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Southern New England

Outriggers, Stratford, CT


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Restaurants & Bars 7

Outriggers, Stratford, CT

Bob Dobalina | Jul 6, 2009 08:17 AM

A lot to like - a lot not to like -

First the good things -

The outdoor deck - very pleasant sitting there on a sunny 4th of July, a singer/guitarist entertained - he was annoying at first, but actually turned out to be pretty good.

The appetizers - got a grilled calamari salad - three whole calamari - tentacles separated but tubes intact - grilled simply with garlic, herbs, olive oil - over arugula and a couple of other salady things - this was just about perfect - the calamari was firm but tender - nice grilled flavor, complemented by the peppery and properly (lightly) dressed greens.

Also, a 1/2 dozen clams with their very tomato-y cocktail sauce - good quality clams, the cocktail sauce appeared house-made and not the spicy kind I enjoy, but it worked.

Other apps at the table that met with approval were bacon-wrapped scallops and a NE chowder.

The drinks - the pours on the wine were very generous - almost to the lip - the cocktails were similarly generous.

Service was fine, unobtrusive.

Now the not-so-good things -

The entrees - I ordered a grilled black grouper, with a ragout of crab and portobello mushrooms - My mistake for ordering a ragout of anything on a luscious piece of fish, but I guess I figured it would be ok - unfortunately, it just did not work at all - the mushrooms and crab were so heavy, and everything seemed to be steeped in a brown sauce that reminded me a little bit of those Knorr onion soup pack recipes to make a sauce - it was just so heavy on such an awesome looking piece of fish - the fish itself, while properly grilled, was not properly seasoned, so that the ragout ladled on top was the only source of flavor that I could taste. I think in this case, the ragout should have been light, summery, but it was just heavy and misconceived. Either that or it needed a stronger, oilier fish to compete.

On the other hand, another entree of "grilled" shrimp over linguine was just a total failure in execution - the shrimp, though large and good looking, appeared to have been boiled (or pre-boiled) and were very overcooked. There was no discernable grilling. Also, again the fish was not properly seasoned. It was then paired with linguine that had no measurable seasoning whatsoever. It was really just a total fail.

Other entrees at the table met with the same "meh" - it seemed like there were two completely different chefs at work in the kitchen.

So in sum, go for the apps and drinks and the view - be vigilant with entrees and keep it simple.

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