Above: Grilled Atlantic salmon filet
L et’s begin by dipping into a commuter-town/ college-town essential: Happy Hour. This is the witching hour of big-flavored nibbles and sips, and sweet savings. At Crave that means “Shot of the Week” for only $3 and sliders—pulled pork, buffalo chicken or meatball—for $1. Ideally located right off the main drag downtown, this restaurant/bar is a short bike ride from Fairfield University and a few steps from the train station. It eases the transition from work to play with old favorites, like vegetable spring rolls ($2), cheese nachos ($3) and bacon and cheddar fries ($4). You might even enjoy heading into winter’s chill this year thanks to Crave’s appealing comfort food, which doesn’t empty out your wallet.
Kick off the night by refreshing your mood, and Crave has anticipated your thirst for red, white or sparkling wine or beer. Maybe a Blue Point Toasted Lager or a Sam Adams Cold Snap? It is fall after all. Otherwise, sip a creative cocktail, like the to-the-point Bada Bing (Belvedere Vodka Pellegrino Orange Aranciata) or the dramatic Blood Orange Jalapeño Margarita (Chinco Tequila, blood orange purée, lime juice, jalapeño simple, soda and a slice of jalapeño garnish).
The atmosphere perks up right along with your appetite, meaning that you will probably stay for dinner. The main menu is a delight of new American cuisine, and the small plates include regional favorites, such as steamed littleneck clams, filet beef tips, jumbo shrimp cocktail and buffalo chicken wings. Salads, a Fairfield County essential, include arugula and goat cheese with cherry tomatoes, candied walnuts and dried cranberries, all tossed with a snappy citrus vinaigrette.
Crave’s big plates appeal to big appetites. Proof: a sixteen-ounce NY strip with garlic smashed potatoes and vegetables; or Chicken Scarpiello, with chicken breast medallions, sweet sausage and hot and sweet cherry peppers, paired with garlic and roasted potatoes in a white wine sauce.
If you’re like the usual crowd, you will stay for after-dinner drinks. The bar has more than sixty seats and eleven TVs, to satisfy all of your cravings.
Photos: Sandro Art & Photography