Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar

Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, Windsor Locks, CT

When I was invited to a tasting of the fall menu at Bobby V’s restaurant and sports bar, I will admit that I was hesitant. I was expecting your typical “sports bar” scene with mediocre food, beer, cheers and jeers. Instead, we found a very nice restaurant with amazing food led by executive chef Jordan Stein, formerly of Pond House restaurants.

Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, Windsor Locks, CT

Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, Windsor Locks, CT

Bobby V’s has the typical sports memorabilia hanging on the walls, and 70 televisions, including a 17’ LED TV, are strung across one of the walls to satisfy every sports fans’ needs. But the food, atmosphere and service is much more than you expect from a typical sports bar.

Bobby V’s has the typical sports memorabilia hanging on the walls, and 70 televisions!

Bobby V’s has the typical sports memorabilia hanging on the walls, and 70 televisions!

Bobby V’s has  a 17’ LED TV strung across one of the walls to satisfy every sports fans’ needs.

Bobby V’s has a 17’ LED TV strung across one of the walls to satisfy every sports fans’ needs.

The drinks were fun and made to perfection! We started with a flight of Cracker Jack martinis. They were made with Cracker Jack infused Onyx moonshine, peanut simple syrup and freeze-dried butter. Chef Stein explained that this drink was one that they entered into the annual Faith Middleton Food Schmooze Martini Competition to benefit WNPR and CPTV.

A flight of Cracker Jack martinis.

A flight of Cracker Jack martinis.

We also had a flight of cranberry margaritas. They were a perfect drink for the fall season.

Cranberry margaritas were a perfect drink for the fall season.

Cranberry margaritas were a perfect drink for the fall season.

While we were enjoying our drinks, Chef Stein had us taste several of the menu’s appetizers. The broccoli cheddar flatbread has a thin layer of massed potatoes loaded with broccoli and melted cheddar cheese. It’s topped with an arugula salad using fresh, local greens. It was delicious and a perfect appetizer for sharing.

The broccoli cheddar flatbread has a thin layer of massed potatoes loaded with broccoli and melted cheddar cheese and is topped with an arugula salad.

The broccoli cheddar flatbread has a thin layer of massed potatoes loaded with broccoli and melted cheddar cheese and is topped with an arugula salad.

You can’t go to a sports bar and not taste the chicken wings. The platter contained two of their chicken wing flavors – habanero mango and sticky soy. The wings were crispy and tasty.

The chicken wing platter contained two of their flavors – habanero mango and sticky soy.

The chicken wing platter contained two of their flavors – habanero mango and sticky soy.

Next we were provided with two appetizers from their seafood selection. The seared ahi tuna was served over an Asian slaw with citrus ponzu and wasabi drizzle. The collection of flavors paired with the perfectly seared tuna was wonderful.

The seared ahi tuna was served over an Asian slaw with citrus ponzu and wasabi drizzle.

The seared ahi tuna was served over an Asian slaw with citrus ponzu and wasabi drizzle.

The second seafood appetizer was the calamari sticks. They are dusted in rice flour and paired with a sweet chili and lime dipping sauces. Chef Stein explained that the appetizer is perfect for anyone with a gluten allergy, given the use of rice flour and they use a separate cooking device specifically for this purpose.

The calamari sticks are dusted in rice flour and paired with a sweet chili and lime dipping sauces.

The calamari sticks are dusted in rice flour and paired with a sweet chili and lime dipping sauces.

We proceed on with a tasting sized portion of the Asian chicken salad. It consisted of chicken, Napa cabbage and spinach, mixed with bell peppers, carrots, red onion, cashews and wonton croutons with a spicy peanut dressing. This dish is not only beautiful to the eye but also to the mouth!

The Asian chicken salad has chicken, Napa cabbage and spinach, missed with bell peppers, carrots, red onion, cashews and wonton croutons with a spicy peanut dressing.

The Asian chicken salad has chicken, Napa cabbage and spinach, missed with bell peppers, carrots, red onion, cashews and wonton croutons with a spicy peanut dressing.

In true sports bar style, the menu includes burgers with a wide selection of “build your own toppings.” It also includes sliders – both traditional and some with a slightly sophisticated twist. We had the filet mignon slider. It is topped with arugula and house made bacon and onion jam and paired with homemade barbeque potato chips. The filet was cooked perfectly and the toppings brought further amazing flavors to the meat. The house’s made chips were a delightful treat.

