Food Review: Elizabeth’s
Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman
Yes in deed, Elizabeth has overtaken the beautiful hamlet of Bloomfield. All everyone hears of late is Elizabeth’s this and Elizabeth’s that! Who is this Elizabeth? Who’s the gal every one is eager to meet and why is she on everyone’s lips? Well friends let me introduce you to the newest addition to Bloomfield, Connecticut’s vibrant and ever expanding culinary scene, “Elizabeth’s Restaurant”, serving up some of the freshest and most creative Italian and Portuguese inspired cuisine you have ever encountered.
Though Elizabeth’s be the destination, the true impresario is not an Elizabeth but a Paulo, Restauranteur and highly regarded chef, Paulo DaRocha, who along with his son Paulo Jr., has brought his native Brazilian love for fresh “ frutos do mar” – seafood – and the Elizabeth’s franchise to Bloomfield. Chef Paulo states, “for many years, I was on the lookout to open a restaurant in Bloomfield, as many know, we have Elizabeth’s in Rocky Hill and East Windsor, but now I so proudly bring a bit of my heritage, my home in Brazil “Nova Modica” to my new home in the beautiful town of Bloomfield – I invite all to eat and enjoy!”
Elizabeth’s Restaurant in Bloomfield offers fine dining in a sophisticated glamorous setting that excites and inspires. The modern interior design is a vibrant blend of modern architecture, high ceilings and glass partitions. Wall decor features numerous paintings of Mediterranean and Brazilian inspiration. Elizabeth’s has seating for 260 diners, which includes 23 booths, 54 tables and 24 seats at the massive wooden bar at the front of the restaurant.
My host, Chef Paulo, sets about my initial visit with a sampling of some of the restaurants many signature dishes. Firstly Bread- each patron upon seating is presented a heaping basket of “fresh from the oven” steaming rolls- served with butter or olive oil- my taste buds are already dancing. First course a brimming bowl of house made “Cream of Mushroom” soup- generous offerings of ‘rooms, herbs and thick decadent milky cream – a meal in itself especially with the proffered freshly made bread- I say “Yum” – and I don’t say the “Y” word that often- but here at Elizabeth’s it seems to be on everyone’s lips as well.
My appetizer- “Salada A Moda De Nazare” – a heart healthy tossed salad topped with avocado, tomatoes, red onions, with generous portions of sauteed shrimp, scallops & calamari in olive oil sauce. The calamari so tender – I select them off first to enjoy. By the way, Elizabeth’s creates and prepares all their salad dressings fresh daily including their balsamic, ranch, peppercorn and creamy Italian.
Next up on the menu is what I would call a true meal “romântico” or a “First Time Date Meal” – perfect for two – “Paella Alla Casa” – house paella – beautifully vibrant in presentation with a pleasing Mediterranean breeze of saffron and rosemary. This entree not only includes a substantial duel lobster tail but fresh from the sea mussels, clams, shrimp, chicken, chorizo sausage housed happily together in favorable steaming, fluffy Spanish Rice – beautifully presented, prepared and lovingly consummated.
Chef Paulo takes note that I thoroughly enjoy their various veal offerings and emerges from his kitchen with a steaming platter of “Veal Marsala” – tender pounded Veal sautéed with large slices of wild mushrooms in a dreamy and oh so decadent Marsala cream sauce- absolutely wonderful and garners one of my coveted “Howard’s Best Bets”! I literally use my fresh bread to dredge up all the liquid gold of the Marsala sauce- it’s another “Y” moment. From off the menu, Chef Paulo presents a simply masterwork of culinary delight, “Grilled Rack of Lamb”, presented over a healing helping of garlic mashed potatoes, accompanied by fresh asparagus spears and gently drizzled with a light reduction sauce – tender and mouth watering De-licious!
Desserts included a tasting of the “Portuguese Flan” – a sweet creamy traditional custard dessert and a four layered chocolate mousse cream cake – both brilliant meal enders that will sate those with sweet-tooth-itis.
What’s upcoming for the holidays at Elizabeth’s includes having your complete Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners prepared by Chef Paulo and his team. This Thanksgiving, Chef Paulo will prepare whole Turkeys with all the trimmings; including traditional stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, turnips in heavy cream, cranberry sauce with orange garnish and so much more. At Christmas, the entire menu is offered plus, Rack of Lamb in Mushroom Brandy Sauce and Pork Chops topped with Cranberry Rosemary Sauce. Elizabeth’s is currently taking orders for either eat-in or catering for the holidays.
Let me state for the record that I have three problems with Elizabeth’s – first- everything on the menu looks SO GOOD- that you are constantly looking over your shoulder at your neighbors table to see what they ordered – and then rethinking “I shoulda ordered what they had” until you hear another neighboring table upon seeing your plate say “they shoulda have ordered what you ordered”. So it all equals out that you made a great choice. Second, that this place is POP-U-LAR – everyone is talking about Elizabeth’s of Bloomfield – and you sure hope they have a table waiting for you on your next visit. And lastly this is a “hidden gem”, that we wish was still a bit hidden, but yet oh so glad it’s now part of our town. My visit to Elizabeth’s was “Highly Enjoyable” – the menu creative and simply delicious. Perfection on a plate as designed by Chef Paulo. We all now have Elizabeth-A-Mania! Enjoy.
“Elizabeth’s” is located at 774 Park Avenue, Bloomfield, Connecticut. For reservations or to arrange holiday catering call the restaurant at (860) 216-6170. Elizabeth’s is open from 11am till 10pm daily serving Lunch and Dinner. Happy Hour is Monday to Friday from 4-6pm and 9pm – close.
Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.