From October 30th to November 4th, 2016, some of the best eateries in New Haven held what many food-loving college students would call the happiest week of their fall semester: New Haven Restaurant Week 2016.
For seven days, select New Haven restaurants served the best 3-course lunches and dinners their chefs had to offer at $20.16 and $34, respectively. Here's a recap of a few of the fan favorites:
Located in the East Rock neighborhood, Caffe Bravo has a homey ambiance and friendly service. Even though it's slightly off the beaten path, the trek or Uber ride out is surely worth it.
The entrée, Italian-style lamb chop with mint sauce and mashed potatoes, was out of this world. Sandwiched between roasted beet salad for a first course and the chocolate truffle for dessert, I couldn't believe that I got all of this for $20. Truly beats d-hall lunch any day of the week.
Olea is an elegant (and expensive) Spanish restaurant nestled between Sig Nu and Starbucks on High Street. If you want all the luxury without the luxurious price, restaurant week is the ideal time to experience Olea's visually appealing and equally tasty cuisine.
While Olea's lunch and dinner menus were slightly shorter than others, it made up for in quality what it lacked in quantity. The Grilled Skate Fish with sherry vinegar-parsley sauce and assorted vegetables was grilled to perfection.
If the fish didn't transport me to heaven already, then this Chocolate Mousse Cake surely did. Honestly, I would come to Olea for this cake alone.
A New Haven classic, perfect for anything from dinner with the 'rents to casual drinks before a night out, Harvest definitely brought its A-Game to New Haven Restaurant Week.
For those of you with bad memories of your mom forcing you to eat Brussels sprouts, I would highly suggest trying Harvest's Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad before casting aside the versatile brussel. This dish marries shaved Brussels sprouts with a parmesan risotto cake and truffle vinaigrette for a match made in heaven.
For the second course, I had the Lobster Mac n' Cheese. Seriously-- even this picture doesn't do the plate justice.
As for dessert, Harvest's options didn't quite live up to the first and second courses. The Nutella Crepes were decent, but you are better off going to Crepes Choupette for dessert instead
If you're a cheese fan (as I'm sure you can tell I am by this point in the game), then look no further than Caseus Fromagerie and Bistro. This quaint restaurant on the other side of Hillhouse will definitely fulfill any cheesy cravings you may have.
In the spirit of autumn and all things orange, I ordered the gingery Carrot Soup with vanilla bean chèvre toast on the side. The warmth and richness of the soup was the perfect way to start my lunch.
I chased my zesty soup with a skillet full of local delicata squash, grits, and of course, ricotta cheese. The sage seasoning and fried egg were the perfect accompaniments to an already stellar dish. After trying the apple cake with Bourbon cream cheese frosting for dessert, I proceeded to fall into a cheese coma.
To sum it up, New Haven Restaurant Week 2016 was one for the books. While only four out of 28 participating restaurants were highlighted here, you can be sure there are some other gems out there. I challenge you to try them for yourself in April 2017 during the next New Haven restaurant week.