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A Little Piece of New York in New Haven

116 Crown, New Haven - Restaurant Review

By Brian Scott-Smith | November 14, 2011

The Impressive Bar and Drink Selection

New Haven has an amazing array of restaurants, but 116 Crown is a little piece of New York that makes it stand out from the rest of the best.

Chicken Liver Mousse

John and Danielle Ginnetti have forged a unique drinking and eating experience in downtown New Haven in just four short years.

A remarkable accomplishment, when you consider they started their business as the US and world economies were tanking, and in a city with a plethora of diverse restaurants and bars.

With 116 Crown participating in New Haven Restaurant Week last week, it was an ideal time to see what the restaurant was offering this time around.

In short a small $29 prix fixe menu of just six items, two starters, two entrée’s and two sweets.   But as they say, all the best things come in small packages.

Of course there is their usual fuller menu available too, but hey, it’s Restaurant Week, so I chose to eat from this exclusive event menu instead with my eating companion.

The two starters are – Chicken Liver Mousse with Pistachio & Local Apples – or - Corn Chowder with bacon, local corn and potato skin. Both were served in usual 116 Crown style, simple and elegant.

Pasta with Pumpkin

My eating partner’s comment about the Corn Chowder was simply, “yum.” A hearty chowder, enhanced by the bacon and potato skins and a perfect winter warmer.

The mousse was equally delicious without an overly ‘liver’ taste and the Pistachio’s and apples added texture and sweetness as well as crunch.

Whilst we waited for the main meals to arrive I spoke to John Ginnetti about the continued success of 116 Crown and asked him what he put it down to, “ It’s a very cosmopolitan crowd that comes here and being on site certainly helps.”

Indeed it does. How many other places do you visit where the owners take it in turns to be on duty and make the effort to say a personal hello and welcome to ‘guests’. And at the same time support local food growers as well as community and local non-profits.

Or could it also be the amazing interior with its spectacular lit onyx bar and stormy cyclone ceiling and walls glad in leather and other industrial materials, twinned with two comfortable pods for four people and plenty of bar seating and tables for eating.

Shredded Beef Bowl

Our two main meals turned up looking and smelling suitably delicious. I had the -Shredded Beef Bowl with Bok Choy and Nori and locally foraged mushrooms - and my companion had the - Pasta with Brick Oven Roast Pumpkin, brown butter and nutmeg cream.

The beef dish was tender in a light broth with some nice crunchy bean sprouts on top, very clean tasting and satisfying. The pasta was cooked perfectly with the delicious seasonal pumpkin on top and sat on the brown butter and nutmeg cream, which worked well without overwhelming the subtle taste of the pumpkin.

Drinks at 116 Crown are another specialty and we had a glass of Block Nine red wine each with our meal, which was both warming and full-bodied without threatening to override the taste of our food.

Of course if a cocktail is your thing then John has created a list of over fifty of them and with amazing ingredients like elderflower cordial to cayenne pepper to floral gins and vodka’s.

The Two Sweets

To finish the select menu we had the two sweet offerings – Cinnamon Squares with ice cream and caramel and Grilled Pineapple with ice cream, shredded coconut and chocolate sauce.

We came up with our thoughts on these tasty finishers.

The Cinnamon squares we thought was typical ‘Fall in New England’ and the pineapple was ‘Fall in the Caribbean’. The Cinnamon Squares rivaling any good chocolate fudge brownie.

All in all a triumph of taste and texture throughout the six menu items.

It shows why 116 Crown not only sets the standard but helps to keep it high with the other restaurants in New Haven and as the title suggests, it really is a little piece of what you’d expect in New York City right here in New England. Enjoy!

TELEPHONE(203) 777 3116

116 Crown

116 Crown Street
New Haven, CT 06510

WEBSITE: 116crown.com


Sun: 5PM – 1AM
Mon: Closed
Tue - Thu: 5PM – 1AM
Fri & Sat: 5PM – 2AM

The kitchen is open until midnight every night 116 Crown is open.

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