Small Bites: Dining News


11:44 AM EDT, October 15, 2013


>>One of the area's favorite chef/restaurant owner and culinary celebs, Dorjan Puka, is opening yet another restaurant. Puka, who owns West Hartford's Italian-inspired Treva and French-inspired Avert is going all American with a new place in Manchester to be called ABC, for Artisanal Burger Company.

"I don't anything about sports but I know a lot about cooking," said Puka, who envisions a comfortable, family-friendly, affordable sports bar décor with a menu that will boast creative burgers, pasta, smoked ribs, wings and other American standards.

"I have always wanted to do something east of the river and this space opened up and it was my chance," said Puka, whose new restaurant will be located on Pleasant Valley Road in space that was the former Boston's Sports Bar and Grille. Puka said his new place is being renovated and will open in about two months.

>>Prudence Sloane's Hartford City Food Tours resume on Sept. 20. That day an Asian-themed program includes a supermarket tour at Adong's Asian Supermarket, tastings and a sit-down lunch. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fee is $75. On Oct. 5, a Portuguese food tour is planned from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and includes a market tour, tastings, cooking demonstration and sit-down lunch. On Oct. 25, a Hartford's Little Italy tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will include a breakfast snack, two market tours, two cooking demonstrations, a sit-down lunch, coffee and desserts. Cost is $95. Information: 860-409-9038 or prudencesloane.com

>>A new restaurant, Carpaccio, has opened in the Little Italy section of Springfield, featuring a Mediterranean-inspired menu, a 60-person dining room, 30-person lounge, open kitchen an outdoor patio. The restaurant is near the Basketball Hall of Fame at 904 to 912 Main St. Information: 413-737-2782 and carpacciodowntown.com

>>Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is again offering its filet and lobster pairing from Sept. 3 to 30 at all Fleming's locations, including South Main Street in West Hartford. The meal includes an 8-ounce filet mignon and 8-ounce lobster tail with a choice of soup or salad. Cost is $44.95 plus tax and tip. Information: 860- 676-9463 and flemingssteakhouse.com.

>>For those attending the new season of shows at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Peppercorn's Grill, 357 Main St., Hartford, has a special offer: Show your tickets and receive 20 percent off their entrees. Information: 860- 547-1714 and peppercornsgrill.com.

>>On Oct. 30, the Greater Hartford Arts Council will host its fourth annual arts fundraiser, ARTini, a "pop-up" martini mixer with a curated art show, at the Gershon Fox Ballroom at the Marquee. Guests can sample cocktail and 'mocktail' creations from the area's best mixologists, discover Art Deco-inspired artwork by local artists, and explore Roaring '20s flapper dresses by Trashion Fashion.

"Every fall, the Greater Hartford community gets excited for ARTini" says council CEO Cathy Malloy. "Not only is ARTini a fun night out, but it plays an integral role of supporting and celebrating our community's artists and organizations. This year's theme, 'Art with a Twist,' features contemporary art that pays tribute to the creative spirit of the 1920s."

Tickets are $40; $20 for designated drivers. Information: 860-525-8629 and letsgoarts.com.

>>Metro Bis restaurant, 731 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, will host a limoncello tasting on Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m. Peel liqueurs will be featured with Peel's co-owner Gianfranco DiDomenico as the featured speaker. A light buffet of foods will also be served. Cost is $45. Information: 860-651-1908.

>>It's nearly dining bargain time again. Taste of the Suburbs offers two weeks of $20.14 three-course fixed price dining at more than two dozen area restaurants, including 50 West in Plainville, Anthony Jack's in Southington, Matthew's restaurant I Unionville, Max Burger in West Hartford, Millwrights in Simsbury, and The Willows in Bristol. The special runs Sept. 8 to 21. Information: ctnow.com/tasteofthesuburbs.

>>A wine tasting event featuring Allegrini Wines and special guest David Turcan will be presented Sept. 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Maximum Beverage, 333 North Main St., West Hartford. Information: 860-761-2541 and maximumbev.com

>>Max A Mia, 70 East Main St., Avon, will host an "Icons of Italian Wine Dinner" on Sept. 8. Giovanni Folonari of Folonari Estates and Raffaele Boscaini of Masi Agricola will present at the dinner that begins at 6:15 p.m. Cost is $95 plus tax and tip. Information: 860-677-6299 and maxrestaurantgroup.com.

 >>More than a dozen restaurants and vendors at Mohegan Sun will participate in the casino's fall Restaurant Week promotion, with a variety of specials, discounts and fixed-price meals available Sept. 14 through 19. Deals include prix-fixe menus at BALLO Italian Restaurant (a 3-course dinner for $29.95); Jasper White's Summer Shack (4-course tasting for $30); Michael Jordan's Steak House (3-course dinner for $49) and SolToro Tequila Grill (3 courses for $23.) Visit mohegansun.com for information and a full list of menus and specials.

