Gallo Ristorante may be new to the Ridgefield restaurant scene, but it’s owned and operated by a familiar Ridgefield face. Owner Raffaele Gallo is the former owner of Toscana restaurant and his business manager Jeff Hennig, along with several other members of the former Toscana staff, followed him to his new venture.
Located in the former East Ridge Cafe, Gallo boasts a beautiful new interior and exterior with an expansive bar, large dining room, pizza bar situated in front of the wood-fired pizza oven, a large covered outdoor seating area, as well as an upstairs private dining area.
In all the marketing material Gallo Ristorante bills itself as a farm-to-table, contemporary Italian cuisine. To me, when a restaurant says farm-to-table it implies a certain philosophy and a strong support for local farmers and artisans. All chefs want to use the freshest, best quality ingredients, but the label farm-to-table implies something more than that. When asked how much they source locally the response was “as much as possible.” I did follow up after our dinner via social media for a few names of any local purveyors, but have yet to hear back. It was obvious that yes they do use quality ingredients, however it doesn’t seem to be what the marketing label “farm-to-table” would imply. For right now, I’m reserving judgement. I know, I’m sounding all locavore snotty. It’s just a personal pet peeve; don’t talk to talk if you don’t walk the walk.
A signature of Gallo Ristorante, we were told, is the house made pastas, made every day starting at 5am. Though not made with delicate house made pasta, they also offer a unique pasta dish called Scuie Scuie which is hot pasta tossed in a large parmigiano reggiano cheese wheel. Additionally, the pizza oven is not only for pizza, it’s also where they bake housemade breads and cook many chicken and fish dishes, including a salt encrusted branzino. Our tasting dinner organized by the restaurant did not include any of the aforementioned items. As you know, both Renato and I are good pasta eaters, to say the least, so we were a bit disappointed but do realize there is more to life than carbs (…well, maybe).
Here’s what we did sample that evening.
Filet Mignon Carpaccio with cantaloupe, aged balsamic, asparagus and shaved Parmesan
The crisp asparagus played off the paper thin slices of beef which dissolved into each bite. The salty, tangy parm balanced the sweet, acidic balsamic drizzle. This was one of my favorite dishes from the evening.
Oven Roasted Scallop wrapped in speck on a green pea puree with ricotta mousse and black truffle
This dish was good but didn’t jump off the plate like the first course. The scallop was perfectly cooked and I did enjoy the speck (which is smoked prosciutto). It had a nice balance of salty and smokey. However, I found the green pea puree a touch bland and detracted a bit from the other flavors.
Lobster Risotto served inside an orange
The al dente rice was a wonderful vehicle for the rich buttery chunks of lobster and pops of citrus. This dish, to me, was nearly perfect. It lacked the creamy starchiness that is typical of most risotto dishes (which I love), but the flavor combination was delightful.
Halibut with fried artichoke in a champagne saffron sauce on a bed of spinach
The halibut was light and flaky. The fried artichoke did not feel like part of the dish and for me was too heavy for the delicate sauce. I like spinach but I wasn’t a big fan of it here. It seemed a bit stringy.
Filet Mignon topped with caciocavallo cheese in a red wine reduction with porcini mushrooms
The steak was cooked exactly how I like it – rare! The sharp cheese was a wonderful accompaniment to the tender beef. The simple side of broccoli added a nice texture and fresh crunch to the dish.
Dessert was a simple carrot cake, not typical for Italian cuisine. The cake was moist with bits of carrot flecked throughout each bite. It satisfied the need for a little something sweet without being too sweet.
Overall while what we had was good, we feel like we did not get to see the whole picture. Our tasting dinner consisted strictly of seafood and beef – no pasta, pizza or other meats. If we go back to Gallo, rest assured we’ll definitely try one of the signature items missing from our tasting dinner.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. The meal was free of charge. The opinions contained herein are my own and reflect my experience. Your own may differ.
Monday-Saturday – Lunch Noon-3pm, Dinner 5pm-10:30pm
Sunday – Dinner 5-9pm