The Wood Creek Bar and Grill
3 Station Place
Norfolk, CT 06058
The retro Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk in Connecticut’s northwest corner is where great acts from the 70s still come to play weekly. The legendary James Taylor lives in town, and his support for the arts in Norfolk is equally legendary. While Infinity has its own little bistro, there is a gem of a restaurant 100 feet away – The Wood Creek Bar and Grill. Appetizers such as risotto arancini (a crispy fried ball of risotto stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto covered in a blush sauce) and Prince Edward Island mussels are available for those who want a grand dining experience, as are entrees which include grilled steak au poivre, pork loin or duck breast. Dinner-sized salads are also available, as are pastas.
46 E. Main St.
Torrington, CT 06790
The restored art deco Warner Theater in Torrington has welcomed musicians from B.B. King and his blues band to the Metropolitan Opera. Whether going to the Warner for a classical concert or a Broadway revival, or to hear a blues man or country star, the place to dine beforehand is Bachi’s. Just around the corner on East Main Street (and only a few doors down from the equally delightful and friendly rival Venetian), Bachi’s is a Torrington tradition. This “ristorante, bar and grill” serves a veal parmigiana to die for (and the chicken and eggplant versions of that classic dish are equally bellisimo). This is old school, old world, Italian food at its family finest. Friendly, warm and welcoming, Bachi’s has everything anyone who has ever eaten in a family Italian restaurant could expect – and no one leaves hungry, unhappy or poor.
539 Broad St.
Hartford, CT 06106
The Webster Theater is perhaps Hartford’s most famous musical stage. Musicians, singers, bands and orchestras from all musical genres have trod its boards, and just as The Webster offers a variety of musical experiences to choose from, so do the many fine restaurants within an easy walk – among them the Firebox, which is quite literally almost around the corner from The Webster. The Firebox is a restaurant and tavern whose owners and chefs believe that “the best food travels the shortest distance from farm to table.” Their support for local farmers is well known, as is their cuisine, which is a lovely mix of meat, fowl and seafood dishes presented with style. The black pearl salmon may be from Scotland, but the vegetables that adorn the plate are local, as are the scallops from Stonington or the cheese from Cato Farms in Colchester. For those who want a lighter, quicker or less expensive meal, there is always the tavern, which serves a sinful burger with onion truffle jam on a poppy brioche roll – and for only $13.
100 Allyn St.
Hartford, CT 06103
Going to the Comcast Theater in Hartford? This venue, formerly known as the Meadows Music Center, CTNow.com Meadow’s Music Theater and New England Dodge Music Center, is an indoor/outdoor amphitheatre with reserved and lawn seats. Less than a mile away is the Agave Grill, whose “Mexican masterpieces,” as it proudly proclaims, are perfect to set the mood for a night with rock bands and country crooners at the Comcast. Prices are affordable and the margaritas are large and legendary. The lobster, black bean and corn tostada is unique and scrumptious, and for those who have lawn seats at the Comcast, takeaway is always available to make the pre-concert picnic spicy and hot.
Dish Bar & Grill
900 Main St.
Hartford, CT 06103
Planning an elegant night at the concert hall to hear the Hartford Symphony on Pearl Street? Less than three blocks away is the equally elegant Dish Bar & Grill. The atmosphere, the food and especially the cocktails are very upscale. Start with the terrine of HudsonValley foie gras or blue point oysters, continue on with Japanese pillow steak or lemon-glazed black cod and finish up with one of the amazing desserts for a pre-theater prix-fixe dinner for only $42 per person. The Dish allows diners to build their own three-course combination from an extensive menu. All dishes are also available a la carte. Diners can come as early as 4 p.m., and while the kitchen closes at 11 p.m., the bar stays open quite late – and is the perfect place to have a cocktail while savoring the memories of the sounds of the symphony.
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.