The filet mignon slider is topped with arugula and house made bacon and onion jam and paired with homemade barbeque potato chips.

The filet mignon slider is topped with arugula and house made bacon and onion jam and paired with homemade barbeque potato chips.

Thankfully everything served to this point was in tasting sized portions or we wouldn’t have had any room left for the entrees. Chef Stein made us a platter with a pan roasted day boat scallop served over creamy white truffle polenta and asparagus. The second entrée was grilled pork tenderloin with butternut squash, pears and spinach, topped with caramelized onions. Both were deliciously amazing.

The entree platter included the pan roasted day boat scallop and  grilled pork tenderloin.

The entree platter included the pan roasted day boat scallop and grilled pork tenderloin.

I was very excited to try the scallop entrée since that is one that I had hoped he would serve when I had previewed the menu prior to attending the tasting. This is definitely something I will order again upon my return.

To cap off the tasting, Chef Stein concluded with the white chocolate napoleon and smores fondue. It was a chocolate lovers paradise!

Dessert included the white chocolate napoleon and smores fondue - YUM!

Dessert included the white chocolate napoleon and smores fondue – YUM!

The napoleon had white chocolate mouse with chocolate crackers. It was drizzled with a berry coulis. All I can say is YUM!

The napoleon had white chocolate mouse with chocolate crackers.

The napoleon had white chocolate mouse with chocolate crackers.

The menu says the smores fondue feeds two, but is a perfect dessert for sharing among the entire table. It has rich chocolate fondue topped with toasted marshmallows and paired with graham crackers for dipping. I’m not a marshmallow fan, but was not shy about digging down to the chocolate fondue. It was amazingly decadent!

The smores fondue has rich chocolate fondue topped with toasted marshmallows and paired with graham crackers for dipping.

The smores fondue has rich chocolate fondue topped with toasted marshmallows and paired with graham crackers for dipping.

Chef Jordan Stein was amazing host for our tasting event!

Me and Chef Jordan Stein

Me and Chef Jordan Stein

He has upgraded the trusty perennial sports bar menu and dining experience into one that offers food from scratch, fresh and even locavore. The sophistication he adds to his dishes is handled without being completely out of synch with the restaurant’s venue, but makes the common unique. I think customers will certainly appreciate this twist and the range of choices. I know we will be back!

 

Have you tried Bobby V’s restaurant?

What’s your favorite “sports bar type” food item(s)?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was invited to the complimentary tasting of Bobby V’s fall menu, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience at the event. 

Food Network Studios

Food Network Studios “Behind-the-Scenes” Tour

For the third part of my NYC foodie day – and the whole reason why I made the trek – I had the opportunity to tour the Food Network studio!

I had the opportunity to tour the Food Network studio!

I had the opportunity to tour the Food Network studio!

Food Network’s studio is located above Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking district. Occupying the former Nabisco factory building, the complex fills an entire city block bounded by Ninth and Tenth Avenues and 15th and 16th streets.

Food Network’s studio is located above Chelsea Market.

Food Network’s studio is located above Chelsea Market.

Chelsea Market is known as one of the greatest food halls of the world, with more than 35 vendors selling everything you can imagine, including fresh produce, meats and fish. There is an eclectic mix of restaurants allowing diners to eat just about any kind of food you would desire from many ethnicities.

For our behind-the-scenes tour, we met up with Executive Chef Rob Bleifer, whom I had met a few months back. He began by explaining the history of Food Network and the Chelsea Market building. He also gave us some tips on his favorite restaurants and shops in Chelsea Market.

For our behind-the-scenes tour, we met up with Executive Chef Rob Bleifer, whom I had met a few months back.

For our behind-the-scenes tour, we met up with Executive Chef Rob Bleifer, whom I had met a few months back.

He explained how Food Network is split into three main branches: print, television and web mediums. We saw the Food Network kitchens where chef’s are developing and testing the network’s recipes that appear across all three mediums.

Food Network test kitchens is where chef’s are developing and testing the network’s recipes that appear across all three mediums.

Food Network test kitchens is where chef’s are developing and testing the network’s recipes that appear across all three mediums.

Relative to the print arm, Food Network has partnered with Hearst publishing to develop the Food Network monthly magazine. Chef Bleifer explained how each monthly magazine features approximately 125 recipes. That’s more than most cookbooks feature – and they produce it every month! They are a very busy group!

Each monthly Food Network magazine features approximately 125 recipes.

Each monthly Food Network magazine features approximately 125 recipes.

