Thursday, January 23, 2014

Taste of Hartford at ON20 Restaurant - Winter 2014

Media Promotional Event

The city of Hartford CT rolls out the carpet twice a year to celebrate Restaurant Week - better known as:

Taste of Hartford runs January 20th 2014 through February 2nd 2014

This winter we attended a small media launch for the winter version of Taste of Hartford at ON20 Restaurant. It was such a pleasure to return to this beautiful restaurant that, without a doubt, has the best view in Hartford. 

Located on the 20th floor of the Hartford Steam Boiler Insurance Building, looking to the left (east?) there is a gorgeous view of the meandering Connecticut River, and to the right (west?) there is an incredible view of downtown Hartford and the city skyline.

I love that the city of Hartford features a WINTER restaurant week! It's just what we need to shake the winter doldrums out and enjoy some of the great food Hartford has to offer. Especially after the arctic blast of weather and snow that has decided to settle in Connecticut.

A holiday day off during the week, as well as snow day at work gave me the opportunity to visit some of  my favorite Hartford Restaurants for a Taste of Hartford! We started at one of my all-time favorites, the ON20 Restaurant for a weekday late lunch.

ON20's special menu for Taste of Hartford's prix fixe lunch features some of their traditional seasonal fare, and some new and exciting options. 

We decided to each have different prix fixe offerings so that we could sample a wide variety of offerings. For our first course of appetizers, we had soup and salad, a Clam Chowder and a Kale Salad.

The Chowder:
Creamy clam and celery root, Bayonne ham, herb oil

The Clam Chowder was the perfect blend of light broth, sweet baby clams, and salted ham. The hint of herb oil drizzled on top added a ever so subtle addition of seasoning. So delicious and satisfying!

The Salad: 
Kale Salad
Trio of Tuscan kale, granny smith apples, candied walnuts, ricotta salata

The Kale Salad was a hearty offering of al dente kale, crisp thinly sliced apples, and candied walnuts. The shaved ricotta salata added a nice contrast to the tart apples and sweet walnuts with its mildly salty, nutty and milk-like flavor.

We moved on to our main courses, sampling the Duck Confit "Hash" and Coalfish.

The Duck:
Crispy confit “hash” poached egg, parsley vinaigrette

The Duck was perfect. Crispy, rich morsels nestled in with the tender young potatoes and herbs. I gently broke the egg open and let the thick creamy yolk penetrate the dish with an additional layer of sumptuousness. My only regret about this dish is that I didn't pack what was left on the plate to take home to enjoy later. Not that there was much left after we dug in...but right now I'm craving that crispy duck goodness!

The Coalfish:
Mushroom ragout, sauce bourguignon

This was my first time sampling Coalfish, and it certainly won't be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed the firm texture, mild flavor, and the slightly salty crust created by the perfect sear. The silky bourguignon sauce and mushrooms added an earthy element to the dish.

For dessert, we shared the carrot cake and a citrus lemon curd plate:

Carrot Cake:
Carrot Cake
Warm cake, walnut streusel, cream cheese ice cream

The carrot cake was wonderful. The walnut streusel topping reminded me of a crumble, and while I thought I might miss the traditional sugary cream cheese frosting, the cream cheese ice cream provided a playful change. When a spoonful of cream cheese ice cream scooped up a bit of struesel - it was the same familiar sweet cream cheese taste. Delightful - but with so much less of that granular sugary taste. Now, where can I find some more cream cheese ice cream??

Citrus Lemon Curd:
Citrus Curd
Meyer lemon curd, caramelized meringue

The citrus lemon curd dessert was amazing, and I'm so glad I saved it for one of my last bites! Meyer lemons offered this dish a less tart and more sweet profile, but a subtly rich sweetness, tempered by the lemon flavor.

Plating for each dish throughout our lunch was beautiful, detailed, and whimsical.

Staff members are equally attentive to detail. The team approach at ON20 is apparent. Restaurant manager Brent Bushong, maitre d' Mike McGarrity, and our gracious and friendly server Dawn, were all available to answer our questions on preparation and ingredients.

Executive Chef Lizotte, recently voted "Best New Chef" in Connecticut Magazine's "Best of 2013" joined us for a few minutes between courses to explain his menu inspirations, and we discussed thoughts on ON20's  upcoming spring menu (he's not quite as ready as I am for spring!), his close relationship with local farmers, and commitment to the farm to table movement.

Following our menu selections, we were also treated to Chef Lizotte's pastry skills, as we indulged in some sweet treats to accompany coffee at the end of our meal. In October 2012 Chef Lizotte competed in the  international culinary competition Trophée Passion, where he was awarded Valrhona Best Pastry. These bite sized treats were oh so good!!
Happy Endings at ON20

What a great start to Hartford Restaurant Week and A Taste of Hartford at ON20 Restaurant! 

Be sure YOU take advantage of this wonderful week and enjoy their beautiful view!

See ON20's A Taste of Hartford Lunch Menu HERE

Their daily ala carte menu is available HERE

Remember, Taste of Hartford runs January 20th 2014 through February 2nd 2014!

In closing, as you all know, I'm a HUGE Top Chef fan (BravoTV) so I asked Chef Lizotte one of the questions posed to recent contestants:

Question:    One "bite", two ingredients, what's on the fork? 
His reply?   Foie Gras and Pâté
ON20 Restaurant provides a professional setting for a business lunch with clients or colleagues, and has small, private dining areas and rooms for conferences and small meetings. 

In the evening, the twinkling lights from the Hartford skyline offers just the right backdrop for a romantic dinner for two. In addition, it's simply a GREAT DESTINATION to meet up with friends and family for food, fun, and drinks. 

Address: 1 State St, Hartford, CT 06103 
(Enter 380 Columbus Boulevard in your GPS for best directions directly to their parking garage)
Phone:(860) 722-5161

Monday11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Tuesday11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Wednesday11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Thursday11:30 am – 1:30 pm, 5:00 – 10:15 pm
Friday11:30 am – 1:30 pm, 5:00 – 10:15 pm

Parking is available in the One State Street garage. ON20 will validate.

Follow ON20 on: 
twitter:       @ONtwenty
instagram:  @ONtwenty

Disclaimer: We were invited to this promotional  sampling event for "A Taste of Hartford" Restaurant Week at ON20 Restaurant by members of ON20's management and marketing team, however, the views and opinions expressed herein are our own.

The Restaurant ON20 on Urbanspoon


  1. That view IS great! And the food looks delicious too. :)

    1. Jessica, if you are ever in Hartford, this is THE place for lunch. Amazing view and the food is even better than it looks!

  2. That view is breathtaking and the food sounds delicious too! I think it's time I start going to Hartford more often!

    1. Chelle, I love Hartford and wish it were just a wee bit closer to me. I need to get there more often too!
      There are so many fabulous restaurants and ON20 is one of my favorites!


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