Monday, September 14, 2009

J. Gilbert’s Wood Fired Steaks and Seafood – Glastonbury, CT

We celebrated my dad’s recent birthday with a festive family dinner at J. Gilbert’s. Despite having to wait for a party to vacate the private room, they delivered with great food, friendly service and most importantly, the opportunity for my family to sing in a public place.

To make up for the inconvenience of waiting, the manager profusely apologized and we were greeted with several plates of appetizers upon being seated. Dangerous little things, those appetizers. Plates of Maytag Bleu Potato Chips were addictive and quickly devoured along with Smoked Chicken Quesadillas topped with a pineapple-mango salsa.

For starters, I decided to try the crab bisque. It arrived nicely garnished with a dollop of crabmeat. The sweetness of the crab was balanced nicely with the heat of cayenne red pepper.

Apparently, I was feeling “crabby” that night as I decided to order the Jumbo lump crab cake entrée. Loosely formed cakes of lump crab held together by house made mayonnaise. Yup, they were by far the best crab cakes I’ve eaten at any restaurant in the area. (so many places are under the assumption that crab is actually bread) The cakes were accompanied by white cheddar mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Everyone at the table raved about the potatoes. (We’re a starchy family)

Heard no complaints about the steaks that everyone else ordered, they were cooked as ordered and well-seasoned.

J. Gilbert’s wine list is accessible, with selections in every price range. We enjoyed the Liberty School Cabernet and a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc recommended by our waiter.

My dad loves dessert, so we finished our meals with a spirited version of "Happy Birthday" and espresso chocolate cheesecake. I found that the flavors balanced nicely and sweetness did not overwhelm the cake.

Overall, we had a great time and added J. Gilbert's to the list of future gathering places. If you’re looking for the steakhouse experience and a good value, they're worth the visit. A children’s menu is also available.