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Friday: Asian Bistro Restaurant, 702 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT (exit 12 off CT-8)

We were staying at the Holiday Inn Express (which is a good place to stay), right across Bridgeport Ave, but the street is multilane and runs along a low spot between two higher areas, with the hotel up a steep winding road on one side, and a multi-layered shopping plaza (with restaurant, also an Outback Steak House) on the other side. Also, thunderstorms moving in. So we ordered take-out with free delivery service ($20 minimum) from the restaurant even if it meant forgoing the hibachi offerings.

Many standard items were on the menu, but with a non-Boston twist and an upscale "good things come in small packages" feel to them. Gyoza instead of "Peking ravioli" were lighter and smaller. Shrimp shumai are usually only seen here at dim sum, and they were good, but also smaller than usual. My daughter ordered the spicy crabmeat roll and enjoyed it. My husband and son both had the teriyaki salmon dinner, and they liked theirs, too. I had the mandarin duck salad: a good selection of mixed greens, four long "chopsticks" of jicama, quite a few slices of roast duck, all topped with shredded red beets. The dressing was "olive-balsamic" vinegarette that came in a separate container, and it went very well with the greens and beets and jicama but rather overwhelmed the taste of the duck.

To share, I'd also ordered one of their signature rolls: the Paradise roll. This could easily have been put on the dessert list, which is an odd thing to say about sushi. It's a large roll cut into pieces, and contains "spicy lobster salad, shrimp tempura, banana tempura, kawari sprout" with "yuzu mango sauce" all wrapped in rice and a soybean sheet and beautifully presented with an orchid decoration. It was exotic and absolutely delicious once you got past the surprising sweetness.

Saturday: Rein's New York Style Deli, 435 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon, CT (exit 65 off I-84)

The daughter was left in West Haven and we got to Vernon just before noon. There was a line at Rein's, of course, but it moved pretty quickly and we got a table (take-out is also an option). They brought a bowl of garlic pickles, as usual, but we only had one pickle-eater (me!). For lunch, my husband had a pastrami reuben, grilled, my son had a "Tappen Zee" (a club sandwich with, I think, pastrami, roast beef, and turkey), and I had a bowl of "borscht with the works", which was a lovely choice on such a hot muggy day. That version of cold beet soup comes with chopped onions and cucumbers, a large dollop of sour cream, and a large and still slightly warm boiled peeled potato. I'd wondered about the potato, but it did an even better job than the sour cream in mitigating any sharpness in the rest. We pushed ourselves to have dessert as well: pecan pie for my husband, chocolate marbled cheesecake for my son, and a plain NY cheesecake for me. All wonderful, and my son couldn't even finish his. Some may quibble about exactly how close it is to a real NY deli, but for the rest of New England there's no better place to get that style of fare. And I still need to try their noodle kugel sometime. 
  

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
goldsquare
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
I believe they do not make the borscht themselves, but purchase one of the standard brands.

That does not make it bad, mind you. :-) But it means you can hve it at home, any time you want to warm a potato. :-)
cimeara
Aug. 30th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
lol! Ah, but I bought it to figure out how mine should taste, should I make it myself. :-)
lauradi7
Aug. 24th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
The borscht at a now-defunct Catskills resort also came with boiled potato, which my brother-in-law said was standard in kosher delis (which Rein's definitely is not).
Their noodle kugel is very nice.
cimeara
Aug. 30th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
Thank you for letting me know! I'm still relying on the Honey Noodle Kugel recipe, and need to try more versions.
lauradi7
Aug. 30th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)
We like the recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook (I think she's modified the original version to make it lower in fat), which is not as sweet as some.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )