The Restaurant Restroom Review
by Elizabeth L. Maloney ◊ Aug 17, 2012
Looking for good food, gluten free friendly, and clean restrooms
1114 Main Street
Branford, CT 06405
It wasn’t long ago that Jared Schulefand, Assistant Director at the Chatham Bar Inn, walked through the kitchen with a pizza from Modern Apizza, and Chef Mike DiVincenzo insisted on knowing how he got it. They soon realized that they were both Hamden natives and wanted to get back there someday. Jared, a graduate of Hamden High School, went to Johnson and Wales University for Food Service Management, and Mike graduated from Xavier High School and attended the Culinary Institute of America. This past year, they returned to Connecticut when Jared bought out Foe Restaurant and soon transformed it into a warm and welcoming eatery.
Jared has designed the restaurant to have three different rooms that flow together within a well laid out open floor plan. There is the traditional eating area in the back of the restaurant, which he opened up by taking down some of the dividers. We noticed instantly that it wasn’t very noisy, even with a table of ten nearby. He also has a comfortable sitting area with leather chairs and tables of various heights off the bar area. You can be served your meal in any of these rooms.
Jared also takes great pride in making sure he uses area suppliers. One of the most outstanding items is Rime Vodka, a corn product from Westford Hill Distillers in Ashford, Conn. I tried it in a Vodka Gimlet and, boy, am I glad I didn’t have it with anything sweeter. The vodka is smooth and sweet, so be careful how you order it; with its own sweetness, it would be easy to forget there is alcohol in your mixed drink. He has beers from all over New England and New York, including Stony Creek in Branford, Cavalry Brewing in Oxford, and Thomas Hooker in Bloomfield. He also brings in cheeses from Liuzzi’s in Hamden and meats from Napoli in New Haven.
Their menu is allergen friendly and they clearly state that they will be happy to accommodate food allergies to the best of their ability. Their kitchen prides itself on being peanut free. They are very accommodating; however, there were a few items that I wished were gluten free, such as the corn chowder and a few appetizers. As it was, I was only able to order the potato pancakes or a bowl of fries. My guests ordered the crab nuggets, which tasted good and the dipping sauce was spicy. For dinner, I ordered the grilled swordfish with creamed spinach, raisins, and a jicama and carrot slaw. Normally, it also comes with cous cous. My guests ordered the salmon special with a lime aioli and a crab and asparagus hash. I won’t say how delicious it was, but I will say that our plates were completely void of any morsel of food. Yum!
Where Chef Mike really excels is with the hamburgers and mac and cheese that you can order gluten free. Our hamburgers were well done on the outside and pink on the inside, just the way they should be. I tried the Patty Melt in a cheese sauce with smoke tomato aioli and substituted the fried red onion for the caramelized onion jam. It was the best burger I have had in ages. One guest tried the Home Burger with Boursin® Cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and the caramelized onion jam, and was absolutely thrilled with it. We tried two mac and cheese dishes, both with gluten free pasta. The first was the Buffalo Chicken, ordered without their standard blue cheese breadcrumbs. We concluded it was delectable, but it definitely needed the blue cheese breadcrumbs. We also had the Sweet Italian Sausage and smoked tomato and it was incredible. Chef Mike smokes the tomatoes to perfection.
For dessert, I was a little disappointed from a Celiac’s perspective. They had a variety of cakes that they get from a local bakery and my guests enjoyed the carrot cake, the chocolate coconut, and the blueberry cake. My choice was locally made ice cream; it was absolutely scrumptious, but customarily, I don’t order ice cream. I would have liked to see a chocolate mousse or even a rice pudding on the menu.
The restrooms are clean and well maintained. Home is closed on Mondays and open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
Elizabeth has lived in Hamden for over 25 years with her husband, Kevin, and their two children. In 2008, she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She is always looking for restaurants that offer gluten free food without making the customer feel like they are missing out on the flavors of the restaurant. She also believes that the restrooms are part of the experience that can be easily ruined if they appear to be neglected.
Photo: Jared Schulefand, Owner, and Mike DiVecenzo, Chef
Photo Courtesy: Elizabeth L. Maloney