About Regional Flavor
In and around New Haven, vintage bakery ovens turn out what may be the nation’s best pizzas. Along the shore, look for the state’s much-loved hot lobster roll, fried clams, and steel-gray clam chowder. Throughout the state are memorable artisan ice cream parlors and donut shops; and in a small area around the city of Meriden, you’ll find diners serving what may be the nation’s most peculiar burger variation, known as a steamed cheeseburger.
Connecticut Regional Specialties
White clam pizza was first served in New Haven in the mid 20th century. It is a simple pie, made with neither tomatoes nor mozzarella cheese – just freshly-opened clams, minced garlic, a dusting of sharp Pecarino cheese and a sprinkle of herbs. The elegant medley is really more a flatbread than a pizza, its crust ultra-thin with a rugged underside from grains of semolina on the oven floor, its circumference puffed up in a golden circle that offers profound resilience in every bite.
A special steam cabinet is used to cook individual portions of ground beef and blocks of Vermont cheddar cheese, the latter transformed by steam into a pearlescent mass just viscous enough to seep into every crevice of the meat below, but not so runny that it escapes the sandwich. The soft hamburger (no crust on a steamer) and cheese are layered in a hard roll along with lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion to become a dizzyingly juicy burger feast.
A well-worn seafood house on Branford Connecticut’s scenic coast, Lenny’s is a neighborhood place with a full menu beyond excellent shore dinners.