Tag Archives: pasta

Grana Pastificio: Bar Sugo Starts New Line of Fresh Pasta and Products

21 Oct

Pasta: it’s what’s for dinner. All photos from Bar Sugo and Grana Pastificio Facebook pages.

Update: Grana Pastificio now has new owners and a brick and mortar store in Westport next to Winfield Street Italian Deli. For more info, email info@granapastificio.com, or call 203-557-3855

When people ask us about where we love to get Italian food, all the Italian spots here in Fairfield County race through our minds, but it always comes down to just a few restaurants that we feel can do it all. Good, quality pies, fresh, rustic flavor, and killer, hand and housemade pasta. And, it should be no surprise to any of our readers that we have a love affair with the saucy and savory Bar Sugo. Continue reading

A Feast of Classic Rustic Italian with Modern Flare @ Bar Sugo – Norwalk, CT

5 Mar

How’s this for a greeting while you’re waiting at the bar for your table?  A manager comes up to you, gives you a plate of prosciutto-wrapped truffle fries, then gives you the following message from the chef:  “It’s about damn time.”  Yeah, it was about damn time we got down to Bar Sugo in Norwalk and Chef/owner Pat Pascarella had the right to call it like it is!  He had invited us several times and had even invited us to the inaugural Vinsotto wine event, but the world always seemed to conspire against us going.  Yet, here we were at the cozy and rustic Bar Sugo, ready for what would be a meal of epic proportions.

We decided that we’d take it easy, sampling a few things on the menu.  Starting off, we’d go with three cicchetti (Italian for small snacks) that were $7.50 each, 3 for $20, or 5 for $30, we’d go for three mozzarellas (same pricing as the cicchetti), the meatball sampler, and we’d end up with the cavatelli that both Mark Famous and Andrew Dominick recommended when they saw our check-in.  It’s cool to have foursquare friends who love to eat!  Well, that was the plan anyway.  Yes, we got our dishes, but Chef Pat provided us with even more so we could get a full taste of what Bar Sugo was all about.  By the time we were done, we tried 24 different items on the menu (that includes the Barrel Aged Negroni and the wine).  Ugh, we think we’re still full! Ready for the most epic review ever captured on our blog?

Asparagus with duck prosciutto, and black pepper

The asparagus came two ways:  raw and pickled.  Having both on the dish was a nice idea, but we really loved the vinegary pickle vs. the bitterness of the raw.  The duck prosciutto was really great and wasn’t overpowering despite the saltiness you expect from a cured meat.

Rabbit loin with lentils, prunes, and mustard oil at Bar Sugo in Norwalk

Rabbit loin with lentils, prunes, and mustard oil

Continue reading

Reliable Euro-esque outdoor dining in the heart of Stamford. Capriccio Café-Stamford, CT

3 Jun

You can tell when the weather is nice again because Capriccio Café on Bedford Street in Stamford is poppin’!  People sitting outside buzzing with conversation, enjoying some nice Italian food and wine, relaxing, and people watching.  Yeah, seeing the crowded outdoor dining on Bedford Street is a way better indicator of spring and summer than weather.com.

After we got to check out Zaza with Nick Racanelli Jr., we were jonesin’ for some food.  Capriccio Café has always been a nice go-to spot for dependable food in a nice atmosphere, so we were down to enjoy the beautiful night.  We started with one of our favorites, the antipasto misto.  A nice mixture (misto) of prosciutto, dry sausage, bresaola, speck, parmigiano, arugula, olives, and roasted peppers that’s big enough to share with two people.  Our favorite thing to do is take little bits of meat and cheese then stack that on the fork with the olive or the roasted peppers, then take a sip of wine.

For our meals, Kristien had the Gravina bruschetta and I had the Boscaiola pizza.  As our ritual, we take some shots of the food to make OmNomCT look oh so pretty.  Well, a funny thing happened.  One of the owners came by and said he just saw us talking with Nick Jr. at Zaza down the street.  We are pretty sure that he thought we were secret agents, working for Nick, ready to steal the recipes of Capriccio Café.  We assured him that we were just taking pics for our blog, but we’re still not sure if he believes us.  Do ya believe us now?

So, the Gravina!  Kristien’s face dropped in defeat after uttering the words just a few minutes before, “This will be a nice light dinner.”  Hahaha, no freaking way.  The thing was piled high and only cost $9.  I’ve got to hand it to her, she had lots of self control and didn’t knock it all down.  The bruschetta crust was nice and doughy, served cold, and was piled with gooey glops of goat cheese.  Fresh tomato chunks, soft cannellini beans, onions, and arugula all jived well together on top.  This dish would have been top notch if a real nice aged balsamic was sprinkled on top.  Instead, it was a good dish that could use a flavor spike, not a great dish.

My pizza, however, rocked it.  Ever since going to Italy, I’ve been obsessed with arugula and will even eat it alone now just for that peppery, earthy taste.  Whatever–don’t judge, don’t hate.  :)  Also for $9, you get a nice pie, served with tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage, portobello mushrooms, and–damn skippy–arugula.  The crust was thin and crispy, setting off nicely with the earthiness of the mushrooms, the savoriness of the sausage, and the peppery taste of the arugula.  I had no problems at all devouring it.  They were light on the sauce, but I like it that way.  Too much and I feel like I’m swimming.

