September 4. 2018
Well, meteorological fall may have begun, but we’re in the midst of another summer heatwave here in CT! This is ridiculous! I’m ready for a touch of fall chill!!! In the interim, I have some excellent ways to beat the heat starting with a new Friday (or any other day) Happy Hour destination – Burtons Grill & Barat Evergreen Walkin South Windsor!
Managing Expectations Is Easy,
If You Consistently Exceed Them!
While I have so far found a lot to like about all the bars/happy hours I’ve visited, Burtons definitely raised the bar on my future expectations, which will create a challenge for the next stops on my list. Admittedly, having never been there before, I had no idea what to expect when I visited Burtons this past Friday. I soon learned to expect a lot, starting with the first server I encountered.
Having parked in the lot behind Burtons, I walked around to the side of the patio where a server immediately asked if I was going to bar and, when I said yes, opened the door for me as if were instinctive. Inside, the bar appearance had a nice, classic contemporary vibe with a mix of wood, granite and glass. Choosing an empty seat at the closest corner, I was quickly greeted by Fabian, one of the two bartenders on duty, who presented me with several menus (drink specials and the main menu)to peruse. Here I encountered my first big surprise!
Online, the Happy Hour drink menu seems a bit limited with regards to mixed drinks as it only specified $5 premium cocktails with a $2 surcharge for martinis and manhattans. What I found in person was the backside of that menu, which featured 6 different specialty cocktails – 3 Mules, an Old Fashion, a White Cosmo, and a Sangria. Now, I was quite intrigued by the White Cosmo, so I ordered it to begin. A mix of New Amsterdam vodka, Tuaca, white cranberry juice and lime syrup, it was a bit tart to start, but quickly grew on me. (I was surprised to see it used Tuaca, an Italian liqueur I am quite fond of after being introduced to it by ex’s Sicilian uncle. Plus, it spurred memories of the Winterberry Cosmo I had at Bonefish Grill several years ago.) It was so good, it inspired me to create The Twisted Cosmo Blanco (recipe can be found later in this post).
Food For Thought And Taste …
On the online menu, it simply says ask about their ½ price shareables. What that means is that their appetizers are half off during Happy Hour. It’s a decent selection which is sure to offer something to most people. For me, the Seared Tuna Sashimipiqued my interest, so I chose it for round one. When Fabianasked me if wanted chopsticks, that sparked a short, humorous discussion about learning how to eat with them. From the presentation to the last bite, it was a fabulous dish that I would order again in a heartbeat. (I even managed to eat it all using chopsticks with only one minor embarrassment when a piece of tuna fell out of the chopsticks before it got to my mouth … haha!)
Round Two Was A Mixed Bag But Still Good!
After finishing my White Cosmo and Seared Tuna Sashimi, I was eager to check out more of their offerings. The couple to my right had ordered the Point Judith Calamari, which looked tasty and which they recommended as calamari connoisseurs (which my ex and I sued to be as well), so I decided to try it with an Old Fashion (my first time trying one). At this point, Caleb was tending to my needs because he and Fabian were tag teaming in perfect harmony serving guests at the bar in addition to handling restaurant drink orders at the service bar. Both bartenders delivered flawless service from start to finish.
When my Point Judith Calamari arrived, I found it to be a bit crispier than I prefer. That is not a knock on it, but simply an acknowledgement that we all have different tastes. The couple who recommended it really liked it and it was not bad at all. It’s just that I prefer mine fried just a little lighter. In any case, they were tasty and not the least bit greasy. The Old Fashion was quite interesting because it was something new for me, but quite enjoyable and worth trying!
High Marks For Friendliness …
On Both Sides Of The Bar!
As followers of my blog know, I place a very high premium on attitude, especially behind the bar. At the same time, however, a friendly crowd on my side of the bar also speaks volumes about the quality of any establishment. I wound up sitting between two couples who were quite friendly and enjoyable to converse with during my time there. One couple professed to be regulars, while the other couple were certainly no strangers to the place. Their glowing remarks along with my own experience made it easy to see why this could become a regular Happy Hour spot for me. Simply put, you rarely find bad people at good happy hours or vice versa.
With 15 locations along the East Coast, Burtons may be a chain, but it’s atypical. It sets an upscale standard without being stuffy or over impressed with itself, as evidenced by the friendly attitude of the servers, bartenders and patrons. That in and of itself is worthy of my ***UNIQUELY RECOMMENDED***rating. At the same time, the seasonal drink specials and food options set a very high standard for enjoyable quality and value!
Check out their menus, hours and more at burtonsgrill.com.
Tell them The Dark Diva sent you!
Burtons’ White Cosmo Inspired
A Clearly Different Dark Diva Martini –
The Twisted Cosmo Blanco
It’s Maggie McFly’s Mexican Cosmo meets Burtons White Cosmo with a Dark Diva twist in The Twisted Cosmo Blanco! Party all night long, whether you should or not, with this irresistible concoction!
In a glass with ice, combine:
• 1.0 oz. Jose Cuervo Especial® Blue Agave Silver Tequila
• 0.5 oz. Patrón Citron Extra Fine Lime Liqueur
• 0.25 oz. Patrón Citron Extra Fine Orange Liqueur
• 3.0 oz. Ocean Spray® White Cranberry Juice
Stir, pour into a chilled martini glass, and toast a total loss of inhibitions!!!! Cheers!
Queen Cayenne Will Light You Up
And Burn You Down –
Welcome To Queen Cayenne’s Red-Hot Gator Club
As a tribute to #Tabasco and #NCISNOLA, 2 of my faves, my alter ego came up with this hot, not for the faint, concoction — Queen Cayenne’s Avery Island “Fire-tini” AKA A Twisted TabascoⓇ‘Tini! Nobody brings the heat like Queen Cayenne!
In a glass with ice, combine:
1.5 oz. Sazerac® Rye Straight Rye Whiskey
0.5 oz. Chartreuse Liqueur
0.5 oz. Mathilde Pêche (Peach) Liqueur
4 dashes Tabasco® Pepper Sauce
Stir, pour into a chilled martini glass, and toast the fire within! Cheers!
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