Tag Archives: zaza italian gastrobar

Omnomivore’s Guide to Stamford Summer Restaurant Weeks 2011 – Stamford, CT

14 Aug

Yup, yup, we got the deets for you.  It was surprisingly hard to find the info about Stamford Summer Restaurant Week 2011, but we dug and dug just for you.  It seems that restaurant week has more exceptions now (like no Fridays or Saturdays), which is kind of frustrating.  We hope it doesn’t become a trend, because we all love restaurant week!  What better chance to try a whole bunch of spots, eat cheap, and go home happy? :)  Here’s a link to the official site with menu lists.

What do you think of the new rules and exceptions?  Also, what spots are you planning on hitting?  If you want help or suggestions, let us know!  Either way, here are the vitals with OmNom next to places we’ve reviewed:

Monday, August 22 – Monday, September 5

Prix-fixe lunch and dinner at the following spots:

$10.11 Lunch & $15.11 Dinner

Black Bear Saloon           203-324-4448

OmNom * Grand Burger (Dinner Only)  ***Try the Elvis Burger!***          203-323-3232

Kujaku Japanese Restaurant           203-357-0281

OmNom  Lola’s Mexican Kitchen (Excludes Fridays & Saturdays)            203-674-5652

Lucky’s Classic Burger & Malt Shop            203-978-0268

OmNom    SBC Downtown Restaurant & Brewery            203-327-2337

* Tiernan’s Bar & Restaurant           203-353-8566

OmNom    Volta Gelateria Creperia           203-883-8841

$12.11 Lunch & $20.11 Dinner

BUtterfield 8 Restaurant & Lounge           203-504-8123

OmNom    Capriccio Café (Lunch Only)            203-356-9819

Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant           203-359-4747

Quattro Pazzi (Excludes Fridays & Saturdays)            203-324-7000

OmNom    Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza Company            203-973-0077

Tengda Asian Bistro            203-353-8005

$20.11 Lunch & $30.11 Dinner

  * Aria Restaurant          203-324-2742

* Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar           203-348-4800

 OmNom    Bar Rosso (Excludes Fridays & Saturdays)            203-388-8640

* The Capital Grille            203-967-0000

 Chez Jean Pierre (Excludes Sundays)            203-357-9526

Columbus Park Trattoria           203-967-9191

* Emme of Capri           203-353-0626

 OmNom    EOS Greek Cuisine (Excludes Fridays & Saturdays)            203-569-6250

 Mitchell’s Fish Market            203-323-3474

 * Morton’s Steakhouse (Dinner Only)            203-324-3939

 napa & co. (Lunch Only)            203-353-3319

OmNom     Tappo Restaurant (Excludes Fridays & Saturdays)            203-588-9870

OmNom     * ZAZA Italian Gastrobar (Excludes Fridays & Saturdays)            203-348-2300

 This year in partnership with Stamford Hospital, Stamford Tables will host KIDS’ FANS 5-2-1-0, a program designed to promote nutrition and fitness in Stamford. All children under 12 will be offered a healthy lunch for $6.95 and dinner for $9.95 at most of the above listed restaurants. An * next to the restaurants above means they aren’t participating in this new promotion.

Also, the first 3,000 Summer Restaurant Weeks patrons will receive a voucher for a free small popcorn with the purchase of a general admission ticket to the Avon Theatre, 272 Bedford Street, valid thru 9/30/11. Yeah popcorn.  Except, with a small, we’d have that done before the first preview! ;)

Support the Arts in Stamford, Bid on Stuff, Get Stuffed! A Grand Summer Night – Stamford, CT

26 Jul

Sit, stay, good doggy!

You know all that great, funky art that’s all over Stamford?  Well, last year we had “It’s Reigning Cats and Dogs” and that was a cute, furry success.  This year we’re being treated to “Wit & Whimsy,” a fun and–what’s the word–whimsical (lol) collection of art, but how does the art get there?  Well, the first step is to get the funds to support the artists.  That’s where Stamford Downtown and the Stamford community waltzes in.  They’ve created A Grand Summer Night to help fund all the awesome pieces in the downtown open air museum.  Here’s how to get your nom on and help out:

8/10/2011, $90 per person

UConn, Stamford

5:30:  Hors d’ ouvres and cocktails from: 

Acqua Panna/San Pellegrino, Black Bear Saloon, Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery Café, DiMare Pastry Shop,
Kujaku Japanese Restaurant, Market Restaurant, Mitchell’s Fish Market, Morton’s The Steakhouse, SBC Restaurant & Brewery, Stamford Wine & Liquor, and ZAZA Italian Gastrobar.

