West Street Grill, Litchfield, CT

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | July 19th, 2011 | Restaurant Reviews

Our Independence Day weekend was a huge tour of the Northeast.  Our journey took us to Maine on Friday, Saint John on Saturday, Saint Andrews on Sunday (which ended with a quick stop at home to unpack and repack), and Litchfield, CT, on Monday.  You might wonder how we chose Litchfield as the destination for the holiday, and the answer is quite simple.  We needed to be in Manhattan for business on Tuesday, Litchfield was halfway, and Haight-Brown Vineyard had a Red White and Blues celebration that evening.

Our afternoon at Haight-Brown was enjoyable.  This family-run vineyard had such friendly, helpful staff which whom we were able to converse.  We did a wine tasting and ended up choosing a bottle of their Chardonnay to enjoy while enjoying the blues concert.  Having spent an afternoon enjoying pleasant company and good music, we were ready for a great meal.  Being the Fourth of July, we weren’t sure what would be open at 8:30 at night, but we were determined to find out.

We returned to the downtown of Litchfield, which is comprised of a dozen or so shops and restaurants.  From a quick peek, it seemed that the West Street Grill would be our best choice.  We entered and spoke to the bartender, who appeared to double as the host.  He informed us that the restaurant was closed.  As we turned to leave, the owner rushed to stop us and told us that the host was incorrect; they most certainly were still seating parties.

We were seated, given menus, and provided with water all in timely fashion.  Knowing that the restaurant probably would be closing soon, we didn’t want to take long in choosing, so reviewed the menu quickly.  For our first course, I chose a salad of hand-picked organic baby greens, apricots, granny smith apple, golden raisins, toasted pine nuts, gorgonzola and balsamic vinaigrette.  This salad had a nice balance of ingredients, all of which complemented each other well, the tartness of the apple against the sweetness of the raisins and the savory aspect of the cheese against the brightness of the apricots.

My husband chose Jumbo Lump Crab & Mango Gazpacho.  This was served with sriracha mayo, avocado, cilantro and crispy tortilla.  After a long day filled with warm weather and no air conditioning, this soup was the perfect refreshment for my husband.  The crab deserved to be part of the title, as there were generous chunks throughout the dish.  It was savored to the last bite.

For our entrée round, I chose the Hoisin Glazed Short Ribs of Beef.  I adore hoisin, an Asian barbecue sauce, and love to try menu items that contain that ingredient.  This dish did not disappoint.  The beef was tender and well-flavored.  Served with lightly braised leeks, asparagus, carrots, bell pepper, sesame seed, crispy rice noodles and thai chili sauce, it was a wonderful meal.  The serving was generous, which allowed my husband to have a good portion of the meal to try.

My husband opted with an order of Chicken Milanese, which was a special that evening.  The chicken was prepared perfectly.  A crispy coating surrounding the tender chicken made for a delicious dish.

Although our arrival at the restaurant started with us being turned away, we were grateful that we were able to dine there.  We had fabulous service from three different staff members (including the bartender/host) who made sure our glasses were full and that we had all needed items for our dining.  In addition to being attentive, they were warm and welcoming, making us feel relaxed and not in a rush.  Going to Litchfield, Connecticut, for Independence Day was a great choice, both for the concert at the winery and the evening of dining.

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