Photograph by Old Post Tavern
November and December haul into town a slew of movies about people and relationships far more dysfunctional (or at least messier) than we and ours. Christmas Vacation with the Griswolds, Christmas with the Kranks, Home Alone, Four Christmases, The Family Stone, Bad Santa, Love Actually and so on. There’s a reason—at this time of year, we are reunited with family members we only see irregularly (and we’re face-to-face with buried issues) or with a certain someone who voices unmet expectations (and lots of heightened emotions). In other words, no dinner is just a dinner. So what if you have a complicated friendship, gossipy cousin or well-intentioned mother-in-law coming into town this holiday season and you’re headed out for dinner? Don’t worry. Here’s a sample of places to consider when you have to get together but would rather escape.
Feeling social? Starving? Thirsty? The Rx is the same: FLIPSIDE BURGERS & BAR. Its burgers, hot dogs, shakes and a lengthy menu of creative cocktails will have you kicking back with friends pronto. Postpone deep conversations for fun. Try the Fairfield Fire Burger: six-ounce sirloin burger with pepper jack cheese, jalapeño trio and chipotle aoli and a fried jalapeño. Gets things flowing with the Coco Rum Rita: Cruzan coconut rum with Triple Sec, pineapple juice and lime juice with a sugar rim and toasted coconut. Escapism, sip by sip.
1125 Post Rd. | 203-292-8233 | flipsiderestaurant.com
Tradition is everything? OLD POST TAVERN. Steaks, seafood and other please-everyone dishes are the bread and butter of this long-standing tavern. Warmly lit, this place is not an old haunt of yore. Rather, it’s a contemporary place that happens to savor the classics, from burgers and salads to delicious pasta, like rigatoni bolognese. Hearty appetites might savor the tarragon roasted chicken with haricot verts and mashed potatoes or a fourteen-ounce New York strip steak with mushrooms and sautéed onions.
1418 Post Rd. | 203-292-8631 | oldposttavern.com
Your people want it all? MIRO KITCHEN. This new restaurant focuses on the Pacific Rim Regions, including the West Coast, Hawaii and East Asia for creative fusion makes sense. Take, for example, the tacos. You can choose from Tako Taco, with braised octopus and roasted corn relish, or Sisig Taco with pork belly and crispy egg yolk. For main courses, good luck choosing between Huli-Huli Chicken Skewers (Hawaiian BBQ) and Ahi Bruschetta (sesame crusted, edamame purée, heirloom tomato, balsamic glaze).
1876 Black Rock Tpk. | 203-332-0001 | mirokitchen.com
Need everyone on their best behavior? PACI. If you’re out to make an impression, you might consider Paci. This restaurant, which has been around since 1996, knows Fairfield County taste. The menu is contemporary Italian. Consider Braciola di Maiale, grilled bone-in Niman Ranch pork porterhouse chop with a red wine demi glacé alongside parsnip purée and sautéed broccoli, or Pappardelle con Tartufo e Funghi, pappardelle with chanterelle, Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms, truffle sauce, asparagus and shaved truffle Pecorino.
96 Station St. | 203-259-9600 | pacirestaurant.com