7:30 Dinner, dessert, and coffee at select Stamford spots:

Aria RestaurantBar RossoBarcelona Restaurant & Wine BarBUtterfield 8 Restaurant & LoungeThe Capital Grille,
 Chez Jean PierreColumbus Park Trattoria, Emme of CapriEOS Greek CuisineFerrante
Mitchell’s Fish Market, Napa & Co.Quatrro Pazzi, and Tappo (also in our CBS review)

Make reservations here by July 28, picking your top 4 restaurants.  That’s gonna be tough! :)

Silent auction and raffle prizes, too:

Silent Auctions:  Getaways to Steam Boat Springs, CO and Woodloch Pines Resort in the Poconos, golf packages at local courses, pet boarding, fine jewelry  and more!

Raffle Grand Prize:  42” Panasonic Flat Panel HD Television, Courtesy of County TV & Appliance

Second Prize: Spa & Shopping Spree, Courtesy of Stamford Town Center: $250 Stamford Town Center Gift Certificate and $200 Agora Spa Gift Certificate
Third Prize: $250 Stamford Town Center Gift Certificate

For more info go to www.stamford-downtown.com

“Initiated by the Friends of Stamford Downtown, A Grand Summer Night was created to provide the perfect opportunity to experience the delectable cuisine that makes Stamford Downtown the dining capital of the region. Net proceeds from the event are used to purchase outdoor art and to help defray the costs of significant Downtown art exhibits.”

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

Going gaga over Zaza: A sneak peek! Zaza Italian Gastrobar-Stamford, CT

26 May

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

A few months ago, we had a chance to talk with Nick Racanelli Jr., co-owner of the soon to be opening Zaza Italian Gastrobar on 122 Broad Street in Downtown Stamford.  We’ve been watching the progress of this new spot on Facebook and by doing some drive bys–no, not the violent kind.  Apparently sensing our anticipation, Nick so kindly invited us to get a sneak peak before they open! YAY!

So, if you were at the old place in this spot, 122 Pizza Bistro, then your impression is probably that this spot is dark and dreary. But thankfully this is sooooo not the case anymore! What a refreshing change Nick (and Nick) have made to this place!

First, before you even walk in, you’re attracted to the sleek, clean look of the exterior.  A custom white marble tile mosaic runs up and down the building, with black tiles spelling out the restaurant’s name near the door.  An industrial steel riveted sign that lights up from behind, reminiscent of signs in NYC’s meat-packing district. Custom white planter boxes to break up the space between the restaurant’s outdoor seating on the sidewalk and the road. Specially designed glass “doors” which are supposedly not even available in the U.S., seamlessly open up and tuck away in this cool little contraption to the right to invite people to come on in for some drinks and small plates of yumminess.

The sleek and clean look doesn’t end at the front door either. On the inside you’ll see handmade and one-of-a-kind red leather benches and chairs of all shapes and sizes with steel rivets to reinforce that modern industrial look, mixed with romantic crystal chandeliers and sconces with hints of red and black jewels. The contrasting, yet complimenting colors really make the place pop.  Dark mahogany tables add a nice contrast, too. A projection of old black and white Italian films will play on the wall above the entry to the kitchen, and mirrors across the left hand side, above the booths are at an angle so everyone can feel like they’re part of the social activity of the bar.

And speaking of the bar, it’s pretty sweet.  A sexy white carrera marble top sprawls across the entire right hand wall, with interesting details such as the metal flashing underneath the bar and mahogany shelving holding a plethora of wine bottles and various qualities of liquor.  Nick says they’re going to start with about 50 bottles of wine then go from there based on what sells and what doesn’t. A good strategy if you ask me. Oh, and  the coolest thing about the bar?  The tap!  In the pic you can see that it’s kept cool, but it’ll be even cooler during service.  After two days of chilling, that tap will create a 2″ thick coating of ice around it.  Damn right…ice cold PBR, Rouge Dead Guy’s Ale, and Delerium Tremens!  Ahhh yes, craft beers, because the world is now full of hipsters!

Then to end on the decor front, a brief tour of the equally classy-looking bathrooms (hey, we leave no stone unturned) and a trip out to the nice brick back patio that won’t be ready for opening just yet, but someday in the future will be an ideal place for a romantic dinner.

Ok, so all of this info about the decor is well and good, but what about the food?! Yeah, we want to know that too, but it will have to wait for their opening sometime in the next few weeks. Here’s what we do know to whet your appetite… They will specialize in wood fired pizza and small plates of traditional Italian fare like chicken parm and hearty pastas at reasonable prices. In the words of Nick, they’re not trying to be some fancy, high-end restaurant, but rather a nice, reliable place you know you can come to any day for a really good meal and a good time without going broke in the process. Who can’t get behind a promise like that?

In the meantime, we promise to update you as soon as we know more! Stay tuned.

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/#!/search/zazagastrobar 

ZAZA Italian Gastrobar on Urbanspoon

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