Tag Archives: new restaurant

Nestor Laracuente Opening Mason Dixon Smokehouse in Stamford w/ Gamechanging BBQ

1 Oct
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Nestor mans the pass to the open kitchen of what will soon be Mason Dixon Smokehouse.

Update: We have a few things to report on right now:

  1. Nestor left Mason Dixon in early January. He does have future plans and things in the works.
  2. Mason Dixon was closed yesterday for mechanical issues, but they are up and running and are open for lunch right now.
  3. The new Pitmaster, Ryan Cuber, has been working with Nestor since opening and had a BBQ catering company of his own, Savory Smoke Catering.

Are you sitting down now? Okay, we’ll wait . . . you’re gonna need to brace yourselves with this one. Master Pitmaster Nestor Laracuente is getting ready to open a new bbq spot right in Stamford, CT. The spot, Mason Dixon Smokehouse, is located right in the Columbus Park area where Gastro Bar (78 W. Park Pl.) is right now. And, the man behind it all, Nestor, is dying to get started and be back in CT. That’s Nestor aka Brooklyn Pit Rat aka pitmaster who helped place Hometown BBQ and Hoodoo Brown BBQ on the top of list after list Continue reading

CT Food News: Free Brats, Celebrity Appearances, Dishes to Try, CT Beer + More – 11/5/15

5 Nov

November? Doh, how did that happen? We’re not sure, and we’re not sure why we’re walking around in shorts now, but we’ll take what we can get. But, we have one bone to pick with some of you. What’s up with the Christmas decorations that are out already? You need to wait until Thanksgiving is over . . . it’s an unwritten rule, but now it’s written because we are passing legislation on the blog this week. <End rant> So, hey, let’s have the best next couple of weeks possible, k? And, we’ll start with all this great stuff to do and check out:
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You’ll Definitely Wanna Come Back to Back 40 Kitchen – Greenwich (Review)

4 Aug

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Back 40 Farm, Dancing Dog Farm, Gaia’s Breath, Hemlock Hill, Red Barn Bakery, Blooming Hill Farm, Marcia Tucker, Western CT Craftsmen, Jaw Workshop, Farming 101, Shearwater Coffee Roasters, Red Bee Honey, Sea to Table, Blue Moon Acres, Ridberg+, Chaljeri Farm, Beltane Farm, Cato Corner Farm, Social Comments, Deidre Mannix, and Mountain Rose Herbs.

This is the impressive list of suppliers that are proudly displayed at Back 40 Kitchen, a new rustic, quaint farm-to-table spot in Greenwich. Yup, this list lets you know that when it comes to the farm part of farm-to-table, Back 40 Kitchen ain’t messin’ around. They take their ingredients very seriously, and without giving too much away, it shows . . . BIG TIME!

And, speaking of ingredients, you could say that they are very careful about not only what gets into their kitchen, but what comes out on your plate . . . or in your glass, for that matter. The majority of their food comes from local sources, whether it’s CT or NY. Then, Chef George DeMarsico transforms those ingredients into something greater, making apps and entrees from scratch without even a single whisper of gluten. The same approach can be found behind the bar, as Jennifer DeMarsico (Manager and cocktail curator) creates the drinks and ingredients inside of them from “scratch” like her cherry syrup that we mention in the next section.

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Lugano Wine Bar + Salumeria brings upscale, delish, and affordable Italian to Old Greenwich

22 Jun

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You know (and maybe even love) Molto, ZAZA, Dolce, and some time in the next two weeks, you’re going to know and get intimate with Lugano Wine Bar + Salumeria of Greenwich. This impressive restaurant portfolio belongs to Nick Racanneli Jr. and Senior (and partners), and they know how to do it right. Go into any of these hotspots at night, and you’ll Look at that beauty! at Lugano Wine Bar & Salumeria in Old Greenwich CTnotice the same thing: they’re packed, probably because of the cozy, yet stylish decor, the good prices, the solid drinks, and the dependable Italian food. So logic will tell us that Lugano, located at 1392 E. Putnam Ave. almost on the Greenwich / Stamford border (where Bistro Latino was), will be a huge success. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak and are pretty psyched about the things that make Lugano similar to the rest of their restaurants, but also, the things that make it unique. Let us break it down into sections for you.

