saltwater sommelier

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

A very bubbly start to 2011…

In Uncategorized on December 26, 2010 at 9:43 pm

The raw bar at the Saltwater Grille will be open all weekend long serving freshly shucked Blue Point Oysters, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, and Rhode Little Neck Clams.  Hailed to be some of the best oysters Connecticut has to offer, on par with the oysters at NYC’s famous Grand Central Oyster Bar, the Saltwater Grille oysters are the perfect pairing for your New Years Eve Champagne, sparkling cocktail, or glass of Chardonnay.

Most crisp white wines will pair well with chilled shellfish but Chardonnay and Champagne seem to be the most classic pairings.  Chardonnay happens to be one of the main grape varietals used in the signature Champagne blend (the others being Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).  On the Saltwater Grille wine by the glass list (a new personal favorite of mine) is Kim Crawford’s un-oaked New Zealand Chardonnay.  For $10 a glass Kim Crawford’s Chard is in a category of it’s own when tasted up against two other by the glass Chardonnay pours: Sonoma Cutrer $12 a glass (California toasty, oak aged) and Louis Jadot $9 a glass (pristine, crisp, Burgundian style). Being un-oaked provides the opportunity for the Kim Crawford Chard to exhibit an abundance of fruit flavors, specifically apple and pear.  It is easy drinking and pairs well with a wide variety of dishes from chicken, to salads, to shellfish, and of course oysters.

As the in house sommelier I recommend the 2005 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine from California on the Saltwater Grille list for $60 a bottle.  Made in the traditional Methode Champenoise style this is a “splurge pick” for your special New Years Eve dinner.  Also on the wine list is our house Domaine Ste Michelle Sparkling Wine at $34 per bottle.

Parisienne Southside Royale


In the mood for a cocktail to toast to 2011?  We will be serving an array of festive Champagne infused cocktails all weekend long for you to choose from. Try the Parisienne Southside Royale (St. Germain, Tanqueray 10, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, and Champagne) for a semi dry, floral sparkler.  Or the brightly colored Razz Champagne Cocktail (made with Raspberry Puree and Stoli Razz Vodka , topped with sparkling wine and garnished with raspberries.   The Pear Bellini is another great choice made with our own pear puree and sparkling wine.

Toasting to a delicious 2010 at the Saltwater Grille and many more to come.  Cheers! Brett Clugston, SWG Sommelier


Christmas Eve Menu…

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm

inspired by the feast of the seven fishes


∙ Connecticut Clam Chowder cup 6~ bowl 9~

∙ Daily Bisque cup 6~ bowl 9~

∙ Spicy Mango and Lime Shrimp 15~ bean sprouts, scallions

∙ Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tartlet 12~ baby arugula, yellow tomato

∙ Christmas Eve Escargots Royale 14~

∙ Angel Hair Pasta 13~ shallots, green peas, parmesan cream

∙ Steamed Little Neck Clams and Mussels 18~ white wine garlic butter

Oysters Rockefeller 15~

∙ Frito Misto 16~ crispy scallops and smelts, tobiko remoulade

House Smoked Trout 15~ chef’s fruit preserves

Feast of the Seven Fishes Sampler featuring seven favorites from the sea 28~
snow crab, fried smelt, fried calamari, steamed lobster claw, smoked trout, grilled shrimp, and steamed mussels
served w/ horseradish cream & drawn butter

~Raw Bar~

Chilled Seafood Assortment 28~
featuring seven selections from our raw bar (serves 2-4)
two oysters, two clams, two shrimp cocktail, two lobster claws, lump crab, tuna tartar, and smoked salmon

raw bar items served on crushed ice with cocktail and mignonette, seven pieces order

∙ Blue Point Oysters ½ shell 15~
∙ Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 17~
∙ Rhode Island Little Neck clams ½ shell  14~


Saffron Coconut Curry Seafood Simmer 34~ featuring seven fishes
mussels, lobster, lump crab, snow crab, sole, shrimp, and scallops, served with steamed texmati rice

