The first week of October is always a big restaurant week for me. It’s my anniversary and birthday, two days when I refuse to cook. You’d think our anniversary would demand a romantic, no-holds-barred kind of destination, but fate wasn’t having that. With nary a babysitter in sight, we dragged EatDrink Junior to Wafu (3671 Post Road, Fairfield; 254-2288), the new Asian restaurant in Southport (formerly Friendly’s, and before that, the Farm Shop). Without the Prize Claw machine, the take-out window and the red vinyl booths, you’d never even recognize it. Now there are crystal chandeliers, a wall of convex mirrors and gold tapestry table runners. There are definitely no Fishamajigs or Jim Dandy sundaes on the menu.
In fact, the actual menu is an iPad, which I thought was awfully gimmicky at first. “What a huge waste of money,” I thought. But then I looked around. It was early enough that our entire section was filled with families, and all of the kids were quietly behaving while they played on the iPads. Perhaps this was a genius move, after all. Kids get to have fun while the parents can enjoy dinner.
Mr. EatDrink ordered his usual array of hand rolls, sashimi and sushi. I was slightly concerned, given some reviews I had read, but the sushi was fresh and the perfect temperature. (Often one of Mr. EatDrink’s complaints.) I opted for chicken curry, which satisfied my urge for coconut (or so I thought). Since it was a special occasion, we strayed from the usual sake and decided to try some Coconut Lemongrass Nigori Sake. Yes, I realize it was the sake equivalent of a wine cooler, but you know what? It was good. It was fragrant and tropical and went so well with dinner.
Then came my birthday. The night before, my friend took me to Safita (2217 Post Road, Fairfield; 319-0000). It was quiet, even for a Wednesday night, and I have to wonder why, because the food was so, so good. We started with chicken rolls; crispy (but not greasy like some spring rolls) phyllo was wrapped around a spiced mixture of ground chicken and served with a pomegranate sauce. For an entree I had the shish tawook, which is another way of saying juicy, spiced up chicken and vegetables with rice. It’s one of those dishes that is so simple and yet so tasty. (It had been a while since I’d been back to Safita, so I was surprised to learn that they now serve beer and wine.)
The next day, my actual birthday, another friend took me out to lunch. Wanting to try something new, she suggested Off the Hook in Stratford (170 Ferry Blvd., 690-1777). I had heard good things, even though the restaurant is housed in one of those infamous cursed locations. A long time ago it was a bait and tackle shop. Then it was transformed into a coffee shop, then a pizza place, and a couple of other things in between. Now, I’m happy to say, it’s a cozy little neighborhood place that offers fresh seafood, sandwiches and grilled pizzas. I ordered a glass of wine, which was more along the size of a huge fishbowl full of wine. (No complaints there.) Then, because we couldn’t decide what to get, we opted to split an appetizer of blackened scallops and a lobster roll. Let me state for the record that I traditionally do not like scallops. I think they taste musty. But for some reason, these called to me. I was very glad we got them. They were moist, well-seasoned and fresh. The lobster roll was served on a house-made roll, not the usual hotdog bun, which was nice change. The fries were pleasantly crisp and not at all greasy. I can’t wait to go back.
And for the piece de resistance, there was my birthday dinner, shared with my family at the Irish Club. Again, perhaps the occasion called for a bit more flash, but really, it was the perfect excuse to have a pint and what I think is one of the best burgers in town. Food and family is what it’s all about.
The feeding frenzy is over now, but what a week it was. I should probably be eating just carrots and kale this week, but in fact, it’s almost Restaurant Week in Fairfield, and I can’t resist a bargain. Check it out here. Alas, the salad will have to wait for another day.