An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Aug 22, 2013
03:20 PMThe Connecticut Table
New Haven Open Tennis Tournament as Dining, Imbibing Hotspot? Yes, Indeed
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In addition to wine, beer and other beverages, there’s also the SVEDKA strawberry colada cosmo, which features SVEDKA strawberry colada vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice, and is garnished with a strawberry.
To pair with the drinks, how about fresh-made California rolls (four pieces, $10) and shrimp-and-scallop ceviche ($10)? The food at a tennis tournament where guest flow often and freely from the action to the lifestyle offerings may have to be portable, but the Open shows that it can also be delicious (though Van Tuinen will concede that “a hot dog is a hot dog,” while also singling out the French fries for praise).
Fare that obviously deserves legitimate praise comes from the Caseus truck and La Petite France—and folks Wednesday also looked pretty happy with the fare turned out by Joe Brandi Caterering.
Grilled cheese perfection is a sandwich called The Drop Shot, which features tomato, bacon and arugula ($8), or there’s the Bastille, with cheese, chicken and tomato ($8) and a classic but gourmet grilled cheese ($6). On Wednesday, the truck was also offering heirloom tomato gazpacho ($4).
Anyone who has been to La Petite France in West Hartford, meanwhile—a small space with cozy armchairs and charmingly mismatched tables—can attest to the fact that the staff communicates in French and does its heritage proud.
At the Open, in the sweet crepes category, for example, is a dark chocolate one ($6.50), and a ham, cheese and tomato crepe sounded lovely in the savory category ($8.50). A side salad could be added for $3.
The Grill by Joe Brandi Catering offers such fare as a shrimp and seafood salad sandwich ($9) and a chicken Caesar salad ($9.75), along with grilled chicken sandwiches, burgers and much more.
“We eat day and night here,” says Van Tuinen, who emphasizes that beyond taking pains to ensure the quality of the food, tournament organizers wanted to make sure it was also fun.
New this year as a way of enhancing the fun factor is the Ooh La La Wine Bar, which is strategically positioned right next to the tented but otherwise open air ESPN broadcast booth, which means in the evening “it’s a pretty fun, active spot,” Van Tuinen said.