Despite having cooked for distinguished clients such as the Clintons and Leon Panetta, and at prestigious culinary institutions such as Chicago's Palmer House, chef Jason Milanese felt restless. That is, until he opened his own restaurant: Bistro B. As the owner and executive chef, he specializes in crafting gourmet twists on classic American dishes, from small plates like sauce-drizzled chicken lollipops to entrees such as potato-and-onion-crusted halibut and a double-cut pork chop with sweet potato purée. A minimal, yet rustic decor featuring earth tones, framed mirrors, and dark-wood furnishings contributes to the restaurant's grassroots American feel.
At Vino on the Brick Walk, sapphire walls cast a nautical vibe across booths and white-clothed tables. There, dishes of Italian, Mediterranean, and seafood specialties pair with drinks from an extensive wine list. The blue hues that surround meals inside also follow diners out onto an outdoor patio, splashing across umbrellas that unfurl to shade tables or conveniently fold down to become giant toothpicks. Brick groundwork also accompanies patio visits, as do plants and flowerpots that combine to create a leafy framework.:m]]
Ballou’s Wine Bar revolves around three prized delicacies: chocolate, wine, and coffee. From those staples, dozens of indulgent dishes ensue, including chocolate, Nutella, and peanut-butter-chocolate fondues and homemade truffles developed by Debbie, half of the husband-and-wife team that runs Ballou’s. Her chocolate fondue and homemade truffles are so deliciously decadent that they’ve earned the wine bar a spot on the Best of New Haven Reader’s Poll list for best desserts. In addition to rich desserts and froth-capped cups of cappuccino, guests can order wines from local and international vineyards, as well as a wide selection of pastas, sandwiches, and flat breads.
Named for a small archipelago off the Branford coast, Thimble Island Brewing Company began with the home-brewed concoctions of Connecticut Natives Justin Gargano and Mike Fawcett. Though they lacked formal training, the duo tirelessly spent nights and weekends tinkering with their recipes until they sold their first pint of American Ale to KC's Pub in Guilford. Today, American Ale is one of the brewery's three mainstay beers, which Justin and Mike craft along with specialty batches such as a dark pumpkin porter. The twosome keeps four beers on tap at Thimble Island's tasting room, where visitors can drop in to fill up a growler, buy a t-shirt, or take a tour. Outside the brewery, Justin and Mike's beers grace many local establishments, including pubs and grocery stores.
Cars whizzing down the North Wading River road could easily miss Michael Anthony's Food Bar, a handsome restaurant nestled amid leafy trees and residential homes at the threshold of wine country. The lucky patrons who do find the eatery, however, are rewarded with the dazzling site of pristine white tablecloths set with sapphire glasses, colorful hot-air balloons dangling from lofty white rafters, and bright walls speckled with vivid decor. Diners can then take a seat upon one of the soft cushions to nibble on oysters and toast their great discovery with a glass of fine wine.
Meanwhile, in the restaurant's kitchen, Chef Michael Anthony is hard at work folding fresh seafood, premium meats, and imaginative sauces into a variety of small plates, pastas, and seasonal specialties such as the pumpkin chicken with balsamic-rosemary butter or the duck breast with apricot-apple chutney. Michael has spent the last 25 years perfecting his signature "New American Cuisine" recipes, favoring inventive ingredients such as toasted-sage olive oil.