Small Bites: Dining News

Leeanne Griffin

11:54 AM EDT, March 16, 2015


>>After first introducing Sunday brunch as a National Margarita Day special in February, Besito in West Hartford has announced it's here to stay, with a 2-for-1 margarita promotion. Brunch, served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., features entrees of enchiladas huevos y chorizo ($10.95), huevos rancheros ($9.95), chilaquiles roja ($8.95), two eggs any style with chorizo and breakfast potatoes ($9.95) and yogurt with fresh fruit and granola ($7.95.) Margaritas are 2-for-1 from noon to 3 p.m. Besito's regular lunch menu will also be available. 860-233-2500, besitomexican.com.

>>Fleming's in West Hartford offers a three-course filet mignon and lobster dinner through April 19. Courses include a starter of seared scallop over goat cheese polenta, choice of French onion soup or wedge salad, and entrée of an 8 ounce filet and 8 ounce lobster tail with drawn butter. Cost is $44.95. Information and reservations: 860-233-1116, flemingssteakhouse.com.

 >>Max Burger in West Hartford hosts a Relic Brewing dinner March 25 at 6 p.m. with guest speaker Mark Sigman, owner of the Plainville brewery. Courses include fluke and fries, steamed bao bun with foie gras, smoked rack lamb chop, beef cheeks with poblano mole and a selection of cheeses to finish. Cost is $59 plus tax and gratuity. 860-232-3300, maxburgerct.com.

>>The Time Out Sports Bar at the Doubletree Bristol hotel hosts a Martini Madness competition March 26 at 6 p.m. The event, sponsored by Belvedere Vodka, features 16 bartender/mixologist contestants. Guests will vote for their favorite cocktail in real time by cell phone; contestants include representatives from Rooftop 120, Nolita, Wood-n-Tap and Backstage. Tickets are $25 for guests and $10 for designated drivers. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Indian Rock Nature Preservation Center. 860-589-7683, willowsbristol.com.

>>Haight-Brown Vineyards in Litchfield, hosts a Tapas Night March 28 at 6 p.m. Guests will enjoy dinner served as a series of small plates, with two glasses of wine. Cost is $50. 860-567-4045, haightvineyards.com.

 >>Max's Oyster Bar, 964 Farmington Ave., West Hartford continues to offer its $30 three-course winter tasting menu this month. Courses include a choice of curried lentil soup with crispy kale, salad Lyonnaise or crab crostini to start; entree of Faroe Island salmon, lobster ravioli or deconstructed beef stew and creme brulee, sugar-dusted chocolate beignets or housemade cookies for dessert. The tasting menu is available Sunday through Thursday. 860-236-6299, maxsoysterbar.com.

>>Wood-n-Tap's special Irish menu is available throughout March, with baked potato soup, Reuben egg rolls, meatloaf sandwich and dinner, corned beef dinner, shepherd's pie, lamb stew, bangers and mash and Irish cream chocolate cheesecake. woodntap.com.

>>The Mohegan Tribe recently announced it will open the first New England location of Arooga's in Uncasville on March 15, as part of a 15-unit franchise agreement with the Pennsylvania-based restaurant and sports bar chain. The venue, with seating for more than 300 guests in a 9,000-square foot space, will offer 100+ television screens, local sports memorabilia, an all-season dining patio equipped with fire pits and movie theater-style stadium seating, according to the company.

Arooga's menu features wings with 30 signature sauces and rubs; burgers and sandwiches, stromboli and flatbread pizzas, Angus beef franks, fajitas, macaroni and cheese and ribs, with several gluten-free options. The bar's 40 draft lines will spotlight local craft beer selections, and a cocktail list features "fishbowl margaritas," mojitos and sangria. Information: http://www.aroogas.com.

>>New Haven's biannual Restaurant Week promotion returns for its spring edition March 22 to 27, with fixed-price lunch and dinner menus at more than 30 eateries.

Among the participants are 116 Crown, Adriana's Restaurant and Wine Bar, Barcelona Wine Bar, Basta Trattoria, Bentara, Briq, Caffe Bravo, Caseus, Cask Republic, Christopher Martins, Fornarelli's, Goodfellas, Harvest Wine Bar, Heirloom, John Davenport's, L'Orcio, Miya's Sushi, Oaxaca Kitchen, Olea, Pacifico, ROIA, Soul de Cuba, Stone Hearth, Tarry Lodge, Taste of China, Temple Grill, Thali, Tre Scalini, Union League Cafe, Zafra, Zaroka and Zinc. Restaurants will serve $18 prix-fixe lunches, $32 prix-fixe dinners or both. For menus and information, visit infonewhaven.com/restaurantweek.

>>Abigail's Grille & Wine Bar, 4 Hartford Road, Simsbury, hosts a Nuevo Latino wine dinner March 26 at 6 p.m. The menu features grilled faina, corvina ceviche, braised oxtail and carne de brocheta, paired with wines from Ernesto Catena Vineyards. Cost is $75, all inclusive. Information: 860-264-1580, abigailsgrill.com.

