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Nellie Green’s Restaurant

Restaurant Review - Branford, Connecticut

By Ralph Papp | April 22, 2012

The View from the Restaurant
Thai Chicken Salad Wrap
Fresh Local Mozzarella Pannini
Braised Beef Short Rib
Beef Wellington Bites
Seared Block Island Tuna

Ralph Papp discovers the delights of a restaurant named after local legend Nellie Green.

The Legend of Nellie Green tells us that, in the 1920s, Nellie ran a speakeasy out of the Talmadge Hotel, in what is now the Short Beach area of Branford.   During Prohibition, Nellie had a “reputation as the fastest rumrunner along the East Coast.” She was “brawny, honest, colorful, and tough-talking, but she was a lady, never heard to utter an obscenity.” When Prohibition ended in 1933, Nellie went legit and operated a famous nightclub known simply as Nellie Green’s.   Nellie died in 1952, but her spirit lives on…

As you approach the hidden gem that is Nellie Green’s Restaurant, do not be deterred by the ride through the seemingly ramshackle warehouses of the Branford Marina.   A friend of mine once commented, “I feel like you’re driving me to the set of my grisly, slasher-movie death!” Alas, she survived the experience, and so will you! Let’s face it, there’s really nothing THAT seedy about the Branford Marina.

Proprietor Mike Savinelli has created a restaurant comprising a refined dining room of muted yellow tones, a comfortable bar, and a relaxed patio overlooking fishing boats and yachts.   The waterside patio is a distinctly sublime spot to enjoy the sun, the salt air, and the serenity of the shoreline.   For me and a group of coworkers, it was a perfect, sunny end to the day.

Executive Chef Jason Truscio is particularly proud of his new menu, which is quite vast and sure to satisfy even the pickiest customer.   Diverse appetizers, raw bar selections, salads, sandwiches and burgers, and entrees run the gamut of ingredients, with a heavy leaning towards seafood.

For starters, I recommend the Point Judith Crispy Calamari, which features local caught calamari, cherry pepper aioli and classic marinara sauce ($11).   Also wonderfully light and aromatic on a hot summer night was the Lobster Sliders of butter poached Rockport lobster meat, citrus aioli, and micro greens ($14).   And the Seared Block Island Tuna with sticky rice, seaweed salad (by far the most delicious seaweed salad imaginable – I could have eaten NOTHING but this all evening and been completely, sublimely happy!), toasted sesame Ponzu, and wasabi was mouthwatering ($9).

For the land lover, I recommend the Beef Wellington Bites for its filets of beef, mushroom confit, delicately puffed pastry, and braised veal and onion glaze ($9).

After these wonderful appetizers, there was barely room for entrees, but we soldiered on bravely, perhaps summoning the tough New England spirit of Nellie herself.   Our entrees included the delectable Fresh Local Mozzarella Panini with East Haven mozz, vine tomatoes, basil, imported Italian ham, extra virgin olive oil, and pesto aioli ($10).

The Thai Chicken Salad Wrap of sweet chili roasted chicken, tarragon, scallions, red grapes, toasted almonds, and romaine hearts was the only less-than-satisfying plate of the evening, as its taste did not live up to its description ($10).   And finally, I was captivated by the Braised Beef Short Ribs of boneless short rib, Espresso rub, Yukon gold potato puree, heirloom tomato confit, and port wine ($22).

It must also be noted that our server, Courtney, was exactly what every server should be.   She was wonderfully attentive yet not over-bearing, knowledgeable about the new menu, enthusiastic, and warm.

For our group, Nellie Green’s Restaurant offered the perfect combination of waterside relaxation, fresh air, a sublime sunset view, and wonderful food.   So, brave the drive through the warehouses reminiscent of a slasher-movie set until you arrive at the lovely setting of the Branford Marina, and soak up the spirit that is Nellie Green’s.

TELEPHONE(203) 483 8400

Nellie Green’s Restaurant
50 Maple Street
Branford, CT 06405

WEBSITE: www.nelliegreens.com


Sun: 8:30AM - 9PM

Mon - Thu: 11:30AM - 9PM

Fri & Sat: 11:30AM - 10PM

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