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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

srcafe1Tucked away is an understatement. This special restaurant commands you stray from the mainstream and venture to the back roads of northeastern Connecticut. An hour and a quarter from Boston and probably forty-five minutes from Hartford, the scenic drive from I-84 puts you in the mood for what waits in this quaint restored barn in Eastford, CT. A former Connecticut resident myself, I’d never heard of the town, but once off the interstate I recognized the territory as I drove through part of Bigelow Hollow State Park, a swimming and canoeing oasis I have fond memories of from childhood days gone by.

My dining companion who arrived before I was seated on the sunny side porch with a book the owners wrote about the restaurants of St. Bart’s. It was a glorious spring day, the kind that restores hope after a long cold New England winter.

Once inside, the old converted barn shined with warm spring sunlight on rustic old beams and clean white walls amidst a simple and rustic, yet elegant interior.  The menu looked fresh, robust with just enough choices, and customized for the latest local harvest.

I’d hoped to begin with the Blue Hill Mussels, but sadly they were sold out this Sunday brunch. So instead, I was satiated by a hearty serving of the North Ashford Farm Salad – healthy, fresh, and light with baby greens, toasted pumpkin seeds, shaved fennel and goat cheese feta, which I am slowing learning to enjoy (goat cheese, that is). My companion enjoyed an even more tasty Farm Beat salad, which was gorgeously plated and shined with earthy red and golden beats and a mellow local goat cheese.

Next, I moved onto the Kobe Beef Carpaccio. Wow. These ‘dumplings’ were packed with a beefy, bacony flavor and had a melt in your mouth texture, complimented by baby arugula and Parmesan shavings. My guest enjoyed the Tasting of Scallops – scallops with a scallop jus and another with a hazelnut crust. I preferred the former, which were perfectly cooked with most complimentary jus, however both were worthy of ordering again.

We wrapped up brunch with a fun experiment in chocolate that included homemade chocolates (the caramel with sea salt was the best I’ve ever had – I wanted to take a box home), a simple but rich mouse, and brownie-like bites of cake. It was the perfect ending to a special brunch, all of which overlooked a serene rural setting that my city soul savored. Still River is a winner in my book, and even with the distance,  I’ll be back. 

Still River Cafe Website

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