Though Cactus Rose Restaurant & Tequila Bar is only a teenager in dog years, owners Maria and Katerina Pertesis are no strangers to the restaurant business with more than 40 years experience. The upscale eatery’s cuisine is best summed up as contemporary Southwestern, thanks to Executive Chef Norberto Lucero’s skillful incorporation of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwestern flavors.
A Mexican native, Lucero has fun with his food. One peek at the menu reveals the usual aspects of Latin cuisine: fish tacos, paella dotted with prawns, little-neck clams, mussels, and black-iron skillet fajitas—sizzling with caramelized onions and bell peppers. Yet, for every expected entree, Lucero offers a surprise in the form of baby back ribs in an orange barbecue glaze, skirt steak with an orange chipotle mojo, and tequila chicken—a free-range, chicken stuffed with chorizo and manchego cheese. Like the chicken, all of Lucero’s meats are quality; he serves only wild-caught organic seafood, grass-fed beef, and free-range chicken.
While the menu impresses, it’s only half of Cactus Rose’s appeal. The tequila bar is also a contender, as it’s stocked with 50 varieties of tequila, and bartenders dispense freshly concocted margaritas mulled from fresh squeezed lime juice and fruits. Cactus Rose delivers an inviting atmosphere with rustic wood furnishings and cowhide chairs surrounded by red, orange, and a yellow hand-carved stained-glass mosaic. A warm large outdoor fireplace on the patio keeps patrons toasty during the winter months, and an outdoor patio—bumping with live music—convinces them to temporarily forget their fear of birds’ nests and dine al fresco during the summer.
Chicken entrees at Mumbai Times traverse both familiar and foreign territory. There's the ubiquitous chicken tikka masala, but also chicken chutneywala, prepped with curried mango and mint, and chicken makmura, a traditional Calcutta Jewish dish with almonds and raisins. Yet, the chefs ensure that the chicken's origins are far from unknown?any chicken dish can be made with free-range, on-the-bone poultry for a small fee.
In fact, free-range chicken grilled in the tandoori oven is a chef's specialty. It's but one of many dishes on a menu that spans India's northern and southern regions. To complement mainstays of vindaloo and rogan josh, the list boasts zesty kebabs and exotic sauces, such as the coconut tamarind variant found in the goan fish curry. An expansive vegetarian segment features bindi masala sasuralwali, or, as the accompanying text puts it, "okra you would eat at your in-laws' house."
For those who'd rather scope out their food in advance, a weekday lunch or weekend brunch buffet that takes place beyond the restaurant's mosaic archways hosts a sprawl of platters. The lunch buffet includes a glass of wine, whereas the brunch buffet comes with champagne, a better fizzy morning drink than seltzer coffee.
Moffly Media's regional publications propagate an array of entertaining and informational content to keep residents of Fairfield County in touch with the best their communities have to offer. Each locally oriented magazine gives subscribers a paginated peek at the most notable people and events in their areas, helping them lay claim to the title of Most Informed Person in their respective bridge groups, chess clubs, or local chapters of the Domino Preservation League.
The Olive Market’s café and tapas menus delight diners with recipes imported from the southern hemisphere's resident America. Banish hunger pangs to Bogotá by embracing the chivito, a traditional Uruguayan sandwich, in which slices of focaccia close in on chicken or steak, a fried egg, ham, bacon, and provolone ($12). The Rabbit panini al horno paints tongues in shades of grilled eggplant, asparagus, peppers, onions, and fresh mozzarella, and comes, like all struggling artists, with a side of frites ($10). Tapas courses ($25–$30/person), such as garlic-and-lime shrimp saffron rice, grilled orange-and-rosemary lamb chops, and sweet churros with dulce de leche, arrive on plates ready to pose for still-life painters. A three-course menu, consisting of an appetizer, a selection of small-plate entrees, and a dessert, sates patrons Thursday through Saturday evenings.