Friends recently called and asked if we wanted to go to dinner downtown. On a school night. While my initial reaction was that we're not "cool" enough to go downtown on a school night, I'm really glad we did!
The restaurant they picked was Firebox, a Farm To Table restaurant that uses locally-sourced ingredients and is located adjacent to Hartford's Billings Forge Farmer's Market. Bonus that they had a parking lot with an attendant. The restaurant is located in "Frog Hollow" which is considered Hartford's most New York-style urban neighborhood and includes Olmsted-designed Pope Park.
The atmosphere was very hip: exposed brick, interesting light fixtures, wooden beams, candles in small Mason jars, blackboards, and walls of bottles of wine. There's a tavern room, a small room, and the larger dining room in the back, complete with a fireplace and warm, intimate ambiance.
So what could they offer as Farm To Table on a very cold & dark Winter's night? Plenty! There was a nice selection of seafood for starters and gorgeous cheese plates from Cato Corner, Colchester. Between us we ordered from the Taste of Hartford Prix-Fixe menu and tried the meat terrines, market greens salad, a roasted root vegetable soup, grilled char, winter braised pork stew with melt-in-your-mouth root vegetables, calamari and kale, homemade bread, chocolate cherry bread pudding with pistachios, and a cheese plate to take home. It was ALL delicious! No exaggeration.
We started out in the tavern with drinks as we waited for the dining room to be ready, and perused the wine list and happy hour specials. Apparently there's live music some nights and they also host events for social clubs and parties like the wedding they have set up in the photo above. The place was buzzing even for 5:30 on a Wednesday, and in the blink of an eye 3 hours had gone by as we enjoyed our meal and dinner conversation. Our overall feeling was that it was a relaxing, inviting place that we'll definitely come back to. In fact, I'd head back there tonight if I had the time and try out the Tavern menu because I can't stop thinking about the gorgeous burger a waiter walked past me last night. Also I need to try out their brunch menu!