Recently we were fortunate to be part of a media dinner tour of three eateries right in the heart of SoNo (South Norwalk). Historic Washington Street is humming with a vibrant energy as the street is line with restaurants, bars, shops and galleries. Our tour guides were the wonderful people from Norwalk Now and MaxEx Public Relations. Our three hour tour include newcomer Public Wine Bar, Cask Republic and Saltwater.
Public Wine Bar– a recent addition to SoNo is Public Wine Bar. The space is beautifully designed and has an air of casual elegance. Starters include items running from a Steak Tartar to Grilled Octopus to Pear Argula Salad. The menu can best be described as Meditterrean with an infusion of New England. Our culinary tour started with a cocktail, the Public 88 which is the innovative infusion of orchid with Tito’s Vodka and topped with Brut Rose Cava. A nice light delicious cocktail.
We sampled three delicious items including the Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad over a parmesan risotto cake with truffle vinaigrette which was fantastic. The Spicy Salmon Tartar was a nice change from the usual Tuna Tartar menu offering and spiced up with a dash of jalapenos, and lemon sriracha vinaigrette.
Entrees included a delicious Chicken and Wild Mushroom Pappardelle, a dish crafted from organic chicken, fresh herbs, truffle oil and a dash of parmesan. A delightful dish. We finished with a seafood favorite, Salmon A La Plancha, a nicely grilled piece of fresh salmon served with smashed fingerling potatoes and with a zesty mustard beurre blanc sauce. We were really impressed with our samplings of this new restaurant and hope to return soon to experience more of their menu and glasses from the wine list.
Cask Republic- a staple in the middle of Washington Street, Cask Republic has the warmth and charm of an upscale tavern, but is friendly and casual in its atmosphere. Housed in a former bank building, the space is warm and has the appearance of a fine club. The bank vault even remains at the back of the dining room. Cask has been described as an “elevated tavern” as cocktails are top notch and fun. We sample the summery Blue Wave with rum, coconut rum, fresh lime, oj and blue curacao. I want another right now! There is also an extensive wine list, and a rotating list of beers on tap.
We sampled the Stir Fried Cauliflower with sesame seeds and a sesame ginger aioli which was a hit at our table. The Pesto Mac and Cheese was also a big hit with its combo of pasta, aged Amish cheddar and pesto. A real nice variation of this comfort food. Beef empanadas were spicy and delish with a bit of kick from the red chimichurri and the pepper aioli which provided just a bit of heat.
We concluded with the Cask Republic Burger. Though we rarely order burgers when dining this award winning dish was full of taste thanks to its blend of short rib, brisket and sirloin. Cask Republic is one of our favorites in SoNo and thanks to their constant updating of the cocktails and menu, it is always fun to return again and again.
Saltwater- We really looked forward to visiting this seafood eatery. Saltwater has a Nantucket inspired beach feel about it from its beautiful bar area, casual outdoor seating, to its more intimate dining spaces in the back of the restaurant. The entire interior design of the cool eatery transports you the beach. We started our visit here with a Coconut Mojito, this Cuban classic cocktail set the mood for our last stop on our culinary tour.
PEI Mussels are always a favorite with us and these fresh mussels are purchased daily (as is all the seafood) and served in ver jus ( a juice from unripe grapes) and garlic toast. The Kale Salad was light and healthy and included beets, carrots, goat cheese, nuts, in a sweet orange vinaigrette dressing. A nice break in the menu for additional seafood to follow.
Fried Calamari is always a solid staple at many Italian and seafood restaurants, and this calamari served with marinara was light and crispy. We concluded with Fish and Chips, with fresh cod beer battered and served with fries. Saltwater has a an extensive menu including seafood, pasta and land options. Since we just had a sampling, we are really looking forward to visiting again soon
Our three hour culinary tour was a fun and food filled evening, and hopefully will get you motivated to investigate the great dining scene in SoNo. The area also has the Maritime Aquarium, bike rentals, the Wall Street Theater and more!
Public Wine Bar
Cask Republic SoNo
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