It's always great to hear about new dining options in downtown Hartford, particularly the kind that offer casual, quick, and delicious options. The Kitchen at the Hartford Public Library opened a few months ago, a new extension of the Billings Forge Community Works that includes sister restaurants Firebox and The Kitchen at Billings Forge.
Hartford Public Library is a gorgeous building. Enter the library's vast atrium of lofted ceilings and wall of bright, natural light. The Kitchen is in the corner of the room. After ordering, find a spot at one of the many tables or a hi-top near the glass wall facing Main Street, eat outside on the front patio, or take it to go.
The library Kitchen offers the same delicious food as Billings Forge. The basics are soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch; muffins, bagels, and other pastries for breakfast.
Specials come up every day, including a daily selection of quiches or frittatas ($5). A case of cookies and sweets will tempt you, as will the lavender lemonade.
On the day of this visit, a chorizo quiche called out to us from the chalk board. While the curry chicken sandwich's description joined the chorus (with mango chutney and cranberry walnut bread, $8.50), a day full of meetings made this a very late lunch, and because everything is made fresh daily, most sandwich selections were sold out.
The turkey Caesar sandwich proved to be a fine choice, with peppery asiago and greens on a tasty ciabatta. Being a spice fiend, I requested a blast of sriracha, always a necessary addition.
The chorizo quiche frankly blew away anything I ate that day: spicy sausage, creamy egg and cheese, and a rich buttery pastry crust that couldn't be beat.
At last came a salted chocolate chip cookie as big as your hand, which was sweet and salty, the perfect combination.
The sandwich, quiche, cookie, and bottle of water came in around $17. Much tastier and much more filling than your average chain sandwich eatery.
>>The Kitchen at Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St., Hartford, is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: billingsforgeworks.org and 860-724-2168.