Living Well in Litchfield County, Connecticut

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The Cue

The Cue

Southern Hospitality Comes to Town

By Michelle Madden 

The other night at Joseph Yorio’s new high-end barbecue joint in New Milford, I was reminded of the universal pleasure of licking food off your fingers. The Cue has joined the rapidly expanding hipster occupation of Bank Street and delivers down-home, affordable, Southern style cooking––seven days a week.

When you first enter The Cue, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s not what you thought. The upstairs has the vibe of “date night”, subtle blue/gray tones, quiet voices––the kind of place you’d go to escape your kids and their screens. But downstairs is where the soul lives and the South comes alive. As we descend, Honky Tonk Woman is playing, the amber bottles at the bar are glowing, and voices are unrestrained. The room is barnlike with wood plank walls, chicken-wire light fixtures with filament-exposed bulbs, and menus encased in wood. The three large screens over the bar tuned to sports, further the casual vibe, but with the volume off are unobtrusive enough.

The menu has enough to choose from but not enough to overwhelm. The empanadas are crispy and filled with juicy pulled pork. The tacos are ample, and held together by a hard corn shell that strains at the weight of their contents. The blackened shrimp sit on a bed of grits and are Cajun-hot and perfectly messy. At this point, you will likely be wishing you’d worn pants with a looser waistband. Even if you’re not a wings person, don’t skip the wings. The “Dry Rub” is so delicious, you’ll want to slow down the process simply to let the “secret formula” (a proprietary blend of salty, spicy, and sweet) amuse your mouth as long as possible. The creamed spinach was also a surprising pleasure––not too creamy, with a hint of Parmesan.

In a nod to Joseph’s Italian roots, lasagna and fettuccine have snuck in effortlessly as they adopt a Southern accent. The Smoked Lasagna with flame-kissed ricotta in particular feels right at home, and should not be missed. The fettuccine is reimagined with a generous portion of braised pork butt.

As casual as The Cue feels, there is great concern for  authenticity and culinary seriousness. The Chef de Cuisine, Philip Green, is an alumnus of Michelin Star royalty Daniel Boulud and Laurent Tourondel.  Many of the ingredients are handmade––from the margarita mix to the sauces (five different kinds), from the Dry Rub to the smoked meats themselves. Smoking is done at the restaurant’s 24-foot-long smoker––sourced in Georgia, now working in The Cue’s Danbury location. The process is overseen with the kind of care usually reserved for a newborn. The meat is tended to all day; in the middle of the night––3 am to be precise––an attendant comes to check in, and at 6 am a final visit occurs.

You get the feeling that this devotion to the craft and to the customer is something that comes easily at The Cue. Upon hearing us gush about the Dry Rub, when we were leaving, Chef Green gave us a tiny container, hand labeled, to “try out on some meat at home.” I will. And when I do, I will be reminded of why a great restaurant is so much more than its ingredients.

59 Bank Street, New Milford, 860-799-0165,

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  • Karen Raines Davis
    Dumais Interior Design