During its opening week I visited Eclectic and sampled some of their creative sandwiches and posted my thoughts on www.ctbites.com. I thought it was finally time for a return visit.
When I entered the Eclectic at 1140 there was one other patron ordering a sandwich while the kitchen was in full swing filling what appeared to be a fairly large take-away order. Since I ordered a soup, quiche and salad and enjoyed each on my first visit, I decided to order the “Eclectic Cheese Steak.” This sandwich is described as “shredded choice steak, sautéed mushrooms and onions, Havarti cheese, scallions, honey ham, sweet and spicy pepper aioli, served on butter and grilled NY style toast.” That’s a lot of ingredients for a sandwich but I was still curious to see how it came together.
I thought the combination worked excellently and there was a lot of great flavors. The beef was moist and tender and the melted Havarti gave that good balanced beef / cheese flavor. The scallions added a little pungency and crunchiness and was very different from the hundreds of other steak & cheese sandwiches I have eaten. The bigger, and most pleasant, surprise was the pepper aioli, which brought a good little kick, and in combination with the ham added a little sweetness. The grilled (actually griddled) bread was first slathered with salted butter and crisped to a golden brown. Every sandwich tastes better with buttered-grilled bread and this was no exception. Overall, I was impressed.
The interior is still very stark in design and decor, it is a diner / sandwich shop, not a restaurant. It appears they are targeting the high school and local employee versus the ladies’ lunch crowd. My other comment on my initial visit was the heaviness of each of the choices. They seems to be addressing slightly with a few salads, plus they now offer a wrap in addition to the of battered-griddle bread. The design your own salad also gives the guest a lighter option.
Eclectic is a good addition to the sandwich shops in New Canaan, four now, nicely spaced between the two east-west corners of downtown.