New Haven Independent
April 1, 2022
by Paul Bass
A tray full of vegan-chocolate baked goods greeted me when I entered Claire’s Corner Copia.
They looked good. Maybe too good?
It was night five of week one of New Haven Restaurant Week(s). That means Claire’s, like many of the other 53 participating eateries in town, was offering a special: A “prix fixe” dinner.
The menu included a dessert option. So when it came time to order, one of those vegan-chocolate baked goods ended up in the mix. It followed me to the table before the rest of the meal arrived. It wouldn’t stop staring at me. I ignored it. For now.
Any other night at Claire’s, the salad would be a meal in itself. And this salad, when it arrived, had that customary crunch and flavor balance of croutons, red onion, spinach, fresh cuke slices … plus that warm, soft, trademark Claire’s bread mini-loaf that guarantees you’ll never leave the table hungry.
Then came the pasta dish — delicately spiced, tender yet durable vegan meatballs marinating in subtly flavorful marinara. That, too, is usually a satisfying meal in itself.
The chocolate would not be ignored. I pivoted and surrendered to temptation, and was rewarded with a surprising coffee-inflected buzz in the icing.
I have no idea how many meals I’ve eaten at Claire’s over the past four-plus decades. Not even within a margin of error of 100.
I do know they’ve all left me full, healthy, and happy. And I do know this is the first one that ended with any of the food uneaten.
For the first time ever, I ran out of room.
Happy almost mid-point of Restaurant Week(s) ! It runs through April 9. Click here for info on the participating restaurants, and where you can find other discounts.