Nom-Eez (Bridgeport) – Pho & Donuts Galore

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The official opening of Nom-Eez, Chef Matt Storch’s new Vietnamese street food storefront, in the Blackrock section of Bridgeport occurs today. As reported by CTbites, joining Storch for this new project are his partners from Match, Jason Wojnarowski (owner of the epically delicious Donut Crazy), and Susan McConnell. CTbites was invited to a sneak peek preview to sample some of the menu and a few donuts.

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The menu is divided into three sections, “snacks,” “noodles” and “a bit larger.” The space is small in size, with only eight brightly colored red stools, and the flavors are equally bold and bright and engulf you in the traditional cuisine of Vietnam.

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The Soup Dumplings were my favorite of the visit. Four dumplings were filled with pork, served in a rich bone broth and finished with a red vinegar splash. These were spectacular. The other “snack” that we really enjoyed was the Nom Nom Buns. Two steamed buns were filled with braised pork, cucumber and carrot slices, spicy mayo, hoisin sauce, cilantro and “everything” spice. The buns were also filled with big, bold and delicious flavors.

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We moved to the “Pho-Ramen” as our noodle selection. Nom-Eez prepares a traditional Vietnames Pho, which features floral notes and flavors. The beef broth is developed over several days and then lightened with the traditional Pho accents, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. It also features a perfectly prepared egg, peppers, cilantro and onions. The result is a mild broth, with the ramen noodles and the other ingredients adding texture to complement the sliced beef.

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I was very interested in the “Coconut Braised Pork” and was glad I ordered. It was served with steamed rice, crunchy onions and garlic. The meat was fall off the bone tender, moist and incredibly flavorful, and the glaze was delicious. Using chop sticks to pull the meat from the bone was an easy task.

 

The restaurant also features selection of Wojnarowski donuts. I sampled the Boston cream, maple bacon and Nutella filled. Each was delicious with great combinations. This is a great way to start the day with a cup of Non-Eez’s Vietnamese coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and of course pho and congee starting at 7AM.

 

Overall the menu presents a wonderful array of traditional Vietnamese cuisine in a small storefront. I look forward to returning to enjoy many more of these delightfully fresh and subtle flavors of Vietnam.

Walrus & Carpenter (Bridgeport) – #5 on 2015 Best Burger List

rsz_dsc_4599 (2)Walrus + Carpenter is a new addition to my 2015 Best Burger list.

The “W+C Burger” included Cheddar cheese, smoked mayo, bacon, and a secret ingredient, bourbon onions. The meat was delicious, rich in flavor, topped with several strips of bacon, each mildly salty, to complement the beef and the “Bourbon Onions.” The melted Cheddar cheese was creamy and added a touch of nuttiness, and the mayo, which was smoked, a smidgen of smokiness plus more creamy delight. The toasted brioche bun was the perfect choice for this combination. The killer ingredient, and this may be the best topping I tasted, was the Bourbon onions. These were also some of the most delicious caramelized onions I have ever tasted. They were sweet, buttery and the slight crispiness from grilling was a bonus.

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Tautog Tavern (Bridgeport) – A Burger with Potential

bl_3My continuous search for great hamburgers in CT brought me to Tautog Tavern in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport. The non-descript exterior displays two large American flags and is American throughout the interior. Entering Tautog Tavern is a throwback to a speakeasy saloons of years past. The wood bar extends the entire length of the right wall with floor to ceiling liquor shelves behind the bar. Above the shelves is an antique harpoon.  All of these items were brought to Bridgeport from Hoboken, NJ and commemorating this exodus, the owners hung the obligatory photo of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin overlooking the front of the bar. Photos and maps depicting the rich heritage of Bridgeport adorn the left wall with booths stretching from front to back and a few high top tables in the center. The overall feel is very pubby and very dark.

bl_1Manning the kitchen are the Carter and Hunter King. You may remember these brothers from the King’s Kitchen at Southport beach where they created some incredibly flavorful lunch specials last year.

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But I was there for the burger…and I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with fries. When it arrived on a wood slab it was also accompanied by lettuce, tomato, micro-greens and a sampling of house made vegetables. The dish also included ketchup and bacon-jam.

