Back in September, I attended a tasting event at Firebox Restaurant in Hartford and couldn’t wait to go back.
Firebox is a phenomenal addition to the Capitol area; I’ll even go so far as to say it’s one of the most unique restaurants in the state. Renowned as a gourmet farm-to-table restaurant, Firebox is committed to using locally grown products in their seasonally inspired recipes—proving their dedication to supporting Connecticut’s farmers while serving contemporary American cuisine. And what’s better than that?
Last week, my sister and I visited Firebox to brighten the dreary gloom of another rainy day. It was truly the perfect choice. From the moment you enter, the restaurant has a rustic, yet elegant ambiance with exposed bricks, dramatic vaulted ceiling, and wood beams in the front bar room—& a fireplace and handmade farm tables in the dining area.
So far so good- aesthetically speaking, at least.
Now, onto the food. Everything on the menu looked predictably incredible so we decided to sample several first course items instead of committing to an entrée apiece. Ashley and I began with a delightful mixed greens salad with blood orange and toasted pistachios complemented by pecorino romano cheese and a champagne vinaigrette. Light, flavorful, and the perfect blend of salt, sweet, and tart.
(note: the above image is only my half portion of the actual appetizer since we opted to share the salad. You’d get more)
Already a tough act to follow? Well, we tried…and followed with the charcuterie plate- a trio of house-made charcuterie comprised of duck pastrami, chicken liver mousse, and citrus coriander cured salmon. Welcome to my adventurous side. Each spread was delectable and served with crispy baguette pieces.
We next enjoyed Prince Edward Island mussels with a smoky local kielbasa, spinach, lager beer and whole grain mustard…pairing kielbasa with mussels is just genius, as far as I’m concerned.
(note: the above image is only half of the actual appetizer –we planned on sharing so the waitress kindly arrived with the app already portioned in 2)
Our meal concluded with the stuffed local calamari, truly the star of the show in my opinion. Crispy calamari stuffed with local kielbasa (again the kielbasa!), and piquillo pepper and onion stuffing—all surrounded by a bed of chickpea, arugula and carrot salad with smoked paprika vinaigrette. Definitely tasted the pepper in this one but loved the medley of flavor.
Unfortunately I was getting too full for dessert by this point…but I’m definitely returning soon to succumb to the lure of the vanilla bean crème brulee…Maybe during one of Firebox’s live music nights- Sunday Bluegrass or Wednesday night Jazz. Stay tuned.
Prices are a bit higher than average but the fresh, local food is worth every penny. Appetizers are $10-$15 and the entrees hover around $25-$30.
Clearly, my experience was tremendously enjoyable. Any Firebox feedback of your own? Chime in!
539 Broad Street, Hartford, CT