For Italian tapas in Stamford, Zaza takes the canoli! Zaza Italian Gastrobar- Downtown Stamford, CT

6 Jun

The Bar (and the vino of course)

• The place was hopping, so we had to saddle up to the bar for some wine while we waited. Chris, the bartender, was excellent. We were able to order a bottle at the bar to take to our table and luckily Chris had a good knowledge of wine to help us choose. He suggested the Apothic Red, a complex and lovely Zin, Syrah, Merlot blend off their “Interesting Reds” list.  Wow, this wine rocked with dark red fruit flavors and a hint of dark chocolate. YUM!

The Mozz

• They have a nice selection of fresh mozzerela here:  bufala, Wisconsin, burrata,  affumicata, and stracciatella. We went with the burrata and we were damn happy about that.  The inside was creamy and melted away the second it touched your tounge, while the outside of the burrata was softer and denser–but not too dense.  All mozza is served with fresh and delicate prosciuto, eggplant, roasted peppers, and olives (and of course the bread you get before the meal).

The Small Plates

• We started with the fried ricotta cakes.  The breading was crispy, seasoned well, and coated the filling well.  Oh, and the filling.  Ricotta was mixed in with some sauce, giving it a pink color.  It had a similar taste to ala vodka sauce, but the ricotta kicked it up and brought a much creamier taste.  It did come out kinda luke warm, not hot, but this was still only their third night of service.  The greens that came with it were starting to brown over so they weren’t the freshest, but the tomato sauce for dipping was good and added another great contrast.

• Creamy lobster polenta!  Seriously, folks…this is a must try if you love seafood and polenta.  The lobster was in nice, big tender chunks cooked perfectly. The polenta was creamy and so flavorful.  Even better?  Nice, creamy, melty mozzarela pooled in the middle!  Dip the polenta into the mozz here and there for the win.

Osso bucco with a vegetable ragu sauce.  The osso bucco here falls off the bone, so no knife is needed.  The sauce is earthy, but also tangy from the tomatoes in the sauce.  A nice balance to the lobster polenta. 

Spicy calamari with white beans and roasted tomatoes.  The flavors in here were a nice mix, the calamari was cooked perfectly, and the white beans added some texture contrast to the calamari.  We spoke to Nick Jr. about this after our meal and we said we really liked this dish, but wished it was spicier.  He said that next time we should ask for it cooked in the hot oil.  Tip for Omnomavores: hot oil.

Potato gnocchi in a butternut squash cream sauce.  Our absolute favorite here. And while the gnocchi wasn’t handmade fresh like we prefer it, it was still one of the best gnocchi dishes ever tasted by OmNomCT in the states.  The dish, at first, looks like mac & cheese, but as you dig in you get butternutafied.  The sauce is buttery, sweet and creamy coating the hearty gnocchi.  Think of how comforting and tasty Thanksgiving is and you understand 10% of the gnocchi’s awesomeness.  Kristien swears she could eat a vat of this dish if Zaza could provide it.  I’d have to help her with that, if she doesn’t bite my fingers off.

The Dessert

• Canoli dip.  We saw a person eating a canoli and we knew what we had to do.  The plan changed, though, when we saw canoli dip on the menu.  Our waitress brought a bowl of smooth and creamy canoli filling with bits of canoli crust to dip into.  This was a fun dessert to end with and wasn’t too heavy at all. 

The Final Verdict on Zaza Italian Gastrobar

As we waited for Bar Rosso and Zaza to open up in Stamford, we honestly thought that Bar Rosso would have an advantage over Zaza.  Well, we were wrong when we tried Bar Rosso and had the Racanelli’s new restaurant to compare it to.  Zaza is clearly beating Bar Rosso so far with the flavors, seasonings, and service.  We realize that Zaza is another iteration of Molto in Fairfield, but that has only seemed to make Zaza stronger.  Italian spots in Stamford, take notice:  Zaza‘s in town. ;)

Also, check out our post on brick oven pizza in Stamford, featuring Zaza.

Noms: 4

Cost: $$$

Zaza Italian Gastrobar

Address:  122 Broad Street
Stamford, CT
Phone:  (203) 348-2300
Site:  www.zazagastrobar.com 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001854911680 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/zazagastrobar 

ZAZA Italian Gastrobar on Urbanspoon

31 Responses to “For Italian tapas in Stamford, Zaza takes the canoli! Zaza Italian Gastrobar- Downtown Stamford, CT”

  1. elizabeth June 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    I think it’s a testament to the sheer breadth of items on their menu that two couples can go to this restaurant within a few weeks of each other, order a bunch of small plates and not one of them overlaps. We live right by this place and gave it a try a few weeks ago. It’s good (the meatballs especially) and I love the Fellini playing in the background, but it’s a bit on the pricey side to go to regularly.

    I’m so glad my coworker forwarded me your blog–you guys are so descriptive in your reviews, which is very helpful.

    Like

    • Dan Del Ferraro June 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

      Yeah, that menu is so extensive…it kind of makes me nervous. But, Nick’s a smart guy. He knows that people will want to try everything on there. :) We’ve yet to have the meatballs, but will need to now, thanks for the tip. We went there a couple of weeks ago and got the Burrata Margherita pizza. It was just plain killer. I know you like pizza from your blog (so freaking awesome, wow) so I wonder what you’d think of it.

      Also, thanks so much for those nice words. We always start our posts saying, “We’re going to make this one nice and simple and not explain too much,” but you get into it, describing the flavors, describing your experience, and giving tips…then, all of a sudden, you’ve got a big (but bangin’) post. :) Also, thank your co-worker for us. ;)

      Like

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