Village Bistro Press
Hartford Courant: Give the people what they want - & a little something extra - in Milford.
Jan 24, 2015
Just as the aspiring novelist might be counseled to "write what you know," the aspiring entrepreneur might be urged to "do what you know." It only makes sense that Kay Ghura — born to a Syrian mother and a Chilean father, who worked for years in the Spanish embassy in Syria — would wind up opening a bagel shop and eventually a tapas joint. A Connecticut resident for the past two decades, Ghura owned popular Village Bagel in Milford for 13 years before moving down and across the Post Road into handsomer quarters and opening Village Bistro.
In addition to the attractive dining room, there's a welcoming bar and a lovely patio. Live performances range from jazz to reggae to flamenco to belly dancing.
By continuing to offer the breakfast and lunch fare from Village Bagel, Ghura never turned his back on his original customers, but supplements those offerings with an array of lunch and dinner tapas and main dishes. His chef, David Lopez, came from highly regarded (but now closed) Bon Appetit in Wilton. Taking a quick turn through the Mediterranean menu, we enjoy roasted potatoes with spicy mayonnaise, ground pork empanadas, chorizo with mixed peppers and olives, duck breast à l'orange, a Nutella-and-strawberry crêpe and a chocolate lava cake. Everything is delicious, and just about everything housemade. There's even prized Black Label Iberian Ham.
The restaurant's name holds real significance for Ghura. "I'm from the village and I am the village."
At Village Bistro in Milford, Enjoy everything from a bagel breakfast to a delightful tapas dinner in handsome quarters
Dec 1, 2014
For more than a dozen years, there was Village Bagel, an extremely popular breakfast and lunch stop on the Boston Post Road in Milford. But its owner, K Ghura, envisioned something greater.
He moved his operation across and down the street into much improved quarters, retained his breakfast and lunch offerings, and added a Spanish-inspired menu of tapas and main dishes in the evening.
Of Ghura’s own devising, the improved quarters include lovely design details, incorporating everything from old doors to wheels to drift wood. There’s a lovely patio, nice bar and beautiful dining room. Even the bathrooms are special, with old sewing machines turned into sink supports. And the staff is super nice—in my experience, that starts at the top.
Milford living : It takes a Bistro
There is something so Comforting about a bistro. Perhaps it's the bistro's origin that reminisces the "at home" feel—locals extended their homes and opened their kitchens to hungry passersby for extra income. The cooking is famously rustic and home-style, offering moderately priced meals in a modest setting. From its humble origins, the bistro has been elevated and celebrated as a source of great flavor profiles and cooking styles, and Village Bistro proudly continues this storied tradition.
Diners, don't let the unusual location daunt you. Though oddly wedged between two incongruous Post Road businesses, Village Bistro is no less a portal to a European getaway. All things imported dominate the dark wood decor, like the long bar beckoning newcomers to join the village. A 3-foot tower of Spanish olives, a leg of Jamon Iberia), both confirm the Milford to Madrid connection. Antique chalkboards further entice, featuring tapas of the day-very autentico.
Visionary restaurateur Kay Ghura is the man behind the design, and his passion shines into every corner of the cozy space that he custom designed himself.
"I like the Idea of the village," he says. "It Is very rustic, very organic." One such rustic touch is the decorative wood and metal door dividing the bar from the dining room The back wall finishes the down-to-earth theme, handcrafted from wooden wine and cigar boxes, interesting inscriptions telling stories.
"Our menu is French, Spanish, Italian, and Mediterranean," says Ghura over the low din of gentle jazz music reminding guests of Ipanema. In short, Village Bistro offers what people love; tapas, Panini's, and martinis—perfecto!
"The Mancliego cheese is to die for," Ghura says with a wink and a promise of fig jam and olives accompaniments. Indeed, tapas are the main draw, a popular way to eat light but not sacrifice flavor."You don't see these dishes around here," he adds, pointing out the Merguez Sausage, ($13.00) a nicely spiced link of quality lamb meat. "Normally you would have to go to New York City for this."
Popular among the tapas is La Ratatouille ($8.50); a classic French dish that is the perfect mélange of zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and peppers, served with an over-easy egg perched on top. The dispersion of the yolk is magical, cutting the acidity of the vegetables with its silky richness, making this dish smoothly satisfying.
Steak Tartar ($14.00) requires spot-on ingredients, which is why it is such a rare treat. Only the best beef is used for this raw preparation, nicely seasoned with a mustard dressing, tangy with capers and baby dills, Nigella seeds, and Marcona almonds; a luscious presentation of luxurious ingredients.
