saltwater sommelier

Archive for the ‘The Insider View’ Category

Recipe Spring Strawberry Salad with Baby Romaine Hearts, Maytag Blue Cheese, Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

In The Insider View, The Kitchen on March 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

For the Vinaigrette:

1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Cup Olive Oil (Good Olive Oil for dressings)

A few basil leaves, chopped

1 Clove Fresh Minced Garlic

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Julienne two cups of romaine lettuce.  Slice or quarter one cup of strawberries.  Crumbled Blue Cheese to taste.  Toss ingredients with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.  Garnish with tomato, red onions, and radishes.

Reserve some dressing and marinade shrimp for 20-30 minutes before grilling.  Add grilled shrimp to the salad if you would like.

Chef Albert Clugston III

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille

Or: Come in to The Saltwater Grille during Administrative Professionals Week and let us prepare this special Spring dish for you.  View the complete luncheon special here…


Think Global – Act Local

In The Insider View on October 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Presenting the Saltwater Grille’s Homemade Line of Food Products

In our world today, with all its economic uncertainty, corporate doubt, and forebode of environmental crises, it is becoming increasingly more important (and rather trendy) to turn to local business and products for your needs and services. Litchfield County is a leader in the local movement, serving as the Mecca for farmer’s homegrown goods and premier Connecticut products. Neighborhood food markets offer up everything from hometown honey to artisan breads and dairy products to wine from local vineyards.

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is proud to make its mark on the scene by introducing its homemade line of jams, marinades, relishes, salad dressings, chutneys, and more. There is nothing more comforting in autumn than a home-cooked meal. Bring the great tastes of the Litchfield Saltwater Grille straight to your kitchen through our homemade goods. Hot Apple Chutney, Port Wine Fig and Shallot Compote, Key Lime Kiwi Mint Sauce, and 5-Spice Hard Apple Cider Sauce are just some of the goods offered through our restaurant.

On October 8, the Litchfield Saltwater Grille was one of many participating restaurants in “A Tasteful Event,” held in Middlebury, Connecticut. Their new line of products debuted and was a hit with the crowd as they took home two awards for “People’s Choice” and “Most Palate Pleasing.”

The products are available at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille website and can be purchased for delivery and pick up. These products make a great holiday gifts and assorted gift baskets will be available soon. From our kitchen to yours, we hope to bring you quality local products this holiday season – and always.

Marion Herbert, Inside Blogger

“It’s always happy hour somewhere”

In The Insider View on October 8, 2009 at 2:09 pm

This is the motto for overtired, well-worn, thirsty workers around the globe.  And Monday through Friday — between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m. — that somewhere is at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille.

Happy hours are universally recognized as a time to snag discounted appetizers and drinks. This period, which is rarely offered for just a mere hour, offers more than a budget friendly menu. Happy hour at your local watering hole is a place of refuge from a strenuous work day and a communal environment to gather with colleagues and friends.  The Saltwater Grille’s fireplace lounge and bar is Litchfield’s premiere happy hour location, offering quality food and drinks at the happiest of prices.

Our lounge menu, which features everything from spinach and artichoke dip to shrimp and avocado salad, is ½ priced during happy hour times. This includes such dishes as the peanut chicken skewers with apple slaw at $4.50, steamed mussels for $7.00, or a shrimp Caesar salad for $8.00. These plates are great for sharing with friends or as an individual post work pick-me-up. The quality and service of our fine dining food doesn’t change – just the prices.

The most important element during this time — and the one that makes it quite so happy — are the featured drinks. Any draft beer, including Heineken, Guinness stout, Sam Adams seasonal, Brooklyn Pilsner, and New Castle Brown Ale, are $3.00. If a cocktail is more your cup of tea, or rather, drink of choice, then you may be interested in our fabulous drink specials. $5.00 well drinks along with $6.00 call drinks for any martini, mixed drink, or drink on the rocks. Relax with a classic cosmopolitan, a trendy Manhattan, or one of the Saltwater Grille’s specialty fall cocktails.  $5.00 white and red happy hour wine specials are also available.

Make your transition from the office to home a bit more comforting by first stopping at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille; a great place to bring old friends, make new ones, and enjoy all our specials during the happiest of all hours. See you soon!