>>Oyster Club, 13 Water St., Mystic, hosts Wednesday-evening lobster nights at its Treehouse until Labor Day. Three courses include choice of quahog chowder or mixed green salad; a 1 1/2-pound lobster with corn on the cob and potato and warm summer fruit crisp with whipped cream for $45. Information: 860-415-9266 and oysterclubct.com.

>>Max a Mia, 70 E. Main St, Avon, hosts an "Icons of Italian Wine" pairing dinner Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Special guests include Raffaele Boscaini, owner of Masi Agricola and Giovanni Folonari, owner of Folonari Estates in Tuscany. Cost is $95, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations and information: 860-677-6299 and maxrestaurantgroup.com.

>>Taste of the Nation Hartford returns Oct. 2 at Marquee Events and Catering. Dozens of Greater Hartford restaurants, distributors and vendors gather for a tasting event to benefit Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger. General admission is $85; VIP admission is $150. Doors open at 6 p.m. Information: ce.strength.org/hartford.

>> On Sept. 9, Whole Foods at Blue Back Square in West Hartford is donating 5 percent of its total sales to benefit the Billings Forge Community Works, a non-profit organization in Hartford that provides housing and jobs while promoting healthful and affordable food. The community includes Firebox restaurant, The Kitchen Café, a weekly Farmer's Market, an arts center and more. Information: billingsforgeworks.org.

>>The first "Taste" series at Real Art Ways in Hartford was so popular, it's coming back again. Three more of the area's celebrity chefs will be part of the extended series that features a small plate menu interpretation by the featured chef and a screening from the French "Inventing Cuisine" series.

Featured on Aug. 25 will be Chris Prosperi, chef and co-owner of Metro Bis in Simsbury. Other featured chefs will be Rachel Carr of Six Main on Sept. 29, and Cafemantic's Jonathan Hudak on Oct. 20.

Individual event prices are $25 or $22 for RAW members. A special package is available for those who want tickets for all three vents. Cost is $60 for RAW members and $70 for non-members. Information: 860-267-1276 or realartways.org

>>The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival will be held Sept. 19 to 21. Friday seminars will be held at the Hyatt Regency Newport, with Saturday and Sunday seminars held at the Chinese Tea House on the grounds of the Marble House.

Activities include Grand Tastings on Saturday and Sunday, a Wine & Rosecliff Gala, Collectible Wine Dinner and exclusive Sunday brunch with celebrated speakers and chefs including Martha Stewart and Sara Moulton. Other featured presenters include author and epicurean Loy Di Palo, mixologist Marshall Altier and senior wine editor of Food & Wine, Megan Krigbaum. Proceeds benefit the Preservation Society of Newport County. Information: 401-847-1000 or NewportMasionsWineAndFood.org

>>Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is reportedly expanding north to the Bay State. The New Haven original is looking to open in Brookline, Mass. next year, in the space currently occupied by The Fireplace restaurant. "From now until the end of the year, the Frank Pepe team will be developing and submitting plans for their coal-fired pizza restaurant to the town and upon approval, hope to begin construction and the behind the scenes process of opening their new location," the owners said in a statement. Established in 1925, Pepe's is one of the country's most iconic names in pizza, with locations throughout Connecticut and another in Yonkers, N.Y. Information: pepespizzeria.com.

>> Carbone's Ristorante hosts its 11th Annual Cigar & Scotch dinner Sept. 25 at the restaurant at 388 Franklin Ave., Hartford, and includes boutique beers, fine wines, aged single malt scotches and complimentary cigars with a Carbone's dinner. Tickets are $125. A portion of ticket sales goes to a charity of Carbone's choice. Information: 860-296-9646 andr carbonesct.com

>>Harry's Bishops Corner is offering something new through middle of September: a Lobster and Scallop Pie. The specialty pie was created by owner Kevin Plaut after spending many inspiring summer family vacations at the Maine coastline. "Every summer my family and I envision what a lobster pie would look like and try to imagine what it might taste like, so we finally decided it was time to introduce our own lobster pizza," Plaut said.

The pizza is a white pie with mozzarella, grilled Roma tomatoes, roasted native corn and a generous portion of lobster and sea scallops, garnished with a light sprinkle of seasoned bread crumbs, chives, a drizzle of clarified butter and lemon. The price is $50 for a 12" pizza. Orders must be placed by phone 24 hours in advance. Information: 860-236-0400 and harrysbc.com

>>The New Britain Museum of American Art holds its 11th annual the Art of Wine &Food, presented by Farmington Bank, on Sept. 16 beginning at 5:30 p.m. More than 15 restaurants will participate in the dine- around that also includes a variety of wine selections and samplings. Live and silent auctions will also be featured. Tickets range from $175 to $350 person. Information: 860-229-0257 or nbmaa.org


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