¡Mangia y Beve Bueno at Dolce Cubano! Waterfront of Stamford, CT

18 Dec

Dolce Cubano Collage

Update: Dolce Cubano is now known as just Dolce and features just Italian food. We haven’t stopped by yet for the new menu yet, so remember that our review is for when it opened.

As we walked up to Dolce Cubano for a late night dinner, we were struck at how beautiful the restaurant looked.  Trees were lit up for Christmas, music was spilling out, and the enthusiasm from people inside couldn’t be contained.  We quickly found a seat and got down to business.

The vibe and heart of Dolce Cubano is an Italian heart with a Cuban soul.  To be honest, we wondered how Dolce Cubano would work with this kind of fusion when we talked with Nick Racanelli Jr. and Sr. months ago (check out our announcement and the before/after post).  Well, after our meal, we definitely understand the meaning.  Here’s the breakdown of a 5 drink and 8 course dinner that we created from the extensive menu.

Let’s start with the food:

First of all, you can make your own meal/snack/feast at Dolce Cubano dish by dish if you’d like.  There’s antipasto, a raw bar, ceviche, salads, sides, tapas, classic dishes, and sandwiches for lunch, too.  There are some great dishes that you might recognize from Zaza Italian Gastrobar, Latino and Cuban classics, and dishes that land right in between Italuban land.  We decided to go with dishes that spoke to the Cuban soul of Dolce Cubano.  Let’s dig in.

Halibut Ceviche with a citrus marinade, onions, and pineapple.  Bright, citrusy, and vibrant.  The halibut, itself, is tender and juicy.  The crunch from the onion and corn layered on top add a nice contrast in texture.  An excellent ceviche.  We’ll have to try the shrimp ceviche next.  They’ll be changing the fish up depending on what’s in season…thanks for alerting us Leslie.

Empanadas with beef and a Cuban red sauce.  The breading was crispy, thin, and didn’t come from a package of frozen junk.  On the inside was well seasoned beef with the added kick of cilantro.  The Cuban red sauce was like a tomato sauce with the consistency of chunky salsa and an added kick of herbs.  It adds a tart, herby, and slighty sweet taste to whatever you dip it in.

Havana Bruschetta with pulled pork, mango chipotle, and manchego atop polenta.  First off that pork is so tender and juicy.  Ermehgerd.  It’s rich, earthy, and just melts away.  With that you have bits of mango that add a fresh and bright taste.  The cilantro adds that necessary contrast.  When you take a break from eating these bite-sized treats, you notice a slow spiciness coming from the chipotle.  Our favorite dish of the night.

Tostones Mojo with mojo vinaigrette and Cuban red sauce.  As we’re writing this, we realize that we didn’t get the vinaigrette on the plate, so we can’t speak to that.  We think they ran out of a lot of stuff that weekend. What we can say, though, is that we decided we’re only fans of sweet plantains, not tostones.  Tostones are created by slicing up green (unripe) plantains, frying them, smashing them, then frying them again.  It’s not that they were bad, it’s just that we’re not tostones fans.

Croquetes de Jamon.  There was a light golden brown breading around the potato and Spanish ham stuffed croquette.   Although the breading was thin, it was still crispy.  The potato was creamy and was mixed in with cheese.  Here and there were nice chunks of smoky Spanish ham.  We had these bad boys almost every day in Barcelona and did notice some differences.  The ones from Spain were a smooth puree and had a silky texture.  Even the ham was pureed into the filling.  The jury’s out on these and we probably wouldn’t order again.

Roasted Truffle Sprouts.  Enough said.  The Brussels sprouts were caramelized nicely and drizzled with a good amount of truffle honey.  Adding more texture, richness, and fatiness was crispy crumbled bacon and Marcona almonds.  The honey works very well with this dish because it cuts away at the bitterness of the Brussels sprouts. Yum!

And now onto the drinks:

To begin, the bar was popping.  Every seat was taken and people stood around, having a great time too.  It must have been so hopping because the drinks were absolutely delish! Here’s a breakdown of what we got:

Wild Berry Mojito with Atlantico Rum, muddled mint, berries, lime, and sugar cane.  The mint and berries were bright, fresh, and had just the right amount of rum.  Kristien confesses this is the best mojito that she’s ever had.  Dan agrees.

Spiced Cuba Libre with Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum, coke, and lime.  Immediately thought of Big Bang Theory’s Diet Virgin Cuba Libre scene, but got past it when we took a sip.  The spiced rum adds a dark, luxurious, rich flavor.  Dan’s turn to gush:  best Cuba Libre he’s ever had.

Chi Chi Pache with Belvedere, pineapple, coconut, bitters, and cinnamon.  It’s like drinking coconut in a glass.  You get the creaminess from the coconut, then the flavor, but then the pineapple really pushes through.  You get the nice hints of cinnamon too, rounding off this drink.  If you love tropical drinks, this is a must.

Blood Orange Margarita with Giro Tequila, pineapple, and a blended spiced rim.  We were a bit unsure about ordering this because the last time we had a Blood Orange Margarita was back at bartaco in Stamford and that was a bad drink.  Well, we found redemption here.  Again, there was a great balance of liquor and sweetness with that fruity and slightly tart taste of the blood orange.  We didn’t have a spiced rim, though.  Oh well, next time.

