Back in October my husband celebrated his birthday and so we went out to dinner. It was not a hard choice where to go because for his birthday Mr. D. had received a gift card from J. Gilbert’s and it just happens to be his favorite place to go for dinner out. They are best known for their steaks, and that suits Mr. D. just fine as that is what he always orders. I am more adventuresome in my choices, and have always been very well satisfied with whatever I have ordered there.
One of the things we like about J. Gilbert’s is the ambiance. It has a “clubby” type of atmosphere with lots of wood furnishings. Parties are seated in secluded booths with stained glass dividers, so there is a sense of privacy.
Even though the restaurant has a large interior, once seated you cannot see into other parts of the dining areas.
On this particular evening we were greeted at the door and escorted to our reserved table right near the massive stone fireplace where there was a gas-fire burning.
The hostess placed a “Happy Birthday” card on the table so all servers and wait staff would know that we were celebrating a birthday. Everyone who came to our table wished Mr. D. a “Happy Birthday”. Even the couple sitting across the isle from us greeted us warmly and eventually offered to take our picture with my camera.
When our waiter arrived at the table to take our order he was well prepared to tell us about the evening’s special menu offerings, and to suggest an appropriate wine to complement our meal. We began with wine and the bread offering which was a small loaf of sour dough bread accompanied by sweet butter, and also an herb butter. We ordered our wine by the glass and I had a smooth, buttery California Chardonnay, and Mr. D. had a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Both lovely.
Next we had our appetizers. Mine was the Caesar Salad, served with a crispy disc of Parmesan-Reggiano cheese that had been melted then allowed to become crisp. The salad was garnished with two anchovies on top. All the traditional ingredients of a Caesar Salad but put together in a non-traditional way. Delicious!
Mr. D. had the Chicken Tortilla Soup, a spicy chicken broth base with bits of chicken, and vegetables, plus crispy tortilla strips and garnished with a scoop of guacamole on top. He loves this soup and always orders it whenever we go there.
For his entree my husband ordered the Kansas City Strip Steak, medium rare, and it was perfect. Along with it he had Lobster Mac and Cheese and Green Beans with Almonds. The amount of food was plentiful, and he took part of his meal home.
My entree was the Georges Banks Seared Scallops in a lemon butter sauce and served with Lobster Risotto. The risotto was garnished with lightly sautéed onion rings. It was beautifully plated and outstanding in flavor. The quantity of food was such that I was able to finish my whole dinner, but with little room for dessert.
Our waiter allowed us to take our time with dinner, with no sense of being rushed. At the completion of the main course, he presented us with a tray of dessert options from which to choose. We decided to share one dessert and chose the Creme Brûlée. When it was brought to the table, it was garnished with two raspberries one of which had a lighted birthday candle in it.
Eating this luscious dessert was like eating velvet, it was so smooth, custardy and creamy, with a layer of crisp caramelized sugar on top. Along with dessert we had coffee. It was a wonderful ending to a great dinner and Birthday celebration.
We tend to go to this restaurant on special occasions and we are never disappointed. All the meats are from grain-fed animals, and no hormones are used; the seafood is from waters off the coast of New England, never farm-raised. All produce is grown and sourced from nearby farms. The chef is creative in his use of seasonal produce, and presents traditional offerings with a slight twist.
As you might expect for a restaurant of this caliber, the meals are pricy, with dinner for two costing not less than $100.00. However, we are always well-satisfied, so when we want to enjoy a leisurely dinner for a special night out, the cost is justified. I can whole-heartedly recommend this lovely restaurant to anyone living in the vicinity or to vacationers or travelers passing through the the central Connecticut area.