Tuesday, July 28, 2020

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 242, For Sushi Lovers: The 25 Best Sushi Restaurants in Connecticut

By James V. Ruocco

Bluefin Tuna Nigiri
Hamachi Citrus Sashimi
Doen Jang Geegae
Smoked Salmon Sushi
Yaki Udon
Ginger Shrimp on Crispy Rice
Kimchi Jeyuk Bokkeum
Truffle Wasabi Tuna Dumpling
Boo Samm
Baby Bok Choy & Napa Cabbage

Connecticut is responsible for gifting sushi lovers with a number of restaurant choices to wet their palate, indulge in menu-friendly appetizers, soups, dinners and afters and utilize the traditional and inventive delicacies handcrafted by chefs and prepared authentically to satisfy your cravings.

It's dining culture of every price range expanded attentively to your liking to cities like Westport, Fairfield, New Haven, Greenwich, Hartford and Farmington, among others.

You can order a prix fixe gourmet sushi classic. You can splurge on quintessential Asian cuisine that's well worth kicking your American Express card into overdrive. You can enjoy colorful, creative plates from an eclectic menu of high-quality food. And finally, you can take a chance on something new that can easily pack a surprise punch.

The choice, of course, is yours.
To make things easy, here's your guide to the very best sushi restaurants in the state.
Feel the spark.
Let the true star of the plate shine.
Succumb to the vibe of meals of freewheeling creativity.
Set your expectations high when naming and selecting the restaurant of your choice.

That said, here's your list of the very best,

In alphabetical order:

Bamboo Asian Cuisine
3 Melrose Drive
Farmington, CT
Phone: (860) 409-0888

Daiko Japanese Restaurant & Jerry-San's Sushi Bar
400 Derby Ave
West Haven, CT
Phone: (203) 392-3626

Dozo Asian Bistro & Sushi
1450 Whalley Ave
New Haven, CT
Phone: (203) 387-4898

Feng Chophouse
93 Asylum St
Hartford, CT
Phone: (860) 549-3364

Fin Japanese Restaurant
1241 Post Road
Fairfield, CT
Phone: (203) 255-6788

Fusion 25
123 S Main St
Newtown, CT
Phone: (203) 304-9688

Ginza Japanese Restaurant
1295 Silas Deane Highway
Westhersfield, CT
Phone: (860) 563-8855

Ichiban Japanese & Korean
530 Farmington Ave
Hartford, CT
Phone: (860) 236-5599

Ichiro Hibachi & Sushi
962 Farmington Ave
West Hartford, CT
Phone: (203) 465-1055

Jade Garden in Woodbury
670 Main St S
Woodbury, CT
Phone: (203) 586-5070

Kama Sushi Japanese Restaurant
2410 Main St
Stratford, CT
Phone: (203) 381-9366

Ki Asian Bistro & Sushi
7 Eagle Rd
Danbury, CT
Phone: (203) 942-2916

Little Kitchen of Westport
420 Post Road E
Westport, CT
Phone: (203) 454-5540

Meadow Asian Cuisine
532 Hopmeadow St
Simsbury, CT
Phone: (860) 408-9800

Miku Sushi
68 Greenwich Ave
Greenwich, CT
Phone: (203) 900-7676

Miso Japanese Restaurant
15 Orange St
New Haven, CT
(203) 848-6472

Miya's Sushi
68 Howe St
New Haven, CT
Phone: (203) 777-9760

6 Wilton Rd
Westport, CT
Phone: (203) 557-8404

Red Corner Asian Bistro
780 Lakewood Rd
Waterbury, CT
Phone: (203) 753-8889

Sakura Japanese Steak House
544 Straits Turnpike
Watertown, CT
Phone: (860) 417-6010

Singo Sushi
1480 Meriden Road
Waterbury, CT
Phone: (203) 465-1055

Tengda of Westport
1330 Post Road E
Westport, CT
Phone: (203) 255-6115

Tisumi Sushi
2850 Main St
Glastonbury, CT
Phone: (860) 408-2826

Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
172 Queen St
Southington, CT
Phone: (860) 276-0706

Wild Rice
370 Main St
Norwalk, CT
(203) 849-1688

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 241, Connecticut Theatre News: Playhouse on Park, Thrown Stone

By James V. Ruocco

The theater may be closed due to the current pandemic, but Playhouse on Park (244 Park Road, West Hartford, CT) is alive and well this summer with its popular "From the Porch - A Summer Series" coming this August to the Hill-Stead Museum (35 Mountain Road, Farmington, CT).

