After a great weekend of concerts and reunions with classmates from high school and UVA, I flew out to Hartford, Connecticut for my day job today. This is my first time here in Hartford, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Whenever I go to a new place, I like to check out their downtown areas to catch a vibe of the city, and especially to sample what their best restaurants they have to offer. I picked up a tourist magazine while at the airport, and I saw that there were alot of restaurants along Trumbull Street. After checking in to the hotel, I gathered my coworkers and we drove into downtown Hartford. My coworkers left the social aspects of the trip to me to plan, so they trusted my judgement to check out this placed called Dulce. I checked their website to see that Dulce is a Portuguese restaurant with European influences. From the menu, I could tell that there was alot of Portuguese and Spanish influences in the menu, and judging from the font of the menu, I knew it would have a cool ambiance. I was right:
When we drove up to 100 Trumbull Street, I could see orange lighting balanced with white and brown furniture inside the restaurant. After we parked and walked in, I was a bit disturbed by the club music they were playing – I mean after all, I wanted to eat, not play with glow sticks and whistles. Anyways, we walk to the dining area and I looked up and fell in love with this HUGE mirror with a gold frame (on the front of the website) hanging on the exposed brick of the dining area. The chairs were white and tufted with brown buttons, and the walls were neutral with a sparkle of gold. After I sat down, I looked at the menu and realized that we were there during their happy hour (4-7pm) and so the music I heard would continue until Happy Hour ended. Luckily it was 6:45 so it was over after 15 minutes, and they began to play Latin music. Much better for the menu and ambiance.
Everything had a Mediterranean flare to it. Trout with mango and wasabi, lavender rubbed duck, and My choice of the night, the Osso Buco Short Ribs with a tomato demi-glace and asiago rissoto. Alot of their meats were prepared “cowboy style” which simply means that the bone is left in… why they couldn’t just say “bone-in Ribeye” beats me, but I guess cowboy style gives a mystique to the Northerners up in New England.
Out comes by my entree, and WOW! This was the best short rib I have ever had! It wasn’t the traditional presentation of short ribs that I am used to, but this was a large cut of one short rib that was slow cooked to perfection! Speaking of perfection, lets talk about how perfect the risotto was prepared. Any of you out there what know culinary technique will understand how critical it is to find that thin line between overcooking your risotto.
Typical of a downtown non-chain restaurant, the menu was not of modest cost. Not terribly expensive though, as the menu items ranged from $19-35, if you want the best cut of steak. If you get an appetizer, entree and glass of wine, it would probably set you back $50.
In summary, I would defintiely recommend Dulce to anyone native to Hartford, or visiting. Check out the happy hour from 4-7pm with drink and appetizer specials, or enjoy the swank dining area with a full course meal! Check out their website here.