Food Review: Track 139
Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman
“Os frutos do oceano são encontrados aqui” – translated from Portuguese which means –
“The fruits of the ocean are found here” ! Restauranteur and highly regarded chef, Paulo DaRocha has brought his native Brazilian love for fresh “ frutos do mar” – seafood – to Connecticut’s first town Windsor- in the uniquely named “Track 139” which additionally pays homage to the town’s rich history of locomotive travel. In fact, visitors to the restaurant may take in several pieces of train antiquity that surround the property including aged train tracks, crossing gates and various train inspired sculptures while inside patrons enjoy an ever streaming seascape of numerous artifacts of trains – “Artefatos de trens- photographs of historic locomotives that decorate the walls of this highly sophisticated American Mediterranean bistro. This my friends is “Track 139”.
On this sunny summer early afternoon day in July, I am cordially welcomed by long time Windsor resident and “Track 139’s” current Manager, Alaina Danner, who quickly flies me to a corner dining table to discuss the ever busy eatery. Danner, well known herself as a pastry and sous-chef de cuisine, additionally enjoys a Hospitality Management degree with a focus on culinary arts, baking and pastry arts. Alaina details the history and “carte du jour” – menu of “Track 139”. Open over a year ago, the spacious restaurant is a mixture of modern architecture, wood ceilings, accentuated by the already stated sights and sounds of locomotive travel, including several actual Amtrak trains that faithfully pass by the restaurant, oscillating “Track 139” and adding so much to your exciting and oh so romantic “full steam ahead” dining experience.
“Track 139” has seating for 115 diners, which includes 11 booths, 12 tables and 25 seats at the massive wooden bar at the rear of the restaurant. Lighted candles and fresh flowers adorn each table. A banquet room graciously accommodates 40 to 50 comfortably with the restaurant playing host to numerous events throughout the week.
The menu- even though the menu states it serves up “American- Mediterranean cuisine – there is a heavy emphasis on the sweet sultry “Fritos do mar” – fresh seafood, and enjoying an offerings of heart healthy Mediterranean diet which includes, fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken, pasta, rice, flavorful olive oil and of course red wine- all aplenty here at “Track 139”. As they say – “when in Roma”!
I start my meal with the popular appetizer- “Fritos Do Mar A Moda Casa”- “Seafood of the House” – generous portions of little neck clams, mussels, shrimps, scallops served in an utterly divine, beautifully steaming saffron lemon sauce. Speaking of heart healthy- the “Portuguese Salad” is fresh and so invitingly delicious, served with grilled chicken – the salad includes fresh garden greens, intermingled with dried apricots, raisins, figs, cashew nuts and draped with aged Portuguese cheese- and lightly drizzled with balsamic dressing-a beautiful heart healthy entry!
Next up on the menu is what I would call a true meal “romântico” or a “First Time Date Meal” – perfect for two – “Paella Alla Casa” – house paella – beautifully vibrant in presentation with a pleasing Mediterranean breeze of saffron and rosemary. This entree includes fresh from the sea mussels, clams, shrimp, chicken, chorizo sausage housed happily together in flavorable steaming, fluffy Spanish Rice – beautifully consummated. I note on the menu that “Track 139” serves up several Veal inspired dishes most notably Veal Marsala- tender pounded Veal sautéed with large slices of wild mushrooms in a dreamy Marsala cream sauce- absolutely wonderful and garners the first of my coveted “Howard’s Bet Bet”! A second HBB goes to the “Shrimp and Scallops Tortellini” – large tender pillows of piping hot ring shaped pasta adorned with generous offerings of sautéed shrimp and scallops and draped over with an inspired pesto cream sauce- yum!!
Desserts- I allow Restaurant Manager, Alaina Danner, to choose my just desserts- and she does a fine job in her selection, including The Portuguese Flan- or “Pudim” – a sweet creamy traditional custard dessert- OMG delicious. Up next the “Toasted Almond Cream Cake” made in house, this confection is decadently delicious, a rich comforting layered cream cake that harkens one back to the days of the “Good Humor Toasted Almond Bar Ice Cream” that we all enjoyed in our youth. Both selections are great sweet and delicious “meal enders”.
The fruits of the ocean are truly found here at “Track 139”, with gracious service at hand, freshly made offerings, a well stocked bar providing wines, specialty martinis, plus offering numerous beers on tap. I urge you to sample this delicious bounty and inspired cuisine that is diligently prepared by a creative culinary team. For your dining pleasure – This my friends is “Track 139”- Enjoy!!
“Track 139” is located at 139 Broad Street, Windsor, Connecticut. For reservations or to book their banquet room call the restaurant at 860-688-1390. “Track 139” is open from 11am till 10pm daily serving Lunch and Dinner.
Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.