I was fortunate to visit Bar Zepoli a restaurant in downtown Stamford Ct. which combines the comfort of Italian-American dishes but with a modern fine dining approach. Each dish is hand crafted with the finest ingredients yet stays true to its Italian roots.
Located in the Marriot Hotel on Broad Street at the corner of Summer Street in the heart of Stamford, Bar Zepoli has a warm yet decidedly upscale feel to its interior decor. There are three separate spaces, the large two story main dining room and bar, the smaller cozy dining room, and the upscale private dining room. Walls are brick and floors are wood and the lighting is subdued. There are design influences from a traditional Italian-American eatery mixed blended with a more modern urban design motif. You can enter from the street or through the hotel itself.
Our evening was a tasting of many of the offerings available at Bar Zepoli. We started with the traditional Nonna’s Meatballs, which was a house blend of beef and veal, and using an undisclosed family recipe, was served in a plum tomato sauce and topped with fresh ricotta and spears of Italian bread A real comfort food and very hearty. Eggplant Rollantini followed and was comprised of small rolls of very thin sliced eggplant cutlets that were filled with soft ricotta cheese and grana pardano which is a hard cheese imported from the Po Valley of Italy. Very soft and delicious.
Crab Cake is another item on the small plates list and was a nice combo of fresh lump crab meat that was pan fried in butter and served with a Mediterranean remoulade of aioli, capers and clamata olives. I would have enjoyed this dish even more had it been fried in olive oil instead. Still a very nice small plate to enjoy or share.
Risotto is always a favorite of ours and this dish was very satisfying. The creamy Arborio risotto ( a rice from the Po Valley of Italy) is cooked and served with a medley of seafood including shrimp, scallops, octopus, cod and calamari. One of my favorite dishes of the evening. A classic Italian dish that was well executed.
The classic Chicken Scarpiello was also sampled as the free range bird was seared and roasted and served with a sauce of peppers, onions, sausage, white wine, and chicken broth and served over creamy polenta. The blending of traditional Italian ingredients with the comfort of soft warm polenta made for a delicious dish. Pastas also have a place on the menu and we sampled two including the Pasta al Forno (pasta baked in the oven) and was rigatoni, tossed with a bechamel sauce ( a French sauce made from flour and milk) with salumi, grana padano cheese and olive oil. A very nice dish combining both Italian and French culinary influences into a interesting and tasty pasta offering.
Bar Zepoli offers a list of fine craft cocktails, and wines. If you have room, there is a nice selection of traditional Italian desserts on the menu. Chef/owner Tony Greco has brought to Stamford a upscale and hip dining experience while paying homage to the classic Italian-American dishes we know and love.
75 Broad Street Stamford Ct. tel. 203.353.3319
like I on the Valley on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley