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Eat Street: Stamford Restaurants

Highlighting two Stamford restaurants

Cotto Winebar

Photograph: Thom McGovern

Roman Holiday

When Cotto Winebar & Pizzeria opened on Bank Street a little over a year ago, word spread quickly about the contemporary Roman wine bar, with its vintage 1960s photographs of the owner's mother (a former actor and model), exposed brick wall, sloped ceiling finished in rattan and long marble-topped bar. People became instant regulars, sipping Italian wine and eating imported salumi and cheese. Owners Claudio and Silvy Ridolfi, who hail from Roma, had set out to transport diners to the Eternal City with simple regional dishes made with the best ingredients. And it worked. Claudio, who has owned restaurants in Italy, haunts distributors’ warehouses for the freshest porcini [mushrooms] and broccoli rabe. “You don’t need a lot of ingredients,” says Cotto’s general manager and head sommelier Ian Toogood, “you just need really good ones.”

We’re told to try the branzino. Cotto’s chefs Giovanni, Stefano and Marco will prepare it any way you like, with white wine and parsley sauce, or “grilled with sea salt, lemon, olive oil and, of course, fresh cracked pepper,” says Toogood. Don’t skip the sautéed broccoli rabe, he adds. Or you can grab a seat at the bar and select from a 500-bottle wine list that represents every region of Italy, and soon you’ll be toasting to la dolce vita.  

Fresh Start

Can you smell the steaks grilling at Tango Grill? Stamford’s first Argentinean steakhouse has set up house at the former Eclisse. This is the real deal. With a menu heavily infused with Italian culinary touches (yes, the waves of Italian immigrants who arrived in Argentina in the nineteenth century influenced the country’s cuisine), Tango Grill features favorite dishes like milanesa, served with chopped radicchio, endive, arugula and avocado, and the traditional churrasco. In a partnership with the former owners, new partner Moisés Mirra, who also owns Gaucho Grill in White Plains, says: “What makes Argentinean steaks so awesome is we serve them with chimichurri sauce, made with parsley, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and a little spice.”

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