Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Branford Restaurant Week 2012 - Eli’s on the Hill

This is the second of a multi-part-series on Branford Restaurant Week

Today I met my good friend Beth at Eli’s on the Hill which is owned and operated by Eli's Restaurant Group.
Beth and I go wayyy back!  (Just don't ask either of us how far!!!) 
We worked together many moons ago at an Irish pub / country western club in Branford, CT (Jeanie Ryan’s Café) and at Laurel View Country Club (LVCC) in Hamden, CT. Although we’re only able to get together a few times a year, we pick up right where we left off and our conversations can go on  and on like a couple of school girls.  Beth’s family used to operate Muzio’s Farm Market in North Haven, CT.  Although Beth is drop dead gorgeous (and a Natalie Wood look-a-like), she’s just a little farm girl at heart, and my go-to source (and my idol) when it comes to gardening and floral centerpiece inspirations.
Eli’s on the Hill was the perfect place for we two friends to meet, as it is located just a few blocks from our old stomping grounds of Jeanie Ryan’s, and Eli’s Restaurant Group currently operates the banquet facilities at LVCC.  And here’s another connection, Beth’s  sister Patti (also gorgeous - those "Muz" sisters all are!) used to work at Eli’s on Whitney, the third and original component of Eli’s Restaurant Group.  AND...Patti also worked both at Jeanie Ryan’s and LVCC.  There are no coincidences.  People and places are all connected!

For old time Branford-ites, Eli’s on the Hill is located at the site of the former Howard Johnson’s (and then Ground Round) on “The Hill” – Route One in Branford.  It follows in the footsteps of the original Eli’s on Whitney, known for their American cuisine, served in a friendly neighborhood pub atmosphere.

Beth and I spent so much time catching up that our VERY patient waitress, Penny, had to keep coming back to see if we were ready!  Girl-talk! So glad we are always there for each other.    {{Hugs to you Beth}}  And with Penny, an old friend of the cowboy’s as our server, it truly felt like it was old home week!  We were all able to catch up with one another!  Penny has been with Eli's on the Hill since about a month after they opened and loves being a part of the Eli's Team!  

Beth elected to order off the menu, and choose the Caesar Salad with Atlantic Salmon. The salad consists of crisp romaine hearts, parmesan cheese, croutons, and Eli’s own Caesar dressing, which Beth asked for "on the side."  Eli’s offers patrons the ability to order a wide variety of proteins to top their many salad choices, with offerings of: Grilled or Blackened Chicken Breast , Grilled Steak, Certified Angus Burger, Jumbo Shrimp, Sea Scallops or Fresh Atlantic Salmon.  I was a polite dinner companion and did not ask Beth to wait to eat her salad until I had photographed it from every conceivable angle, but suffice it to say, that it was beautifully prepared, and Beth finished every last morsel. 

However, I’m sticking with  Eli's on Whitney's Branford Restaurant Week specials! As a reminder, nineteen establishments are participating the week of Sunday, June 3rd through Saturday, June 9th, most with both lunch ($16.44) and dinner ($29.00) three course prix fixe menus.  And the connection to 1644?  It was the year Branford, CT was [permanently] settled.

For my first course I chose the Clam Chowder of the Day, today's offering waa creamy  New England Clam Chowder.  Loaded with clams and the right combination of salty richness.

For the main course, I chose the Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken: Accompanied by gorgonzola cheese, bacon, and grape tomatoes, in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  So good!

And for the dessert course, I ordered the Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée: The classic dessert! Egg custard, baked to perfection, topped with caramelized sugar, and garnished with drizzles of caramel.

Oh. My. Gawd.  
Fresh vanilla bean was infused in the custard and the brûlée was caramelized perfectly, with just the right balance of smokey-char sweetness.

Here’s a little tour of Eli’s on the Hill.

Their dining room

…and the restaurant is always full of such happy people!  Here are "the three amigos" (as they told me to list them!), who, while waiting for a table, offered to pose politely for a picture!

Eli’s on the Hill has a large bar and lounge area with 12 high definition T.V.s

and an  outside patio “cabana.”  

Roomy and spacious... and must be such fun on a hot summer night!

Beth and I had a great time at Eli’s and are already planning to get together again soon!

Visit Eli’s on The Hill and tell them Home Place sent you!

624 West Main Street
Branford, CT 06405

Phone: (203) 488-2700

Have you been to any of the Eli Restaurant Group venues?  Have you ever had Eli's on the Hill's Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée?  Did you say: "Oh.  My. Gawd." when you had it???
Eli's On The Hill on Urbanspoon

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