THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Azul
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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Azul Restaurant Review: When something is really hot, it burns blue. Azul, the Spanish word for blue, is thus an apt moniker for this hugely popular Nuevo Latino restaurant. The illuminated image of a scuba diver behind the bar seems a bit of an inside joke. This is no dive; in fact, it is one of chi chi West Hartford Center's priciest and most popular eateries. A stone wall glistens with flowing water, columns of blue mosaic glass reflect the muted light and cobalt glass votive holders give each table a blue shimmer. Descending into Azul's intimate dining space feels a bit like venturing into a private, underwater cave---Neptune's own dining room, perhaps, with food suitably fit for a god of the seas. Chef Michael Kelley's menu takes inspiration from the cuisines of every Latin nation and as you might guess, there is a strong emphasis on fish. Though sold as an appetizer, the plate of Brazilian mussels is a meal-sized portion of succulent, shell-bound morsels. If you can't choose between Chilean salmon baked inside a banana leaf in a bath of ginger-chile-coconut milk or moist and flavorful pan-seared snapper splashed with a tomato-lime mojo, opt instead for the gaucho steak---tender meat slices and delicately crispy onion rings arranged artfully atop a creamy mound of poblano-bacon mashed potatoes. You won't want to swim off right after eating a big meal, so stay and savor a cup of Cuban coffee and a sinful, cinnamon-sprinkled banana chimichanga.