Pyrat Passion with Pyrat Rum, peach schnapps, lemon, lime, and grenadine.  Sweet, fruity, tropical, yummy.  The peach schnapps really comes through and adds that nice warm buzz.

Why you should give Dolce Cubano a try

Whatever you’re in the mood for, chances are you’ll be able to find it here.  There are a ton of seafood choices, some great Italian dishes, and some really inventive Latino fare.  The bar scene here is great, too, making Dolce Cubano a place that you need to hit up with your friends.  It will be even greater when the weather gets nicer and you can party around the outside bar.  In the warmer months, though, don’t forget the fireplace and the still awesome views.

As for our experience, we really enjoyed the food and the server was very friendly. We did notice a few problems such as the kitchen running out of items like the corn (we were dying to try that) or things missing from our orders like the spiced rim or the mojo vinaigrette.  While these are slight errors, it’s to be expected in the opening weekend.  What we can say is that we loved our dock view by the window, enjoyed the food, and loved the drinks.  We’ll definitely be back.

Dolce Cubano

Noms:  3.5

Cost: $$$

Address:  78 Southfield Avenue

Stamford, CT 06902

Phone:  (203) 817-0700

Dolce Cubano on Urbanspoon

24 Responses to “¡Mangia y Beve Bueno at Dolce Cubano! Waterfront of Stamford, CT”

  1. Jessica @ Fit Talker January 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    Went to Dolce Cubano last night for the sig other’s birthday. It took a little convincing but once we got there, he was sold.
    FYI – half price bottles of wine on Monday nights :)
    Atmosphere is amazing. Waiter was friendly and attentive.
    We had the sea bass ceviche (so refreshing!) and the grilled steak (so tasty). For meals he got paella and I had the branzino special (with avocado and lobster).
    Sig other is a paella snob and he felt that it was pretty good. He liked that you could taste the saffron in the rice and that all the seafood was cooked pretty well (versus overcooked as it often is). However he didn’t like that the chicken was drumsticks, not chunks or pieces. I agreed that it was odd to have what looked like a buffalo wing sitting on paella.
    We will definitely go back and if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have even known this place existed, so thanks!


    • Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro January 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

      Aw Jessica, so glad that you and your sig had an awesome time. Yeah, kind of weird about the paella, but after doing some searches there are a few recipes that call for the wings. Now, we’ve never seen such a thing, but guess it does happen. Wonder what the reason for that is? In terms of being easy to eat, it makes it tougher and makes things messier. The most work we like to do is pull out some mussel meat…that’s about it. When we go next time, we’ll have to try their version and see how it stacks up. Dan loves paella more than me and will order it almost anywhere they offer it. Some of the best paella that we had was right on the beach in Barcelona. They cooked it right in front of you, kind of like at a Japanese Hibachi. :) So, we’re glad you had a great time and that we could introduce a new restaurant to you. Do you have a fitness move to introduce to us that could help us? :)


      • Jessica @ Fit Talker January 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

        Come spin! :)
        I’ve been to Barcelona but a return visit (for paella) is definitely on the to-do list.
        Any paella favorites in CT?


        • Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro January 16, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

          Hmmm…we might take you up on the spin offer, but the truth is that we have a gym in our complex and need to start using that. Doesn’t get lazier than that, huh?

          As for paella…hmmm…remember a good one at Brasitas in Stamford. Ever been?


        • Manny October 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

          O’Manel’s in Bridgeport makes a wonderful authentic Paella. It’s a Portuguese restaurant been around for years!


        • Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro October 14, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

          Oooooh, Portuguese! Love it! We’ll have to try that. Have you ever tried Douro in Greenwich?


  2. Leslie December 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    The Halibut Ceviche has been removed from the menu.


    • Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro December 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      Yes, the halibut is out of season, so now they have the sea bass. That’s great of them to do. Fresher fish means better food. :)


  3. Scott December 18, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Enjoy the blog, just curious what’s the max number of noms you give? 5? 4? Just trying to scale the overall rating here?


    • Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro December 18, 2012 at 10:52 am #

      Thanks Scott…and thanks for reading. :) Yes, we top off our rating at 5. The highest we’ve given so far is 4.5. Here’s a breakdown from our about page:
      1 nom = AWFUL. If you eat here you are banned from our blog.
      2 noms = Ok, but eat at your own risk.
      3 noms = Good and reliable, like a Snuggie.
      4 noms = Excellent, eat here often because it rules!
      5 noms = BEST EVER, doesn’t get any better than this baby!!


  4. uhcowboys December 18, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    This place seems awesome and based on experiences from Zaza i’m sure it will be a hit. Paige and I took a peek when we went to the Christmas boat parade at the Crab Shell (an event that you should def check out if you haven’t before). Would love to get to Dolce soon, but because we don’t get out too frequently (or as frequently as you guys) I think we are going to save it for the warmer weather. But it is going to be really tough to wait that long :)



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