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The burger was encased in a toasted Martin potato roll with Vermont white Cheddar cheese melted atop the patty. I was informed that the meat was from Pat LaFrieda of NYC, and my expectations were elevated. The meat was very flavorful, a good blend from LaFrieda. Unfortunately, the grind of the meat was much too fine, delivering a texture more akin to a meatloaf versus a hamburger. The melted cheese was very good, and added a nice creaminess. The house-made bacon jam was the star…it was delicious, a great addition to the burger. The bacon was missing. The French fries were frozen pre-packaged, very basic but they were very good, crispy on the exterior and moist inside.

Overall, the burger served at Tautog Tavern was good. I did not like the grind at all and wish the bacon was included,but for $10 it is a very good bar burger.

Tautog Tavern on Urbanspoon

Walrus + Carpenter Burger (Bridgeport): The Bar Gets Raised

CTB BurgerA good friend over at CTbites told me that the WC Burger served at Walrus + Carpenter in Bridgeport near the Fairfield border was the best burger in the area. Those are strong words from someone I trust so I drove one evening and grabbed an outside table.

The menu is divided into several categories and each reads like a who’s who of comfort food. I was pleasantly impressed when I saw that the chef gave top billing in the Large Plates section to “WC Burger + Fries – Smoked mayo, bacon, bourbon onions, cheddar.” It was a simple decision and I ordered the burger medium-rare.

DSC_4600The burger was served on a metal tray accompanied by fries and small mound of pickle slices. There was a crisp char on the exterior and the texture of the interior was soft. I sampled the meat; it was rich in flavor, reminiscent of grass fed, the medium grind was still loose and it was moist without being overly juicy. It was an excellent patty. The first topping I tasted was the Bourbon onions. W+C slowly caramelized the sliced onions until they were sweet and soft, added bourbon, and reduced until the bourbon was thick and concentrated. The end result was incredibly complex onion mixture; the sweetness of the onions interplayed with the condensed bourbon. These were some of the most delicious caramelized onions I have ever tasted. There were several strips of bacon, each mildly salty, allowing the pork to complement the onions and beef. The melted Cheddar cheese was creamy and added just a touch of nuttiness; and the mayo a smidgen of smokiness. The toasted brioche bun was the perfect choice for this combination. It was sweet, buttery and the slight crispiness from grilling was a bonus. One bite of this entire combination…it was outstanding and delivered great balance. This burger is highly recommended.

The fries were excellent, crispy on the exterior and soft on the interior, with just a dusting of salt.

From the meat to the toppings to the bun to the fries, my friend was correct, the W+C Burger is one of the best in Fairfield County. There is now another serious contender for best bar burger in southwest Connecticut.

See the original review at:

http://www.ctbites.com/home/2014/8/24/walrus-carpenter-burger-the-bar-gets-raised-in-bridgeport.html

2895 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06605

(203) 333-2733

(This “WC Burger” is on the Dinner menu. There is a different combination that is served during Brunch and Lunch, a “Bacon, Egg and Cheeseburger”)

Jfood’s Top 10 Bar Burgers – Greenwich to New Haven #7 Barnum Publick House

Barnum Publick House seems to stay below the radar…and when I visited, the staff was fantastic. I had a great conversation with the server, who was extremely passionate about the burger, telling me it was the best around. He was not far from the truth. Something about an English muffin brings back fond memories of burgers I made as a teen back in NJ.

So my #7 burger from Greenwich to New Haven is Barnum Publick House.

bl barnum publickThe “Barnum Burger” was 100% Angus beef with shredded Iceberg lettuce, tomato, Special Sauce served on an English muffin and I added Cheddar cheese and bacon. House-cut fries were included. The burger was prepared on an indoor grill and absorbed a tremendous amount of smokiness. The patty was perfectly charred on the exterior while the interior was moist and flavorful. Two slices of basic bacon added a little saltiness and the cheese was nicely melted. The English muffin was a great complement plus the fries were delicious.

Barnum Publick House on Urbanspoon