Restaurants & Bars

AZUL in West Hartford - Report

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AZUL in West Hartford - Report

Jay Scott | Dec 5, 2002 11:21 AM

starch, starch, starch, starch and meat
starch, starch, starch and fish
starch, starch, starch, starch, starch and starch

This is not a Monty Python sketch - it is a typical dinner at one of the many "Nuevo Latino" restaurants opening in almost every city.

Unfortunately for West Hartford, Azul, which recently opened in West Hartford Center, misses the mark. The restaurant is a failed attempt at style over substance. The dining room, in a former bank, attempts to create a modern version of a cuban nightclub. The dayglow scuba pictures and cheesy palm-tree projections on the ceiling are more reminicent of a 1980's nightclub. There is also the, now common, window into the kitchen. This a poor attempt at getting you to think the restaurant is all about food. Instead, you see the backs of a bunch of coffee makers, some not so shiny pots and pans, and a few random people walking around and talking - many not in chef's whites.

For some additional laughs, they serve the bread, more on that later, in an empty cigar box. The box top continually closes and opens - knocking into glassware and access to its contents. The steak is served in a odd oblong glass trough etc.. The hope is that these affectations will make up for the sub-par food.

The food ranges from the bland - breads with bland sauces, to the poorly cooked - limp calimari and undercooked steak, to the amusing - seafood with noodles which is oddly called paella. The so-called double pork chop was actually a single chop. Most of the entries are served with some sort of semi-sweet tropical sauce. This would work with a contrasting taste. Unfortunately, most of the side dishes are somewhat sweet starchy creations.

In terms of beverages, stay away from the mixed drinks - stick with the superb wine list. The mojito was accidently made with tequila instead of rum. The replacement "colada" was run of the mill. The wine list is varied and includes a number of unusual selections.

Azul is already in need of improvement. And, at prices of 22-28 per entree, you have much better choices within walking distance of its location. It is more of a curiosity...

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