Marion Herbert, Inside Blogger

Holiday party planning at the grille…

In The Insider View on September 28, 2009 at 2:21 pm

The holiday season, although deemed the most wonderful time of the year, most always seems to be one of the frenzied periods as well. Quaint notions of baking apple crisps, decorating trees, and buying loved ones gifts are shattered as the proverbial clock ticks faster and the days leading up to the holidays grow shorter and more hectic.

In the spirit of giving, we at the Saltwater Grille would like to alleviate some of your stress during this special time of the year. Book your office or family holiday parties at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille and let us do the work. Whether an intimate gathering with coworkers or a large get-together with the staff, we have the menus and space to cater to all your needs.

Our cozy loft is well suited for any event. Located above our fireplace lounge, it provides a picturesque atmosphere and privacy for your holiday affair. Tired of the same grab bag routine year after year? Instead, grab your colleagues and friends and reserve a table in one of our three dining rooms for some celebratory cocktails and fine festive dining.

Connecticut Caterers, a venture of the Litchfield Saltwater Grille, can accommodate all your holiday events. We provide the same extraordinary service and quality food for small parties of eight as we do for large parties upwards of 300 guests. Hosting a holiday event at your home? Our extensive menu offers a wide variety of platters to appease any group for these special occasions. Enjoy some crispy salmon cakes, lobster and crab stuffed mushrooms, baked oysters, or butternut squash ravioli as you gather into the conference room with your coworkers this December.

As autumn gets underway, if ever for a moment you feel the hectic holiday winds begin to sweep you off your feet, know that the Litchfield Saltwater Grille is on hand to assist you with all your festive needs. See you soon!

Marion Herbert, Inside Blogger

Healthy kids Menu at the LSWG…

In The Insider View on September 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Dining out with young children sometimes poses a few challenges. Kids are, in more cases than not, picky eaters. Some will only eat chicken fingers morning, noon, and night, while other – more mature children – appreciate a menu that offers them some “big kid” choices. At the Litchfield Saltwater Grille, we pride ourselves in our elaborate kid’s menu offering plentiful and healthy options.

There are a few staples no kid’s menu can be without: chicken fingers, burgers, pasta, and fries. The Saltwater Grille offers these kiddie basics with a flare that will keep your youngsters happy. If pizza is your thing, our French bread with tomato and mozzarella will be sure to please. Ravioli is a crowd favorite for any age. Put aside the Chef Boyardee because we offer homemade cheese or our signature butternut squash ravioli on our menu.

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is renowned for having a bountiful list of options. Choice is important when dining at our restaurant. The same goes for the children. Our child entrees come with their choice of rice or potato du jour. Our healthy options include Bell and Evans grilled chicken breast with baby carrots, grilled jumbo shrimp, Atlantic grilled salmon filet with vegetables, or a perfectly sized 6 oz. steak sirloin.

To say the least, the Litchfield Saltwater Grille is quite child friendly. Whether celebrating your child’s birthday, their big win on the soccer field, or prize winning science project, we hope to be the go to place for your next family outing. See you soon!

Marion Herbert, LSWG Inside Blogger

September 22 marks the first day of autumn…

In The Insider View on September 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Litchfield County, although nestled between the metropolises of New York and Boston, is not widely known for its action packed nightlife or fast paced lifestyle. What it is better recognized for, however, is its timeless New England culture, and perhaps most notably, for foliage and food.

September 22 marks the first day of autumn, a time of the year when the New England countryside is in its prime. Scenic drives become a local sport as the leaves change from green to bronze making the Litchfield hills a beautiful patchwork of warm yellow, orange, and brown shades. This fall foliage set as the backdrop in the quintessential colonial town of Litchfield exemplifies New England culture. And there is no restaurant that is more New England, or more American, than the Litchfield Saltwater Grille.

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is an American inspired restaurant. Traditional dishes such as our Montauk Bouillabaisse, Twin Maine Lobster Tails, Butternut Squash Ravioli, and Cedar Plank Atlantic Salmon are offered up with a twist and a touch of elegance. We offer a variety of items from our raw bar, including an assortment dubbed the American Way, which includes a variety of our Little Neck Rhode Island Clams, Blue Point Oysters from Long Island, Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, and scallop seafood salad.

