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Gourmet Comfort Food Restaurant Opens in New Haven County

Chef and owner Christopher Batemann Photo Credit: cbhcafe.com
A "Sunrise Quesadilla" with bacon, cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs and avocado sour cream Photo Credit: cbhcafe.com

A Stamford chef who attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York has returned to his home state to offer around-the-clock breakfast and tacos good enough to eat for every meal.

Chef and owner Christopher Batemann has fed eaters in New York City at the Pierre Hotel and the Essex House, in Hawaii at the Four Seasons locations in Maui and Hualalai, overseas in Dubai at the Emirates Towers Hotel and Jumeirah Creekside Hotel. In 2014, the prodigal chef returned to Connecticut, working with Chopped judge Aaron Sanchez at Palmona in his hometown of Stamford, then opened Porron and Pina in Hartford. 

This year, Batemann has shifted from fine resort dining to plain good eating with the opening Crafted By Hand Cafe, which began serving gourmet comfort foods inspired by his travels to customers in July and celebrated a ribbon-cutting at the Orange Street location on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

“I’m excited to begin this new venture," Batemann told the New Haven Register. "New Haven has always been my favorite city in Connecticut. I feel connected to the food scene here and even more with the community after moving to East Haven last year. I look forward to serving the local community who are looking for an approachable, quality food experience.”

A few of the all-day breakfast items at CBH Cafe are simple classics, like a breakfast quesadilla or a choice of bacon, sausage, corned beef hash or ham on a roll with egg and cheese. Most, though, are ordinary breakfast concepts that have been elevated, or breakfast-style takes on beloved lunch and dinner items, and include:

  • An omelette made with truffle oil and gruyere cheese and served on sourdough toast
  • A Philly cheese steak-inspired egg scramble
  • A breakfast sandwich called "More Cowbell," which consists of short rib, an egg and American cheese with garlic and herb aioli on a hard roll
Among Batemann's taco selections are:
  • A vegan-friendly chipotle cauliflower option with Sicillian eggplant and salsa verde
  • Short-rib chili tacos, finished with crispy shallots, lettuce, tomato, cheddar and jack cheese and sour cream 
  • Huli Huli chicken tacos, an homage to Batemann's time in Hawaii, with "dynamite" aioli and smoked coleslaw
  • Short-rib and chimichurri tacos with mushrooms, poblanas rajas and pickled onions
The CBH vegetable quesadilla is made with mushrooms, poblano peppers, cilantro, jack and cotija cheese and cilantro lime sour cream, and meat-eaters are encouraged to add chicken or skirt steak.

The sandwiches at CBH are uniquely imaginative, and often combine sweet and savory flavors: 

  • A corned beef sandwich with fontina cheese and a pickle juice dip
  • A short-rib melt with cheddar cheese on garlic Italian bread with chimichurri aioli and shallot chutney 
  • A turkey and cheddar sub on garlic bread and with a twist: braised pear and a sprinkling of pickled mustard seeds
  • A notably fancy three-cheese grilled cheese, featuring gruyere, fontina and truffle cream cheese with garlic mushrooms on sourdough bread
The establishment also has a salad menu, which includes Thai and short steak salads, and offers the option to build your own salad from a list of ingredients.

Crafted by Hand Cafe is open seven days a week between 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on weekends. The restaurant utilizes DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub and Snackpass.

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