At iD Brazil Churrascaria & Restaurant, servers arrive at tables with giant skewers bearing perfectly grilled, aromatic meats. It’s called rodizio, a traditional style of serving cuisine at Brazilian restaurants. In this case, you can get your fill of more than a dozen meats, including pork loin, beef ribs, and Brazilian pork sausage. The South American steakhouse also offers a vast buffet, as well as traditional drinks, such as the Caipririnha, a blend of muddled limes, cachaca, and sugar.
Fresco's chefs strive to recreate the flavors of Mexico City using fresh ingredients. Diners can bite into fajitas, pork chops with an orange chili sauce, or opt for an entrée such as chicken marinated in coconut rum and baked inside a coconut shell. Rich, red mole sauce simmers with gulf shrimp, and roasted peppers and onions compliment chorizo sausage that's made on-site. House-made drinks made with fresh ingredients are poured at the bar, mixing margaritas from a tequila bar with over 50 different tequilas to choose from.
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.
Strada's chefs imbue contemporary American fare with Mediterranean influences and inventive takes on classic cuisine. Groups can pore over the menu before they share memories of the first clam they ever wrestled over the eatery's signature seafood-ceviche appetizer, an amalgam of citrus-marinated white fish, shrimp, and calamari. A flurry of almonds settles upon pumpkin ravioli and sage swimming in a brown butter sauce, and the 8-ounce cedar-plank salmon fillet marinates in orange juice, tarragon, and ginger before settling atop its eponymous slice of wood. Unlike a snowman on vacation, panko-crusted chicken camps out in the oven, accompanied by house-made tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella. After polishing off the chef's favorite vanilla flan with caramel sauce, diners can imbibe one of more than 50 martinis or peruse Strada's extensive wine list for a diverse smorgasbord of varietals. Metallic silver wall hangings coast along the eatery's exposed-brick wall, which lies across from a high-backed large booth as pristinely white as a spooked picket fence.
Owner and Sao Paulo native Felipe Franco embraces the culinary traditions of his home country, telling the New Haven Independent in 2012 that "my interest is to show Americans Brazilian food and culture." His menu brims with the country's signature cuisine, including Brazil's peppery national stew of black beans and meat, as well as moqueca—a seafood stew of fish, shrimp, mussels, calamari, or kraken-gone-astray that simmers inside a handmade clay pot. To accompany these entrees, the bartenders deftly mix potent yet refreshing caipirinhas using cachaça, or sugar-cane rum, Brazil's favored spirit.
A 3,000-square-foot pub-style restaurant with a crunchy sports-bar center, Black Bear Saloon lures revelers with its happening atmosphere and anchors them in place with a classic American menu. An extensive appetizer menu primes jaw muscles for a marathon meal with starters such as deep-fried mac 'n' cheese bites with marinara sauce or calamari tricked out with buffalo sauce and crumbled bleu cheese. Whetted appetites move onto belly-filling entrees such as a full rack of ribs—slow-roasted, grilled, and slathered in barbecue sauce—or beer-battered cod with creamy tartar sauce, french fries, and coleslaw. Diners toast to the recently confirmed existence of The Santa Claus: Deluxe DVD Edition with two hefty mugs of domestic brews such as Miller Lite, Budweiser, or Black Bear Ale.