On August 26, the theater will present a special 90-minute cabaret of show tunes, popular jazz standards and so much more. The production, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m., reunites the "Falcetti Four" who performed two years ago at Blue Back Square as part of Playhouse on Park's outreach program. They are Hillary Ekwall, Carolyn (Cumming) Burke, Rick Fountain and Amanda Forker.

"Comedy Night" is also part of the "Front Porch" series and will be presented August 21 at 6:30 p.m. Linda Belt and Howie Mason headline the event.
Belt, a New Jersey native who moved to Connecticut in 1987, has performed in a number of comedy festivals including the Hogtown Comedy Festival in Toronto, the Boston Comedy Festival, Atlantic City's Tropicana and NYC's Broadway Comedy Club. Mason is best known for comedy gigs at Mohegan Sun, the Funny Bone and the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA.

Tickets to both events are $25, but will not be sold at the door.
You can order them by calling (860) 523-5900 (extension 10) during regular business hours or in person at Playhouse on Park, Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On the night of the event, your name and size of your party will be included on a list at the gate of the Hill-Stead Museum. Since the event is outdoors, patrons can bring their own food, chairs, drinks and blankets. Face masks are mandatory.

"The health and safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority," reports the Hill-Stead Museum."In the interest of everyone's personal safety and community health, guests are advised to practice physical distancing by standing at least six feet away from other groups of people not traveling with them while standing in lines and moving around the property.
"Children must stay with adults at all times and a minimum of six-feet distance must be maintained between all other non-family members.
"Face masks must be worn by all visitors six years of age and above. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed at entrances and high contact areas. A first aid station will also be accessible.
"We are closely monitoring government policy changes. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, government mandates and public health advancements will be in place and updated as necessary to appropriate protocols and procedures."

The Daniel E. Offutt Charitable Trust has awarded Ridgefield's Thrown Stone (440 Main St., Ridgefield, CT) a grant to commission a new play about artist Ammi Phillips (1788-1865).
For those unfamiliar with the art of Phillips, he worked mostly as a traveling portrait painter throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York during the early 1800s. His life also coincided with the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and the gradual abolition of Slavery in Connecticut between 1784 and 1848 - a time of massive change in America. His story, in turn, reflects on the changes facing us today, but in the same region, two centuries later.

Born in Colebrook, Connecticut in 1788, Phillips painted for more than fifty years, producing as many as two thousand portraits in so many disparate styles that his works were once believed to have been drawn by several different artists. Many of them, executed in towns along the New York-Massachusetts border, are distinguished by a light, almost pastel palate offset by three-quarter or full-length figures with dark-lined eyes and primitive attempts at conveying volume.

A century after his death in 1865, Phillips was given his first one-man exhibition, followed by a major showcase three years later, which celebrated his artistic legacy. Today, he is recognized as one of the most important and prolific portraitists in nineteenth-century America. His works are currently on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Folk Art.

"I first learned about Ammi Philips on 'Searching For the Lost Limner,' an episode of  'Davis Dunavin's Off the Path' podcast," explains Jonathan Winn, co-artistic director of Thrown Stone. "He lived on the early American frontier, but rarely signed his own work.
"The podcast explored the fascinating story of how his legacy as one of the most prolific folk painters of his time was uncovered. It also reflected on living through great change as it looked through the lens of contemporary values, and the life and career of Ammi Philips."

To bring the story of Ammi Philips to life, Thrown Stone chose award-winning playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger to write the play. Currently commissioned by the Wilma Theatre, the Arden Theater, the L'Engle Estate, the Kennedy Center and the Florida Studio Theater, Goldfinger has a proven track record of successful commissions. She is also the recipient of the Yale Drama Prize, the Smith Prize, the Barrymore Award, the Philadelphia Critic's Award and the Generations Award.

"We approached Jacqui because we are moved by her ability - in plays like 'The Arsonists' and the Yale Award-winning 'Bottle Fly' - to create complex tapestries of the American experience," states Jason Peck, co-artistic director of Thrown Stone. "Her characters are everyday, often overlooked Americans whose struggle we connect with, while acknowledging their problematic legacies."

Work on the new play is scheduled to begin in January, 2021. Pubic readings and workshops of the play will be held in October, 2021 at various venues including the Ridgefield Library, the Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center, the Ridgefield Historical Society, the Kent Historical Society and other Connecticut-based organizations. The American Folk Art Museum, whose collection includes several paintings by Phillips, will be working with Thrown Stone in an advisory capacity for this new work.

"Thrown Stone's mission is to engage our region with new and reimagined theatre," adds Peck, "presenting it in intimate settings, creating a body of work that moves, connects, and challenges all who join in the conversation."

For more information, call (203) 442-1714.