Atelier Florian, New Haven


A Trip to Brussels off Exit 47

If the urge to sit in Brussels Grand-Place sipping a Stella strikes you, keep the passport at home and head over to Atelier Florian in New Haven. The crispy clean design, mood lighting, leather banquettes, authentic food, professional service and spot on music give it the real-deal feels. Think a mini Balthazar. Initial recon was spent getting happy at happy hour. Besides the 50% off wine and beer and $1 oysters, we moved in on the small plates; Salmon and Cod Sliders with cilantro aioli and arugula salad on mini brioche rolls, house-made crab dip. Being a pepper freak, the Blistered Shishitos with ranch spice and a squeeze of lime threatened addiction alert.

The second trip was date night. The Moules Frites options: Provencal, Mariniere, Red Curry and Hoegaarden Garlic, were hard for a decision challenged Libra, but I opted for the classic Provencal with thinly sliced carrots and saffron leeks cooked in a tomatoey broth that gave it a rich depth of flavor. The bravissimo fries were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside and just right for dunking. My better half ordered the NY Strip with pave potatoes, grilled asparagus, and mushroom peppercorn sauce; a former Executive Chef had no complaints.

Before we could ask for a dessert menu, a chilled shot glass of chocolate mousse with a dollop of whipped cream arrived gratis – imagine that. How much you spend is up to you. Entrees are in the $15 – $29 range, but you could easily make a meal out of the small plates that range from $7 – $14.

You’ll enjoy this casual chic hot spot; it’s as close as you can get without hopping the pond – especially sitting outside sipping that Stella – Proost!    1166 Chapel Street