HENRY CUTLER ’17
On Valentine’s Day night, many go out to restaurants to express love for their significant others and their love for food. As I was furiously trying to make a reservation last minute (four days before Valentine’s Day), I found that this task was going to be more difficult than expected. I tried all the regulars first: Barcelona, Capital Grille, and all of the Max locations in the Greater Hartford area, but they all had been booked for that day. Thinking that West Hartford was the only acceptable destination for such an occasion, I felt doomed. On a final try out of desperation, J Bar, only steps away from Trinity, said they could “squeeze us in” for a 7:30 p.m. Valentine’s Day dinner. The last minute accommodations were the very start of a great relationship (with the restaurant of course).
J Restaurant and Bar, commonly referred to as ‘J Bar,’ is a trendy eatery located at 297 Washington St. in Hartford, just across from Hartford Hospital. Customers can choose to order in, take out, or get free delivery, the latter being an option that most Trinity students take advantage of. Although it is a convenient ten minute walk from campus, it is not in the most pristine of neighborhoods. One of the great amenities about J Bar is the free parking lot right next door. Even though it is less than a mile away, inclement weather can be a deterrent from walking. Upon entering, guests are welcomed by a beautiful stone fountain and a koi fishpond, surrounded by an array of plants and flowers.
It is an Italian restaurant, boasting a menu filled with salads, soups, pizzas, and pastas. It also features a host of seafood options, as well as sandwiches, chicken, and a number of vegetarian options. It would be impossible not to find something you like on their menu! The good service didn’t stop at the reservation. If you see a variation of a dish you want on the menu, they will be glad to accommodate you. For those with dietary needs, they are able to make most of their entrees gluten free and are very safe regarding severe food allergies.
At the time, I was craving genuine Chicken Parmesan, and lo and behold, there it was staring back at me from the menu. The plate was covered in warm cheese and marinara sauce melting onto the breaded chicken, all of which rested on a bed of al dente penne pasta. It was exactly what I had hoped for. Although the serving was so huge that I could have taken some home with me, I finished it all right there – an indication of how satisfied I was with this meal.
After dinner, they brought out a menu filled with delectable desserts. I for one was far too stuffed to even consider it, as their portions are more than generous. They offered chocolate mousse, key lime pie, berries, and everything else you would want to eat on a night out.
If you are looking for a better alternative to some of the closer restaurants to campus, J Bar is perfect. It is a great way to have some delicious food in a slightly more upscale ambiance without having to trudge downtown or to West Hartford. Having only been once, I am excited to return and explore their many options – and I will be sure to remember to leave room for dessert!