Later, when we finished, we talked with the same owner again because we noticed that Volta gelato was on the menu.  DING DING…after going to Bar Rosso we were mystified by Volta Gelateria Creperia next door.  Well, Capriccio Café is opening up Volta next door and we got a glimpse into what it will be like.

So, what it comes down to is you can always count on having a nice, quick, pretty cheap bite to eat at Capriccio Café.   Enjoy the nice spring, summer, and fall days sitting outside and watching the people stroll down Bedford Street.

Noms: 3.5

Cost: $$

Capriccio Café

Address:  189 Bedford Street

Stamford, CT

Phone:  (203) 356-9819

Site:  http://www.capriccio-cafe.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/Capriccio.Cafe



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Ya Ain’t Scena-it All ‘Til Ya Seen Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant, Darien

4 Dec

Darien Restaurant Week led us to discover a star that’s been shining in Darien since September 1, 2010:  Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant.  Scena is the brainchild of the same owners of Cava in New Canaan and 55° Wine Bar & Restaurant in Fairfield.  When we arrived, we enjoyed Scena’s decor, which had a modern sensibility to it, similar to the food.  It’s rooted in real, classic Italian dishes and kinds of flavors, but it’s more than that.  The food is deeper, more complex, and is even playful…more on that when we get to the Nutella Filled Crepe.

First, we looked through the extensive wine list for a nice red to go with our meal.  There are bottles to go with anybody’s budget, low to high.  We stuck with a nice $38 bottle of 2006 Masi Campofiorin from Verona.  It was a nice bold red, but not too overpowering, with plenty of dark fruit flavors and a hint of chocolate at the finish.  The perfect match to this was the Scena Antipasti that I ordered.  House-made mozzarella lay before me, covered in a wonderful tomato jam.  Next to that was an eggplant caponata whose smoky taste came from some pignolas.  Add in some prosciutto di parma, two slices of parmesan, and sopresetta and I was feeling good.  I give my compliments to the chef for this because the cheese and meat was fresh.  There’s nothing worse than getting poor quality meats and cheeses in your antipasta…I think we’ve all had that experience.  Kristien enjoyed the Crispy Fried Artichoke Salad with goat cheese, arugula, and pumpkin seed pesto.  The salad was a perfect blend of ingredients and textures, though the pesto stood out in a good way and brought the whole starter together.

The main dish, Seafood Pan Roast, is what I was dying for and when it arrived I took a few deep breaths.  Two perfectly cooked and seasoned scallops awaited me, towering above shrimp, lobster, clams, and mussels.  All of this stood atop a beautifully prepared and slightly buttery herb risotto.  Chunks of tomato were strewn about through the dish with a red broth, and added a nice acidity to the dish.  The portion for this was nicely sized, but I couldn’t help but want more of the risotto.  One pet peeve of mine, though, is that if you’re ordering a seafood dish, you should be given a bowl to put the shells in.  I did a McGyver and put the shells on my bread plate–who says a Stamfordite can’t improvise?  Kristien had the Wood Fire Roasted Free Range Chicken with spicy sausage, mushrooms, spinach, cherry peppers, and a side of whipped potatoes.  The skin of the chicken was crispy and flavorful, even a bit peppery.  The meat remained moist and wasn’t dry at all.  It was hard to tell, though, if there was sausage in the dish.  We would have loved to have that flavor pushed more forward into the plate along with more of a kick from spicier cherry peppers.

As we were thinking of dessert we began to have a nice conversation with the people next to us. Claude Priolet and  Karen were the kind of people you’d want to share every dinner with.  Kind, polite, and well spoken, they treated Kristien to an amazingly smooth Taylor Fladgate port and me to a strong shot of Grappa di Montalcino “Banfi.”  Thanks, again, to both of you!

So, with that nice warm feeling of port and grappa creeping down our bodies, a divine crepe descended from heaven to our table. First of all, you’ve got banana gelato, drizzled with caramel, and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts.  Really, that’s all you’d need, but they aren’t happy with the same old standard.  Enter some delicate crepes that are filled with nutella and you’ve really got a meal ender to end all meals.

We went back with a great couple, Megan and Ron, last night (10/22/11)and we all had an amazing meal.  We just had to bump up the Nom rating from 3.75 to 4.25!  We decided that we’re definitely headed back because there were more “secondo” and freshly made pasta dishes to try.  We’re talking 3.75 Noms with $$$ for price.  This is definitely a place that has great, reliable, quality food that is worthy of return visits.

Noms:  4.25

Cost:  $$$

Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant
Address:  1077 Post Road, Darien, CT  06820
Phone: (203) 662-3226  Fax: (203) 662-3227
Email: info@scenawinebar.com
Site:  http://scenawinebar.com/
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Scena-Wine-Bar-RestaurantDarien/173433756010597
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/scenawinebar
 

Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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