∙ Crispy Skin Long Island Duck Breast 31~ clementine cranberry jam, wild rice, escarole

∙ 14 oz grilled New York Sirloin 32~ melted maytag blue cheese, crispy spiced shallots, garlic mashed potatoes

∙ 7 oz. Rosemary Cumin Crusted Lamb Chops (2 per order) 32~ mint jelly, goat cheese potato cake

∙ Grilled Centercut Swordfish 31~ san marzano tomatoes, capers, black olives, crispy fried onion rings

∙ Grilled Colossal Shrimp 29~ organic zucchini, casino bourbon butter

∙ Baked Stuffed Lobster Tail 37~ lump crab, sautéed broccoli rabe

∙ Seafood Spinach Linguini 31~ lump crab, jumbo shrimp, little neck clams, light tomato garlic herb clam broth

∙ Fresh Made Butternut Squash Ravioli 24~ sweet apple sausage, parmesan sage broth, New England Spice, crumbled goat cheese

∙ Petite Filet Mignon and Maine Lobster Tail 38~ steak sauce, drawn butter, garlic mashed potato

∙ Maine Lobster Tail and Grilled Shrimp 38~ lemon olive oil, drawn butter, garlic mashed potato

∙ Chicken Paillard, Fried Eggplant 23~ Herbed Ricotta, Housemade Sundried Tomato, Pesto Drizzle

∙ Saltwater Lemon Sole 27~ lemon caper broth, texmati rice, grilled zucchini

∙ Panko Fried Lemon Sole and Butterfly Shrimp 29~ warm coconut curry dip, texmati rice

all entrees served with a saltwater endless salad bowl

~side dishes~

Crispy Scalloped Potatoes

Creamy Spinach Rockefeller

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe, Garlic, EVOO

all side dishes serve 2-4 people 9~ each

Christmas Eve at the SWG, A New Tradition.

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2010 at 2:39 am

Litchfield County has long been regarded as a historic community of rolling hills and New England charm, rich in history, and deep in family tradition. Holiday dinners and family get together seem to be the focus during the winter months spent in this area. Enjoying a wonderfully cooked meal with all the family’s favorites is always high on everyone’s wish list. With Christmas Eve and Christmas Day back to back warranting two large and lavish meals in such a short time, many families have taken up the new tradition of dining out at a comfortable, family friendly, local restaurant. With 2010 being the third year the Litchfield Saltwater Grille will be serving its festive and gourmet, home cooked, Christmas Eve dinner, locals are starting to make this their place.

The SWG Christmas Eve dinner starts at 3:00 pm with its special holiday menu inspired by the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”, along with many of your regular menu favorites.  Chef Albert and his staff have planned a menu with something that everyone is going to enjoy and no one has to do any work.  The perfect place for large or small groups or even a holiday dinner for two next to our fireplace

Great family dinners are easy when one of our professional staff members starts your table off with an array of home cooked traditional appetizers hot from our kitchen. Spicy Mango Shrimp and fresh fried crispy Calamari always brings smiles. Next a chilled display of Littleneck Clams and Blue point Oysters on the half shell along with a platter of iced down jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with our spicy cocktail sauce and tangy seafood mignonette. Find room for one more appetizer and try the Baked Feast of the Seven Fishes. This creation includes seven favorites from the sea, Snow Crab, Clams, Calamari, Lobster, Trout, Mussels, and Shrimp, topped with lemon seafood butter and white breadcrumbs then baked.  Non seafood offering such as “to die for” wild mushroom and goat cheese tartlets, along with angel hair pasta with green peas and Parmigianino cream round out the choices. This year the Grille has a great Managers Special Selection Wine List that has a wonderful selection of fun wines at a 25 plus % discount.

