise over the tableside grill, the air fills with meaty aromas and applause from diners watching chefs’ virtuoso performances. Dishes include crispy duck with chili sauce, traditional udon noodles, and 11 house-specialty rolls filled with eel, lobster, and other ingredients sourced from the ocean's teriyaki-filled depths.
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.
Anna Arace pays meticulous attention to detail. As the owner of Trattoria Il Vesuvio, she transformed a former art studio housed inside a red barn-style building into an airy restaurant with exposed beams and cathedral ceilings. Whether she's in the kitchen mixing fresh seafood with tomato sauce, pinot grigio, and garlic to create the Frutti di Mare—one of her trademark Campania dishes—or travelling to New York for fresh red peppers to jar through the winter, her attention to detail works to ensure that every dish served is fresh and authentic. Along with Campania-influenced dishes, Arace also creates northern Italian classics such as the Lasagna di Verdura to pair with a selection of Italian wines. Popular appetizers include the lightly breaded fried calamari and the melenzane alla griglia, grilled eggplant that's been marinated for up to three days and forced to reflect on its mistakes.