An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Jun 27, 2014
07:44 AM
The Connecticut Table

Christopher Martin's in New Haven: Great Pub With Fine Dining Too

Christopher Martin's in New Haven: Great Pub With Fine Dining Too

Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register

Vermont goat cheese salad: sauteed chevre medallions on baby greens, tossed with a citrus vinaigrette, dried cranberries and pine nuts.

If you’re like me, you think of Christopher Martin’s in New Haven as a great pub. You also might think about it as a community partner when it comes to charitable events – over the last 30 years their Road Race for Charity has given more than 50,000 toys to needy children.

The surprise for many may be the hearty food presented with elegance in the dining room opposite the bustling bar. White tablecloths and a quiet atmosphere contrast with the boisterous pub next door. ...

Christopher Vigilante opened the restaurant and pub in 1984 with a partner named Martin. In 1991, Brian Virtue, a Culinary Institute of America graduate from Madison, started as chef. Virtue has been at Christopher Martin’s for 21 years, and became a co-owner with Vigilante about 10 years ago. (Right, shrimp and clam fra diavolo: wild-caught Gulf shrimp, cherrystone clams in a spicy sauce over linguine.)

Virtue, who graduated from Daniel Hand High School, started in the restaurant business as a teenager, washing dishes at the now defunct Cello Oyster House in Guilford. Then he spent nine years at the Little Stone House. He went off to the Navy, then came back for the CIA program. After jobs in hotel restaurants in San Franciso and Jamaica, Virtue returned to New Haven and settled in at Christopher Martin’s.

Virtue’s recipes are what he calls “American bistro leaning toward Italian. Eclectic.” For years he has made an effort to buy local. “One of our tag lines is: local before local was cool,” he says.

(Below, pan-seared sea scallops on a bed of oyster mushrooms with avocado mousse and a pomegranate reduction.)

See the full New Haven Eats story at the New Haven Register.

Christopher Martin's in New Haven: Great Pub With Fine Dining Too

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