The Flank Steak ($9.50) is perfectly cooked: charred on the outside, soft and pink on the inside. A distinct red pepper Romanesco flavor is seared into the outer crust, tossed with grilled onion and raw tomato to further layer on the flavor. And what bistro would be complete without French fries, "Frites," hand-cut, of course ($5.00).
The Picada Espanola ($22.00) is an appetizer for two, an abundancia of grilled goodness with beef, hot chorizo, pork, and chicken served with grilled pita bread. This is one flavorful plate of protein.
Undoubtedly the best of the tapas is the Black Label Jamon Serrano & Manchego Cheese ($i8.00), showcasing Iberia) ham. Very rare, supremely expensive, and positively divine, this is the meat of the Iberian pig, arguably the best fed, coddled, and pedigreed pork in the world. Each Iberico pig is left to wander on four acres of acorn-laden Spanish hills, resulting in a velvety, well-marbled meat with a singular nutty flavor. Due to embargos, this delicacy was not found in the United States until recently, but thankfully, Iberico has arrived. Here it is treated with the reverence it deserves, served tableside by the chef with special cutlery and served on a board with traditional accompaniments. This is a rare, melt-in-your-mouth treat.
Ghura is also creative behind the bar, dreaming up multiple martinis in flavors such as rosemary, caper, horseradish, cucumber, and "The Last Word," his signature jalaperio martini. The extensive wine list is nicely varied and includes great Rioja wines, a Spanish red table wine. There are also some great beers on tap. Desserts are not to be overlooked, particularly the impossibly dense Chocolate Lava Cake ($7.00). If the sweet dulce de leche sauce doesn't thrill, the warm molten center certainly will. Thankfully, the churro twill can be used to scrape up every last bite.
Desserts are not to be overlooked, particularly the impossibly dense Chocolate Lava Cake ($7.00). If the sweet dulce de leche sauce doesn't thrill, the warm molten center certainly will. Thankfully, the churro twill can be used to scrape up every last bite.
Breakfast is also served, in a very relaxed, European style. Bagels, pastries, and fresh omelets are offered to early rising villagers. Lunch rolls around with wraps, Panini's, and lunch tapas. As the lunch crowds ease in, the steady flow of food and fun lasts all day long.
"You don't have to leave Milford to feel like you are in Manhattan or on a European vacation, we bring that vibe," Ghura explains in his irresistibly exotic accent that further proves his point. —Kate Harrington
The Orange Times: Village Bistro
Argentina-born Khaled Ghura opened The Village Bistro, 1501 Boston Post Road, last September. Not only can you enjoy their authentic foods but on weekends they have flamingo dancers performing for your entertainment.
The Bistro is decorated in a European design, dark-wooded tables and comfortable chairs, leather booths, beamed ceilings, and dark brown tiled floors. A massive antique Spanish door separates the 25-person-capacity bar area from the dining area. We admired the crystal chandelier, which is enclosed in a wrought iron cage against a wall of wine and beer crates.
Our waiter, Evan, helpfully explained the varieties of food listed on their menu including hot Tapas and Empanadillas made with seasoned ground pork, goat cheese wrapped in a prosciutto ham and cranberry. Other items included: shrimp scampi sautéed with garlic and bistro spices, blackened flank steak, and scallops.
These were only a few of the 17 different hot tapas. They also serve more than 11 varieties of cold tapas including their cheeseboard from Spain, slices of baguette toast, steak tartare, tuna tartare, and shrimp ceviche.There is also an assortment of delectable chef's tapas. For starters, we ordered the empanadillas. We received two generous ones filled with ground pork, deeply flavored and very deliciously served with their spicy mayo For our main meal, Robert ordered the New York beef steak covered with their authentic au' poivre sauce and tiny capers, served with roasted potatoes. Robert noted the steak was tender and superior in taste.
I ordered the Paella Sevillana, which came with calamari, Spanish rice, roasted tomatoes, pepper, salfron, mussels, shrimp, chorizo and clams, casserole style. The dish was a culinary gem in taste and appearance. We ended our meal with two fresh-brewed Spanish coffees and split a traditional Spanish flan. All desserts are house made. Our experience was adventurous with flavors that were exciting and inspiring.
The Village Bistro also has a wonderful breakfast and lunch menu serving Panini sandwiches, wraps, fresh salads and homemade soups. We certainly are looking forward to returning.