May 26, 2013
Written by Fran Sikorski
Thursday, 19 June 2008 12:55
A wealth of restaurant experience of Northern Italian food comes with the opening of Castello Ristorante in Danbury by brothers Deme, Lenny and Kenny Balidemaj are originally from Albania where the family, including 10 children, owned a restaurant and inn.
Family members, “one- by one,” began emigrating to America in 1982 to find a new life, and were visited by their parents when they came “to vacation.”
The three brothers worked in restaurants in New York City and opened their own restaurants in Port Chester and Mamaroneck, N.Y., receiving praise from Zagat and other reviewers.
When the 30-year-old Bella Italia Ristorante was put up for sale, the brothers — who had admired the operation and European-style building where it was housed — bought it, worked on renovations and enhancing the Italianate salon atmosphere for three months, and moved Castello Ristorante to Danbury, opening in September 2007 with professionally trained Deme Balidemaj as executive chef, and Lenny and Kenny Balidemaj as managing partners.
An accommodating staff seeks to satisfy any culinary desire you may have. Several dishes, salad, fish and dessert are prepared tableside.
Among the signature antipasti/appetizers and salad dishes at Castello Ristorante are grilled jumbo shrimp over white Tuscan beans with hot cherry peppers and arugula; flash fried calamari with a spicy tomato sauce; thinly sliced filet mignon with arugula, artichoke hearts, shaved parmigiano cheese with lemon vinaigrette; roasted red beet salad; classic Caesar for two; and diced baby vegetables, organic greens with Gorganzola cheese.
Soups are pasta fagioli, minestone, chicken soup, and egg drop and spinach.Housemade pastas offered are ravioli stuffed with ricotta; and linguine with red or white clam sauce; pappardele with spinach, portobello and walnut and mascarpone sauce; and angel hair pasta with shrimp, hot cherry peppers in a light marinara sauce.
The menu includes chicken, veal, steak, lamb and seafood dishes, many already established enjoyable “signature” dishes include chicken Castello topped with eggplant, roasted peppers and goat cheese with a brandy sauce.
Also appealing were stuffed, semi-boned quail with spinach and wild rice and mushroom sauce; and roasted breast of duck on a bed of polenta with a wild ligonberry sauce; veal scaloppini with chopped jumbo shrimp, asparagus and a light red sauce; chateaubriand for two; and surf and turf with a grilled South African lobster tail and filet at $32 — the only item in that price range on the menu. Servings of housemade bread and herbed butter are delicious.
A creamy ricotta cheesecake is the star of the dessert menu, a special treat.
A well-priced selection of Italian regional wines rounds out Castello Ristorante’s down-to-earth appeal, especially with the recorded pop music of Frank Sinatra, Jerry Vale, and other singers who have remained “on top of the charts.”
Josip Kustra, owner of Joseph’s Steakhouse in Bridgeport, has opened State Street Bistro, also in Bridgeport, combining French-inspired cuisine with old-world charm, and the true hospitality that Josip Kustra has built his reputation on.
Lunch and dinner are served at the new restaurant featuring a classic French menu and located at 211 State Street. The main dining room at Le Chateau in South Salem, N.Y. will be closed on June 28. Reservations, 914-533-6631, are being accepted for a July 11 Bastile Day celebration and include a champagne toast.
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