We’ve been waiting ever so patiently for Carson’s in Guilford, and finally (without much fanfare), we heard they were open for business. Laura and I headed over for her birthday lunch, and we weren’t alone. Next to us, a happy gaggle of gals was also celebrating, and we compared notes throughout our meal. Let’s just say we didn’t hold back. One day, I hope I’ll resist the opportunity to snack on some pork belly, but no, we noshed on a few rich slabs topped with a refreshing pineapple salsa. Oh, and then a couple of crab cakes: the version here is gluten free, quinoa-crusted, and lighter than the bread-crumbed variety. Next time I’ll have this app for lunch. Carson’s in Branford is a burger joint, so despite the multitude of other options, we shared the classic with cheese on tasty, toasted brioche. We dipped everything we could in the chili aioli (which came with our truffle fries), but, because we’re girls after all, what really excited us was the salads. So many to choose from! Our perfectly grilled salmon on baby kale with white beans was a healthy and rather luscious lunch. We should have and could have stopped there, but desserts are made in-house. A slice of French Chocolate Cheesecake was our final birthday moment. Apparently, there’s also a happening evening scene, not the easiest thing to find on the Shoreline, and the long bar is fitted out with a couple of giant TV’s. You’ll find lots of fresh squeezed cocktails on the bar menu, and, because it WAS a celebration, after all, we gave the “Make Me Something With Vodka” a try, and suggest you do, too. This concoction is whipped up from house-made raspberry cordial and St. George Citrus Vodka with a bit of lime and soda. I have a feeling this straight-shooting newcomer, with something for everyone, will be a busy go-to on the dining scene in Guilford. 2 Water Street Guilford CT 203-689-5981 Find Carson’s on Facebook here.