Chef Bleifer went on to explain all the other areas that his team is involved with at Food Network, including the 15+ shows, catering for large private events, picking the ingredients for the Chopped show mystery baskets and many other projects.

One the day we visited, Chef Anne Burrell was in-house taping an upcoming episode of “Worst Cooks in America.” Because the episode was narrowing down the field of contestants, it was a closed-set shoot and we were not allowed into the production studio area.

I was very excited to have had the opportunity to visit Food Network studios.  I found all the information that Chef Bleifer shared with us fascinating.

I was very excited to have had the opportunity to visit Food Network studios. I found all the information that Chef Bleifer shared with us fascinating.

Personally, I was very excited to have had the opportunity to visit Food Network studios. I found all the information that Chef Bleifer shared with us fascinating. It’s very interesting to learn about the behind-the-scenes facets and understanding all the complexity that goes into something that you watch, read and view every day.

 

Do you enjoy watching Food Network? If so, what’s your favorite show?

Have you ever been to a “behind-the-scenes” tour for a television show?

La Pizza/ La Pasta restaurant, Eataly, NYC

La Pizza/ La Pasta restaurant, Eataly, NYC

For the second part of my foodie day in NYC, we chose to eat at one of the restaurants in the Eataly, NYC Italian market/ mall.

Even the restaurant plates carry Eataly's logo.

Even the restaurant plates carry Eataly’s logo.

Eataly has seven sit down restaurants with both table and counter seats. Each restaurant is positioned next to the market area that provides its fresh ingredients. Le Verdure is next to the produce market; La Piazza is next to the fresh mozzarella and Salumi and cheese counters. Il Pesce is next to the fishmonger. La Pizza & Pasta is next to the bakery and fresh pasta stations. Manzo is next to the butcher shop. Pranzo is in the cooking school and Birreria is a rooftop restaurant that brews its own cask ales.

Eataly has seven sit down restaurants with both table and counter seats.

Eataly has seven sit down restaurants with both table and counter seats.

We chose to eat at La Pizza & Pasta after being completely fascinated with the fresh breads and pasta being made before our eyes. The restaurant’s menu is divided into three main sections: Antipasti, Pizzas and Pastas. Our waitress explained that the left column within the pasta section is dried pasta selections and the right column represented their fresh pastas items.

La Pasta's menu is divided into three main sections.

La Pasta’s menu is divided into three main sections.

As we continued to peruse the menu, our waitress brought us some of the market’s freshly made Italian bread with their extra virgin olive oil for dipping.

Freshly made Italian bread with extra virgin olive oil for dipping.

Freshly made Italian bread with extra virgin olive oil for dipping.

We decided to start our dining by sharing the Antipasto Misto. The menu stated that it’s a selection of the chef’s daily-assorted vegetables. The waitress clarified the menu and told us that it included four items: assorted olives, roasted peppers, roasted butternut squash and eggplant Caponata with toasted bread.

Antipasto Misto - a selection of the chef’s daily-assorted vegetables.

Antipasto Misto – a selection of the chef’s daily-assorted vegetables.

We are glad we selected this as our starter because every one of the items was delicious and light. It was a perfect starter for our meal.  My favorite was the eggplant.

Keeping with the light theme, Gayle chose the Insalata di Finocchio. It was a beautiful salad that included arugula, fennel, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano with lemon vinaigrette. She loved every bite!

Insalata di Finocchio

Insalata di Finocchio

Terri and I couldn’t resist the fresh pasta selections. I chose the Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo. It was house made fettuccini-like pasta with short-rib tomato sauce. The pasta was cooked to perfection. It reminded me of my Nona’s homemade pasta and sauce.

Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo

Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo

Terri chose the Ravioli di Zucca. It was house made ravioli filled with roasted butternut squash, Grana Padano cheese and almond Amaretti cookies, finished with a light brown butter and sage sauce. It was delicious – I tasted it. It was a perfect dish for the fall season.

Ravioli di Zucca

Ravioli di Zucca

We all really enjoyed our lunch at La Pizza/ La Pasta restaurant. I believe we selected well for our first time to Eataly NYC.  I would recommend getting there on the earlier side of lunch because it is first come first served seating and it was completely full by noon.

I look forward to returning to Eataly NYC and trying another one of the six remaining restaurants!

 

Have you ever eaten at any of the restaurants at Eataly NYC?

What’s your favorite kind of homemade pasta and sauce?