The Menu

Tables spill out into the bar area at Lugano Wine Bar & Salumeria in Old Greenwich CTLike ZaZa, you can expect an excellent variety of Italian tapas, even some of the tried and true items like their Roasted Truffle Sprouts, Creamy Polenta, and their Crostini. Some other tapas that got us all hungry include Italian Cheese Gravy Fries with bolegnese and creamy burrata, Baby Lamb Chops, Spicy Wings, Panzanella, and Smoked Salmon Carpaccio. In addition, you can go balls to the wall with a meatball tasting for $3.50 for a small order or $10 for a large. Order up the Beef (tomato, basil, grated parm), Turkey (sesame soy jus, scallions, spicy aioli), or House Blend (beef, pork, lamb, tomato, basil, ricotta). Or even get a sampler for $10 so you don’t have to decide.

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Real Deal Texas BBQ @ Hoodoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield w/ Pitmaster Nestor Laracuente

12 May

Hoodoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield CT Side Room with Large Table

Update: Hoodoo Brown BBQ is now open! Click here for our review.

Call us jaded, but when we heard about a new bbq joint opening up here in CT we were a little skeptical. See, despite our undying hope, we’ve only found one spot (Bear’s in Hartford) that has both really good meats and really good sides. The rest of BBQ joints we’ve tried here in CT have had maybe one or two really good meats or sides, but never the whole package, ya know? Well, not to get ahead of ourselves, but we suspect things ’bout to change ’round these parts with the opening of Hoodoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield on May 22 at 5:30 pm. We can say pretty confidently, based Dan’s recent tasting at an exclusive preview, that Hoodoo Brown BBQ has the potential to be the best in the state, if not the surrounding states. Wooooh, demm fighting words! Okay, let us explain:

The Restaurant

As you get out of your car, savory smoke fills the air and you get that pain in your gut that blurts out, “FEED ME NOOOOOWWWW!” As you enter, the first thing you see is a giant glass window in back of the main dining room that gives you a nice view of the smoker in action. Oh, and that smoker? She’s a 108 inch Lang smoker that owners Cody Sperry and Nestor Laracuente (also Pitmaster) brought up from Georgia. They keep it on all day long at a nice and toasty 225º. Nestor is very proud of that view, saying that it helped bring a transparency to the bbq and experience at Hoodoo Brown. “We’re not taking any shortcuts here. It’s always low, it’s always slow. We’re only using wood here to smoke . . . no gas to speed things up like many places do.”

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Chef David Soto brings Latin food with a unique twist to Norwalk with Aji 10

3 Mar
Executive Chef and owner David Soto and Sous Chef Erick Omar Soto

Executive Chef and owner David Soto and Sous Chef Erick Omar Soto. Photo from Aji 10’s Facebook.

Even though we’re both Italian, if we had to narrow down our favorite cuisine it would undoubtedly be Latin American. Whether it’s ceviche, lomo saltado, rope vieja, mofongo, arepas, tacos, and so on, we just can’t get enough. So you can only imagine how much we’re drooling here as we fantasize about the menu at Aji 10, a brand new Latin restaurant at the border of SoNo and East Norwalk, located at 10 Wall Street.

Photo from Cristiano Dos Santos

Photo from Cristiano Dos Santos

Opened just a few weeks ago on January 23, the former sous chef at Paloma and Executive Chef at Baang and Splash, Chef David Soto, has created a killer menu that features Latin American foods and Nikkei, a popular fusion cuisine of Japanese and Peruvian you can’t find anywhere in Fairfield County. Not only that, but Aji 10 also brings the first-ever (that we can think of) Pisco bar to the SoNo dining scene, which features the much-loved spirit in Peru and Chile. So, what’s Chef Soto’s story, what makes him an awesome addition to SoNo, and what are some of the best dishes to order off the menu? Take a look . . . Continue reading

Give Pizza Chance @ Amore Cucina + Bar, Reopening with Bruno DiFabio – Stamford, CT

19 Jan

One of the best pies that you can find in Fairfield County is being baked, pie after delicious pie, at ReNapoli in Greenwich. There, at the always packed Old Greenwich BYOB, you can often find Bruno DiFabio, manning the peel, or helping things to run smoothly. If that name sounds familiar, there’s a reason for that: he’s won the World Pizza Championship six times in a row, has been a judge on Chopped, and has other restaurants in the area like Pinocchio Pizza (love it here, btw) in New Canaan and Norwalk, Amore Pizza in Scarsdale, NY, Stefano’s Pizza in Wilton, and Marco Polo Pizza in New Haven. Well, add one more to that list: Amore Cucina & Bar in Stamford (site under construction).