>>The Rotary Club of Avon-Canton presents its 2015 Tastes of the Valley fundraiser at Simsbury's Tower Ridge Country Club March 21 at 7 p.m. Participating local restaurants include Dish n' Dat, Evergreens Restaurant, Flatbread Company, La Trattoria and Seasons Restaurant, along with wine, beer and premium spirit tastings. General admission tickets are $50; VIP tickets are $75 and include a separate tasting at 6 p.m. For $50 tickets, call Craig Buhrendorf at 860-676-1261. For $75 VIP tickets, call Chuck Joseph at 860-233-1713 ext. 16. Tickets can also be ordered online through PayPal at rotaryclubofavon-canton.org.

>>Vito's by the Park in downtown Hartford is now offering an a la carte brunch from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Information: 866-432-6456 and vitosbythepark.com

>>Metro Bis, 731 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, will be open for Easter on April 5 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Entrée choices include roasted ham, rack of lamb, salmon and braised short ribs. Reservations: 860-651-1908 or metrobis.com.

>>Carbone's Kitchen, 6 Wintonbury Mall, Bloomfield, offers a new pasta-flight tasting every Wednesday night from 4 to 9 p.m. The meal includes a choice of antipasto or salad; a flight of chicken and spinach ravioli, pappardelle and shrimp risotto, and gelato and biscotti for dessert. Cost is $24.99. 860-904-2111, carboneskitchen.com.

>>Ethnic grocery stores abound in the Hartford area, offering a host of exotic ingredients that may be new to most amateur cooks. Foodie Prudence Sloane is once again offering a series of cooking workshops that will acquaint you with the stores, the cbuisine, the customs and the products. Her Hartford City Food Tours will include a trip to A Dong Asian Supermarket and a Vietnamese lunch on May 9. Cost is $75. On May 16, the program includes visits to DiFiore Pasta, D&D Market, Peppercorns Grill and Mozzicatos, all in Hartford. Cost is $95. Sloane is also hosting a Knife Skills Workshop on April 25 for $75. Information: prudencesloane.com.

>>The Dinners at the Farm dates have been announced for the 2015 summer season. The 10 open-air dinners will be Held at White Gate Farm in East Lyme and Barberry Hill Farm in Madison. Started in 2007, the summer dinners feature six-course feasts with foods that are fresh and seasonal, and cooked alongside the fields from which they come. Proceeds benefit five non-profit partners, CitySeed, CT Farmland Trust, The New Connecticut Farmers Alliance, Working Lands Alliance and Region 4 Schools' Get Fresh 4 School Healthy Lunch Initiative. Under the direction of River Tavern's Jonathan Rapp and the Farm Dinner Team, dinners this year will be held at Barberry Hill Farm each night from July 22 to 26 and at White Gate Farm from Aug. 5 to 9. Information: dinnersatthefarm.com

>> Rock Aronheim who owns Doogies, the home of the two-foot hot dog, on the Berlin Turnpike, and The Clam Digger in Manchester is hosting two hot-dog eating contests: The first, at Clam Digger, will be April 18; Doogies hosts the second on April 19. Proceeds will be donated to the Dana Farber Pan-Mass Challenge for Cancer Research. Prizes include gift certificates to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and dinner for two at the winner's choice of any restaurant in Connecticut with Mr. and. Mrs. Doogie. Information: doogieshotdogs.com

>>Looking from somewhere new for that weekend brunch? Arugula, 953 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, has expanded its brunch menu, now offering in on Saturday from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. Information: 860-561-4888, arugula-bistro.com.

 >>Six venues in western Connecticut are once again participating in the Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail promotion. Pick up a registration card at any of the following wineries and have it signed at each location before March 29. Those who visit all six wineries will be entered to win prizes.

Participants are DiGrazia Vineyards, 131 Tower Road, Brookfield; Haight-Brown Vineyard, 29 Chestnut Hill Road, Litchfield; Hopkins Vineyard, 25 Hopkins Road, New Preston; Jerram Winery, 535 Town Hill Road (Route 219), New Hartford; Miranda Vineyard, 42 Ives Road, Goshen; and Sunset Meadow Vineyards, 599 Old Middle St., Goshen.

For more information on the Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail, call 860-201-4654. Contact each winery for updated hours prior to visiting.

 >>Mark your calendars for spring. A new food and wine festival, Savor - A Celebration of Wine, Food & Spirits, presented by Foxwoods Resort Casino, will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center April 10 to 11.

Savor will include grand tastings, samplings of signature dishes from Connecticut's leading chefs, a Savor in Style charity gala and food demonstrations.

Guest chefs will include Robert Irvine, host of "Restaurant: Impossible" on Food Network; Mary Ann Esposito, creator and host of television's longest running cooking series, "Ciao Italia" with Mary Ann Esposito; and Elizabeth Falkner, a James Beard Foundation Award nominee and Iron Chef America favorite.

A portion of the proceeds from Savor benefits Helmets to Hardhats, which promotes careers in the construction industry to individuals leaving military service or serving in the military Reserves or National Guard. Information: SavorCT.com

 Send restaurant news at least 10 days before publication to MaryEllen Fillo at fillo@courant.com and Leeanne Griffin at lgriffin@courant.com.