Small Bites: Dining News

Leeanne Griffin

11:29 AM EDT, April 13, 2015


>>The 8th Iron Chef Elm City competition on Sunday, April 26, at the Omni Hotel at Yale features a showdown between chefs Carlos Cassar of the Copper Beech Inn, Ian Frew of Yale New Haven Hospital and Todd Ruiz of the Omni. At the competition, a "secret" ingredient is unveiled and the chefs are required to create an appetizer, entree and dessert using the ingredient – all in one hour. A reception includes tastings from the competing restaurants and samples by the secret ingredient sponsor. Tickets are $45 (or $65 for preferred viewing; these tickets are limited) and proceeds will benefit scholarships for Gateway Community College's hospitality management and culinary arts students and programs. The event starts at 11:45 a.m. Information: 203-777-8550 or 203-415-3519; or visit stephenfries.com and click on "Iron Chef."

>>Carmen Anthony Restaurant Group has closed two more of its restaurants in New Haven and Waterbury, leaving its Woodbury fishhouse as its sole remaining property. In a statement, owner Carmen Anthony Vacalebre said the Woodbury menu would be revamped to include many of the steakhouse menu item favorites. Information: carmenanthony.com.

>>To celebrate its one-year anniversary under new ownership, Billy Tee's at 150 Sebethe Drive in Cromwell features an all-Connecticut lineup of draft beer for the month of April. The bar's 23 taps will pour a rotating selection of brews from Thomas Hooker, Olde Burnside, New England Brewing, Black Hog, Thimble Island, Beer'd, Two Roads, Back East and DuVig, among others. Information: 860-632-1333, billyteescromwell.com.

>>Altanaveigh Inn, 957 Storrs Road, Storrs, has introduced a new Sunday brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The a la carte menu items include creme brulee-style bread pudding French toast, roast beef hash, a farmers' market scrambler egg dish, sirloin steak and "cheezie" eggs and salmon cakes Nicoise. Entrees are $12.50 to $18. Information: 860-429-4490 and altnaveighinn.com.

>>Max's Oyster Bar, 964 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, hosts a Justin/Landmark wine dinner Tuesday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. with master sommelier Joe Spellman. Courses include surf and turf with Hudson Valley foie gras and pan-seared Hawaiian tuna, roasted pork belly, cold-smoked ribeye and red velvet beet cake. Cost is $95 plus tax and gratuity. Information: 860-236-6299, maxsoysterbar.com.


>>Wasabi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge has opened at 1155 Tolland Turnpike in Manchester, featuring traditional Japanese sushi and hibachi dishes. It's open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. 860-432-4665, wasabiman.com.


>>The Thread City Hop Fest in Willimantic's Jillson Square on May 3 features craft beer tastings from more than 30 New England breweries, live music and food vendors. Tickets are $35 per person in advance or $40 at the gate. Proceeds from the Hop Fest benefit The No Freeze Project, Willimantic Renaissance, Inc. and Vulturetown Arts. The festival starts at noon. Information: threadcityhopfest.com.

>>Saybrook Point Inn, 2 Bridge St., Old Saybrook, offers a new seasonal menu at its Fresh Salt restaurant with spring salads, panini, wild salmon crudo flatbread, Jonah crab-avocado salad with grilled watermelon steak, sweet pea risotto with blackened Stonington shrimp, Connecticut and Maine-style lobster rolls and raw bar selections. 800-243-0212, saybrook.com.

>>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'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.

>>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

>>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 cuisine, 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.



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