Christmas Eve entrees span the world with many different offerings.  Crispy skin Long Island Duck Breast with Clementine Cranberry jam, Rosemary Cumin crusted Lamp Chops and New York Sirloin with Maytag Blue Cheese and fried shallots are some of the meatier choices. To keep with the seafood theme the Saltwater Sole and the Grilled Swordfish are always a hit.  Chef Albert’s new twist on the Feast of the Seven fishes this year is a simmering dish of Shrimp, Squid, Sole, Lobster, Lump Crab, Mussels and Snow Crab Claws in a saffron Coconut Curry sauce. Grilled Shrimp, Crab stuffed Lobster Tails, and even Butternut Squash Ravioli are offered in some very festive presentations.

What would Christmas Eve be without the best Homemade Desserts around, just like mama made. Chocolate lovers tend to stick with our homemade Chocolate Mousse, while other adventurous diners try the Banana Cream Pie or the lighter than snow, Crème Caramel. Traditionalists enjoy our New York Cheese Cake with the Bing cherry sauce or the Almond Chocolate Cheese Cake.

This turned out to be a great way for the whole family to enjoy spending time eating, talking and being with each other, while not having to spend all day in the kitchen. The Litchfield Saltwater Grille will be serving Christmas Eve Dinner from 3pm to 9pm, so please make your reservations now and start making the SWG your NEW family tradition. The SWG will be closed on Christmas day so all our staff and owners can enjoy the day at home with their families. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night….

Albe Galotta, Chef and Cellar Master





5 Things not to give your boss for Christmas…

In Uncategorized on December 11, 2010 at 8:38 pm

1) Expensive over the top items.  A thoughtful $20 item such as a really nice bottle of olive oil is much more appropriate.

2) Political Items.  You never know where peoples sensitivities lie so it would be best to stay away from any items expressing a certain political view.

3) Money. A gift card to a place you know your boss really likes is a much better option.

4) Personal Items like perfume, after shave, or clothes.  Something related to his or her hobby such as a set of nice golf balls will work well much better.

5) “Promise Note Gifts” Offers to take your boss out to lunch or dinner at a later date are not a great idea.  A tangible holiday card with a nice note signed by you and your co workers will be much more appreciated.

Call 860.567.4900 to order “A Gift in Good Taste” to The Litchfield Saltwater Grille.  We will even mail the gift certificate directly to the recipient for you!

Or take your boss out to lunch before Christmas.  The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is offering a special festive lunch special (for a limited time) at $22.  View the complete details here…

Holiday Brunch Ideas from Champagne Cocktails to Baked Eggs Strada…

In The Kitchen on December 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Try hosting a brunch this holiday season instead of your yearly cocktail party. By choosing to host a brunch you will combine both breakfast and lunch into one meal.  Choose a Saturday or a Sunday with a start time around noon and your guests will sit back and relax for hours. Serve hot apple cider with cinnamon sticks and be sure to have the cider on the stove when guests arrive for a truly sensory effect.  Here are a few delicious and seasonal suggestions:

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

Made from fresh elderflower blossoms, St Germain has a floral nose.  This is the perfect festive cocktail for your holiday brunch.  And very easy to make!

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

½ part St Germain Liquor

Your choice of any dry sparkling wine or Champagne

Served in a Champagne glass and garnished with fresh raspberries or strawberries

Coffee and Tea Coffee is a must for any brunch.  You can also add specialty teas for an added touch.  Harney and Sons (originally based in Connecticut, now in Millerton NY) has a beautiful portfolio of interesting teas.  Specifically “Paris” a black tea with vanilla and caramel flavors is delicious.  For a seasonal tea try the Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice.  Set out a few agave nectars as well as sugar and milk for guests to go with the tea.

Baked Eggs Strada

Quiche is a traditional brunch favorite be it Lorraine style, Florentine, or Broccoli and Cheddar.  For a more filling dish as one of your parties main events try serving a Baked Egg Strada.  This dish can be made the day before and popped in the oven before your guests arrive leaving you plenty of time to mingle.  A strada is a baked dish like a casserole that can be made in many styles.  Connecticut Caterers makes a tomato, basil, mozzarella, smoked bacon, and bread crust strada that is very popular.  Or you might opt to serve a three cheese zucchini vegetarian strada.