When the fall chill sets in, the Saltwater Grille’s lounge may be the most coveted space in Litchfield. Our stone fireplace and wooden beams create a cozy, warm environment. Fight the cold with a bowl of Connecticut Clam Chowder. This classic New England chowder is made entirely from Connecticut based products, including Connecticut clams, Nodine’s smoked apple bacon, and dairy products from Arethusa Farms in Litchfield. Enjoy a refreshing beverage such as the seasonal Sam Adams Oktoberfest draft or a smooth wine from our extensive collection.

Celebrate this special time of the year and all it has to offer at Connecticut’s finest country restaurant, the Litchfield Saltwater Grille.

Marion Herbert, LSWG Inside Blogger

Movie Julie and Julia Stirs our Interest

In The Insider View on September 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

While meandering Borders bookstore this week, I found myself browsing the front tables where the trendy and “very now” reads are displayed, when I saw something familiar. It was Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle. It is a book that has most likely not been coined as trendy since it was first published in 1961.

The new hit movie, Julie and Julia appears to have spurred a newfound interest in not only French cuisine but the culinary arts as a whole. Based on two true tales, the movie follows Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, as an endearing, yet lost, young wife who begins to blog about her experiences cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook. Simultaneously, Meryl Streep gives an adoring portrayal of Julia Child and her cooking efforts in Paris and her journey to becoming a household name.

Perhaps it is fairer to say that the movie didn’t rekindle an interest but rather tapped into a passion that was already alive in our society. Culinary arts have always been a mainstream interest of pop culture. Society as a whole has a natural interest in chefs and the food industry, and it is not just for those with a talent for cooking. I will sit glued to the Food Network for hours, watching someone talk me through how they chop up vegetables and broil pork chops knowing that I am still going to eat cereal for dinner.

Why the fascination? Perhaps it is not the cooking but rather what the cooking represents. Food is an essential part of our lives. It serves as the centerpiece for social gatherings with friends and family. The preparation is just part of the experience. Perhaps we watch these shows and read these books not necessarily because we’re dying to know how to broil pork chops, but rather we’re yearning for the experience of preparing a meal. Whether you are baking cookies with your daughter, preparing something for your family’s dinner table, or testing your skills in the kitchen solo, you are learning something new about yourself creating something you are proud of for all to enjoy.

Julia Child once said, “It’s fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That’s what human life is all about – enjoying things.” She was personable, confident, and a joy to watch with a brilliant story. Through this movie, America was reminded why it is that we love food.

Marion Herbert, SWG Inside Blogger

Dining to blog by Marion Herbert…

In The Insider View on August 31, 2009 at 5:15 pm

At the Litchfield Saltwater Grille, we aim to provide our guests with a superior fine dining experience. As the server, however, there comes a time when you think about what it would be like if the tides turned and we were the ones sitting at the table.

Last week, I rounded up the Herbert clan and headed towards the center of Litchfield as I’ve done countless times before. This time, however, I was going out to dinner.

Walking through the doors of the Saltwater Grille as a customer is an entirely different experience. I suddenly had a greater appreciation for the aesthetics of the building and its evening ambiance. We took a seat at a large table in the lounge. We were promptly greeted with refreshing water, warm bread, and told the plethora of tasty specials for that evening. As an employee, I know this routine like the back of my hand. As the customer, however, I still couldn’t help but be impressed by the seamless service and fluid, flowing nature in which everyone worked together to tend to the needs of our table.

Perhaps the only challenge of dining at the Saltwater Grille is deciding what to eat. Fortunately for me, I had been studying this extensive menu for quite some time and knew what exactly what I would order if and when I had the chance to eat here. That dream dish was the lemon sole. When Julia Child had her first bite of sole in France, she had a “culinary epiphany” and it changed her world. Perhaps then it could do wonders for my Monday night.

