June 19, 2013
Written by Fran Sikorski
Thursday, 18 February 2010 13:29
Friends for 20 years, restaurant owner Waldir Correia, originally from Brazil, and executive chef Miguel D’Onofrio, combined their talents to open Assaggio Ristorante on the Harbor in Stratford last fall.
The space, now expanded, was formerly occupied by Margarita Grille and Red Fin restaurants.
Chef D’Onofrio’s simple approach to Italian cuisine was previously demonstrated at Filament Trattoria in Westport and Luc’s in Wilton. At Assaggio Ristorante, he is assisted by sous chef Misael Zafra with Daniel Witkowski as general manager.After emigrating to the United States, Mr. Correia worked his way up in the restaurant business to managerial positions at Eclisse Restaurant and Spiga Ristorante in Westchester.
The Assaggio menu is a tour of Italy. A large hot and cold antipasti menu ($6.95 to $15.95) includes imported meats and a variety of cheeses; uniformly fresh and flavorful salads, ($6.95 to $8.95); made-to-order fresh pastas ($17.95 to $28.95).
A satisfying salad is the Arezzo, mâche topped with goat cheese, green apple, artichokes, with an Italian citrus dressing. Four soups ($6.95 to $7.95), available daily, are pasta e fagioli; minestrone Toscana; minestra di salsiccia; and stracciatella Romana.
Among the house-made pasta dishes are orecchietti tartufati, the pasta sautéed with Prosciutto de Parma, wild mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black truffle paste, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, finished with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano; and crespelle barese, crepes stuffed with fresh ricotta, pesto, Parmigiano Reggiano, topped with mozzarella and tomato sauce; and fresh pappardelle sautéed with garlic, Italian sausage, broccoli di rabe, and cherry tomatoes, finished with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.
Innovatively prepared entrees ($17.95 to $28.95) include squaletto alla griglia, grilled halibut topped with spicy tarragon roasted pepper sauce; ossobucco Piemontese, served with asparagus risotto; bistecca alla griglia, grilled rib eye steak topped with sautéed onion and hot cherry peppers. There are many more temptations among the “carne” and “pesci” selections.
Traditional made-in-house desserts are tiramisu, crème brûlée, and torta della nonna, as well as tartufo and hazel nut gelato. Any of these provides a creamy and light ending to a very fine meal at Assaggio Ristorante.
Assaggio Ristorante on the Harbor
955 Ferry Boulevard
Serving lunch 11:30 to 4 Monday to Saturday; dinner 5 to 10 Sunday to Thursday; and 5 to 11 Friday and Saturday; Sunday brunch from 11:30 to 3.
Reservations accepted for six or more
Handicap accessible; major credit cards; child-friendly; full bar, global wines; extensive beer selection and martini list; Happy Hour; contemporary regional Italian menu; take-out; off-premises catering; smart, casual dress; private functions; seasonal outdoor dining and bar for up to 200 people; parking adjacent to the restaurant.
In addition to the regular lunch menu at Le Fontane Ristorante in Somers, N.Y., a special prix fixe three-course Southern Italian menu (appetizer, entrée and dessert) is available. Dinner specials are also offered. Reservations, 914-232-9619. Serving hours are 11:30 to 3 for lunch and 4 to 10 for dinner Tuesday through Friday; and 3:30 to 10 Saturday and Sunday. Le Fontane is at the junction of Routes 137 and 100 in Somers, N.Y.
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