Combine breakfast dishes with main entrees.  For example start with smoked salmon and bagels when guests arrive then later on put out your buffet of Hot Shrimp Newberg, asparagus with hollandaise, assorted green and pasta salads, and the baked eggs strada.  Towards the end offer guests mini chocolate mousse cups.

Connecticut Caterers offers brunch party platters to go.  Set up and local delivery is included.  Call 860.567.4900 to speak with party planner Brett Clugston.  View the complete list of brunch platter offerings here.

Brett Clugston, Special Events Planner

December wine picks…

In Sommelier Corner on December 9, 2010 at 3:16 am

A Cold Winter Night calls for a Syrah or Shiraz. Wine Pick: Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz, Australia

These big hearty reds are earthy, meaty, and usually have peppery nuances. Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz, Australia is an awesome new addition to the Saltwater Grille wine by the glass list.  Pair it with our Kona coffee crusted sirloin topped with a black truffle butter.

What to pair with The Christmas Ham: Rose. Wine Pick: 2009 Domaine Sainte-Eugenie Rose Corbieres France

A honey glazed ham matches perfectly with a dry rose.  This rose is typical French style, dry as opposed to some of the bubblegum fruity roses produced in California (also really good).

Pinot Noir is not going out of style anytime soon.  If you are hosting a party Pinot Noir is a must have.  Pinot’s from France, California, and New Zealand are all on the lighter to medium bodied side for red wines and they are all quite different.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Brancott Pinot Noir, New Zealand
  • Albert Bichot Pinot Noir, Burgundy
  • Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir, Oregon

Winter White Pick: Riesling.  J. Lohr White Riesling Monterey County

This time of year requires a heaver white wine to stand up to the hearty winter dishes.  Riesling’s usually have a nice viscosity and touch of sweetness that will pair well with winter chutneys, creamy risottos, root vegetables, and even pot roasts.

Enjoy 20% off select wines when you host a holiday party at The Litchfield Saltwater Grille.  View the complete list.

Brett Clugston

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire…

In The Kitchen on December 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Holiday dinners are always fun, filled with lots of joyous memories of family, friends, and food. Enjoying the traditional home cooked dishes that people bring every year adds to the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season.  Making the time to relax and spend with your family, makes all the extra rushing around worthwhile. I have always enjoyed the types of foods that get everyone at the table working, talking, eating and enjoying together. Never has there been an Italian Feast worth its weight in Mozzarella, that didn’t near its end with a large pan of hot oven Roasted Chestnuts.  This abundant Italian nut can be roasted on open coals, cooked in a wood stoked fire, or simply roasted in a heavy pan in a gas oven. Chestnuts are the perfect treat that get the whole family involved while enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Most local produce markets carry fresh Chestnuts; buy about 8 to 10 per person a few days before you are going to serve them. First step is to wash the chestnuts then with a sharp knife put an X style cut in each chestnut shell. Roast the chestnuts in their shell on a small cookie sheet or a more traditional black iron skillet in a preheated oven of 425degrees. Twenty to twenty five minutes should make them tender on the inside along with a crisp “very” hot shell on the outside. Directly after they come out of the oven they should be served to the family at the dinner table. Many families like to serve them in a clean towel as to keep them warm as possible.  Have your espresso, and Sambuca ready if you like because it’s time for everyone to start shelling while their hot. Using your two thumbs, working from the cut in the middle of the shell, push the hot shell backwards to expose the warm nut. The shell should come off easily making them ready for the enjoying. A large batch of hot Chestnuts always gets everyone at the table interacting, laughing, eating, and truly enjoying the holidays together.

Albe Galotta , Chef and Cellar Master SWG