Pastry traditionalists may question the cannoli nacho. But consider this: the triangular pastry shells can be dunked into an edible chocolate bowl of sweet-cream filling, forever circumventing the soggy fate that so often befalls cannoli shells. This deconstructed cannoli is just one of DiMare Pastry Shop’s many inventive spins on traditional Italian desserts.
Founded in 1976 by Italian-born Ugo DiMare, the pastry shop is now helmed by his two daughters, who have updated the menu with award-winning European and American creations. In addition to scratch-made pastries, the confectioners frost nearly 30 kinds of cakes, ideal for special events such as weddings, company picnics, and Take Your Cake to Work Day.
Chef Kausik Roy didn't invent his signature dish after attending culinary school, nor did he do it while he was working at some of the best restaurants in India. In fact, he was only a 9-year-old boy in Mumbai when he took one look at a plate of slimy okra and told his family he refused to eat it until it was crunchy and spicy. Someone took pity on him, sprinkled the okra in green chili, and deep-fried it. To everyone's surprise, they all loved it, and this dish, karrarri bhindi, has been a mainstay of Roy's kitchens.
At his newest restaurant, Tawa Indian Cuisine, there are two distinct dining areas: the more laid-back downstairs, where guests dig into plates of finger food and can get away with wearing mismatched socks, and the fancier, intimate space upstairs, where guests enjoy Indian fusion favorites. These include shrimp, calamari, scallops, and basmati rice flecked with saffron—the Indian version of paella—and coconut-and-pepper shrimp served with a chutney mayo.
The Sundance Café & Wine Bar's kitchen teems with daily deliveries of crisp, fresh vegetables and natural meat ready for soaking in house marinades. Alongside cups of coffee sourced from around the globe, these ingredients create hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners of wraps, parfaits, and fondue. A vast salad bar plates custom greens alongside Spirit of Connecticut paninis, named after neighboring towns such as Milford, New Canaan, and Metropolis. Patrons relax in chairs emblazoned with the café's coffee cup logo as they dip bread and fruit into chocolate and cheese fondue and enjoy sips of fruity wine smoothies. Sundance also caters special breakfast and lunchtime meals, and hosts events such as live music and poetry readings beneath soft spotlights.
The New York Times praised Tengda's Milford location—one of eight in a small regional chain—as "perfect for young-at-heart couples and groups," with a high-energy atmosphere bubbling around cuisine it called "very good." The chefs draw gustatory inspiration from China, Japan, and Thailand as they create their expansive menus of Pan-Asian fare, which include fiery stir-fries, grilled meats, and sushi and provide reading material for shy diners throughout a full meal. Moody red and yellow lights dapple sleek black tables and booths, and might occasionally catch knife-flipping and drink-slinging theatrics behind the sushi and cocktail bars.
The chefs at Kujaku Japanese Restaurant flip filet mignon and scallops on a hibachi grill, deep-fry tempura-battered shrimp, and craft specialty sushi rolls with ingredients such as lump crabmeat, mango, and avocado. Diners can wash down bites with Japanese sodas, beer, or wine, or order a cocktail from the fully stocked bar.
The contemporary wood-paneled elegance of Butterfield 8's U-shaped leather booths and lamp-lit dining room complements the menu of urban American gastropub fare. Quash your hunger with the chipotle brisket nachos, bulging beneath the tasteful weight of pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, and chipotle pulled chicken ($12). Buttery mashed potatoes and crispy onions adorn the sauce-drizzled peppercorn skirt steak ($20), and the memphis pulled-pork sliders ($12) satiate mouths with bite-size morsels of flavor. Spread out in the spacious booths and imbibe the alchemical concoctions of specialty cocktails ($10) such as a dirty bleu martini, an ocean of Belvedere vodka bobbing with buoys of blue-cheese-stuffed olives, a drink as elegant as a chandelier in fur coat. Finish the feast with the chocolate-chip-cookie-dough smash, an iron skillet filled with half-baked cookie oozing beneath ice cream and chocolate sauce ($8).