And, oh my, did it ever. After one bite I knew that it truly was as good as it looked. The sole was drizzled in lemon caper butter and complimented with grilled zucchini and classic Texmati white rice. I looked around the table at my family all dolled up in lobster bibs, as they had all ordered our signature Monday lobster dinner. Although they were unwilling to share with me, their clean plates suggested they enjoyed every bite.  For dessert, I ordered the crème caramel, a flan dish with a fabulous caramel drizzle. Naturally, I had to help myself to the homemade chocolate mousse and strawberries with Anglaise sauce my family ordered. (I told them it was really important research for my blog…) I can report back that those too were nothing short of perfection.

I must admit, throughout dinner it was a bit difficult to resist the urge to organize the menus, refold our napkins, or jump behind the bar to fetch our drinks. Finally, I just took a few deep breaths and let our server, Elise, do her job – a job that she does so well – while I chatted with my family, finished my wine, and listened to the light jazz music that filled the room. After all, life gets busy and everyone – including us bartenders – deserves a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy the finer things in life.

Marion Herbert, SWG Inside Blogger

Behind the Scenes of Monday Lobster Night

In The Insider View on August 24, 2009 at 2:51 pm

An Insiders View Blog by Marion Herbert, SWG Bartender

For the staff of the Litchfield Saltwater Grille, Monday Lobster Night requires much preparation, both mental and physical, as we organize our reservations, review our specials, and stock our barracks with over 80 fresh lobsters.

Each Monday, our commander and chief of the kitchen and his troops arrive very early to receive the fresh lobsters from Kennebunkport, Maine. To say the lobsters are fresh may be an understatement, as they arrive still kickin’ and alive. These 1 1/3 pound crustaceans are kept refrigerated until their time comes to be steamed. Batches of lobsters are rotated and steamed continuously throughout the evening to provide the freshest taste.

Next, it’s time to go to conquer this savory sea creature. We provide a lemon fork and lobster cracker to make this operation a little less daunting, along with a bib to make it just a tad bit neater. There are a few different strategies to keep in mind as you plan your attack. You could systematically dismember the lobster by holding each end of the tail, which will come apart easily, and hallow out the meat from the pre-crushed claw. Or, you could take a more aggressive approach like Chef Albert. “I usually just give it a dirty look and go after it… with lots of butter.” Add a fresh ear of corn and some red roasted potatoes and consider it mission accomplished.

Enjoy all this on the Saltwater Grille’s covered patio, our sunlit dining room, or in our cozy lounge. In need of a refreshing summer drink?  Enjoy one of our specialty cocktails, including the original pomegranate, or a personal favorite, the pear martini, a delicious blend of Absolute pear vodka and pear puree.

See you this Monday… over and out.

Tonight…Monday Night Lobster Night…

In The Insider View on August 17, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Monday Lobster Night has become somewhat of an infamous event in Litchfield. Our phones keep ringing and the reservation book continues to grow as it seems everyone is buzzing over the best lobster deal in town.

To review, for the new, Monday Lobster Night offers guests a three course lobster dinner for the unbeatable price of $25. To begin, each guest has their choice of a bowl of soup, whether it be our signature Connecticut Clam Chowder or our soup of the day, or our endless Saltwater house salad bowl. Next, (cue the drum roll, please): the lobster. We pride ourselves in getting the best lobsters in perhaps all the land. They are 1 1/3 pound cold water hard shelled lobsters from Kennebunkport, Maine. These lobsters are steamed and cut in half for easy dismembering. Alongside the lobster is warm drawn butter, potato du jour, an ear of corn, all garnished with a lemon. The last course – and quite literally the icing on the cake – is the dessert. All lobster dinners come with a dessert, which is normally our mouth-watering tortoni. The tortoni – handmade by in house baker, Daryl Galotta – is a whipped, Italian frozen dessert topped with almonds and coconut. It is the perfect light summer dessert to complete your lobster experience.

This Monday, August 17, the Litchfield Saltwater Grille is offering a drink special in conjunction with Lobster Night. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Saltwater Pineapple Breeze. This drink is made with pineapple infused vodka. Kettle One vodka and chunks of Hawaiian pineapple are currently sitting – infusing, if you will – behind the bar waiting to be unveiled Monday night. As the bartender, I see this as a very exciting science project and I am anxiously awaiting the final result! This vodka will be served with pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and a splash of club soda to give it that summer spritzer taste. All this, at the great price of $7.

See you Monday Night!
Marion Herbert, SWG Bartender