But, this opening doesn’t come without some pain and heartbreak. Amore, run by Al Carozza, was a Stamford favorite and had a cult-like following. Invariably, if you asked a Stamfordite where to get a good slice of pie, they’d tell you to check out Amore. And, if you asked where to get some good, classic Italian: Amore. So, people were understandably upset when Carozza announced that he was closing the restaurant. But, who should swoop in and make things better but Bruno DiFabio, who actually started making pizza at Amore, thus completing a full circle as owner and Executive Chef/Pizzaiolo.

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Kickin’ It (Latin) Root Down at Tierra in Westport: CT Restaurant Review

8 Jul

When we hear about new restaurants, we get excited. When we hear about new Latin restaurants, like Tierra in Old Town Hall in Westport, we get really excited. Tierra (which opened in mid-June) is a bit hard to find at first, located to the right side of Spruce at 90 Post Road, close by Urban Outfitters, and by the parking lot off of Jesup Road.

Like good ‘ole Americans, we went there with our friend Christine on the Fourth of July (woo hoo South ‘Murica). Looking around, the bar to the left was warm, classic, and comfy with a huge loungy couch behind it. In the back there’s a private room with a nice wine rack wall and a fancy, shimmering chandelier. The main dining room features the same kind of vibe with a few tables and a side area with a view of the open kitchen.

Speaking of the kitchen, a husband and wife team run the kitchen and own it along with Chad Whited (and Laura Luce) who was there that night to help out. We first met CIA grad Chef Sue Torres, who is half Italian and Puerto Rican. She’s had an amazing amount of experience with Nuevo Mexicano fare including working at her own Suenos, Arizona 206, Rocking Horse Cafe, and Hell’s Kitchen.  We met her during our dinner as she went around from table to table to see how everyone was enjoying the food. Next was chef Darren Carbone, who comes from Columbia with an Italian-American upbringing. His impressive resume includes a CIA degree like his wife, and heading the kitchens at Super Linda, Rosa Mexicano, La Verdad, El Vez, and Alma de Cuba.  Ok, ok, you’re probably getting anxious to know about the food, so vamos, vamos.

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Kawa Ni: Bill Taibe to Open Japanese Pub with Pan-Asian Flavors at Bridge Square Market in Saugatuck

27 Mar
Chef Taibe is outstanding in his field...

Chef Taibe will be opening his third restaurant shortly…you ready?

Update: Kawa Ni is now open and here’s our review!

We saw the news a couple of weeks ago from LeFarm:  “Signed…”  A slew of comments, congratulations, and demands for answers from hungry fans lit up their Facebook page.  Signed what?  Autographs, Declaration of Independence, soul to the devil, or a lease to a new place?  Yes, the latter…but what kind?

Some of the gyoza Chef Taibe devoured in Osaka…

Well, we got our answers when Chef Bill Taibe shared some insights with us into his new spot, soon to be the third restaurant in his arsenal of Westport hotspots.  A name?  That’s in the works now, but he does say that they are close to coming up with one, “Japanese for sure,” he promises.

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David Cingari of David’s Soundview Catering Opens Cafe 1000 in Bridgeport

13 Feb
David Cingari and Mayor Finch make it official on Feb 12 (photo from David's Soundview Catering)

David Cingari and Mayor Finch make it official on Feb 12 at the Cafe 1000 Grand Opening party!  Just a note:  not sure we can trust him with scissors that big!  Eeek.  (all photos from David’s Soundview Catering)

David Cingari is. the. man.  He’s a graduate of not only New Haven Hotel & Restaurant Management, but also of the Culinary Institute of America.  On a personal level, he is probably one of the nicest and most hilarious guys that you’ll ever met, and he’s also the proud owner and Head Chef of David’s Soundview Catering in Stamford.  We got to know him and the DSC crew at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s Maple Sugar Chef’s Challenge, and at many charitable events that they support and help organize.  Needless to say, when it comes to awesome food like their redonkulous taco bar that we tasted at Fine Food for a Cause, they’ve got it all under control.  And, with over 25 years under their belts, David’s Soundview Catering has garnered an excellent reputation, becoming a staple in the community.

Stamford…and now Bridgeport

Well, we’ve got some great news to share with you:  David’s expanded a bit out of Stamford with the recent addition (opened 5 weeks ago) of Cafe 1000.  His idea for this brand new restaurant?  Offer up some great, high quality breakfast and lunch options for the good people of Bridgeport.  The area they moved into (the ground floor at 1000 Lafayette Street) will soon house over 600 new apartment units, is close to 95, the train, and even the waterfront.  Plus, Bridgeport is a great and growing alternative for young professionals with costs noticeably more affordable than Stamford.

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