Executive Chef Mogan Anthony of Locali restaurant in New Canaan rolled out his fall menu, inspired by the fresh autumn ingredients, and invited CTbites to stop in and sample a few of his new culinary creations.
My favorite of the Small Plates was the “Shaved Local Cauliflower.” The thinly sliced raw cauliflower was tossed with pieces of Medjool dates, cashews, and drizzled with white Balsamic. The earthiness of the crispy cauliflower was beautifully complemented by the sweetness in the dates and the slightly tart balsamic. The cashews added additional earthiness and a delightful crunch.
The “Bruschetta Di Bufala” was a creative take of a traditional bruschetta. Thinly sliced sour dough bread was first topped with a Raisin Mostarda, followed by the Bufala Mozzarella and then finished with arugula, pine nut oil relish and Saba.
The Bufala was imported from Puglia and offered a slightly pungent flavor that was beautifully offset by the sweetness of the mostarda and Saba. The arugula added just a touch of inherent spiciness.
Another delicious small plate option was the “Just Dug Crispy Potatoes,” topped with fresh rosemary, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and a touch of bonito aioli. The potatoes were perfectly fried with a crispy exterior while maintaining a soft interior. The toppings created a wonderful balance with a touch of saltiness from the cheese and slight citrusy back-notes from the aioli.
The “Edamame Milano” continues from the summer menu and the charred pods were served sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs and Pecorino cheese. This simple preparation delivered a variety of textural contrasts with the crispy breadcrumbs complementing the soft edamame. The slight charring added just a touch of contrasting flavor.
The last small plate I sampled was the “Organic Quinoa Fritter.” The quinoa was mixed with small-diced butternut squash and New England cranberries, fried and served in a pool of Parmesan cheese fondutta. The delicate flavors of the fritter were overwhelmed by the fondutta and I would have preferred a little more sweetness from the squash and cranberries. This is still a work in progress.
The “Clam & Sausage” pasta started with perfectly prepared al dente Fettuccine. The pasta was combined with crumbled sausage, scallions, a squirt of lemon and finished with toasted bread crumbs, joined on the plate were several large clams and finished with a touch of red pepper flakes. This dish was outstanding. The sausage and lemon were a fantastic combination with the lemon’s acidity brightening the sausage, the salinity of the clams was the perfect complement, and the spiciness of the red pepper finished the flavor profile.
No visit to Locali would be complete without enjoying its pizza…Chef Mogan’s pizza dough is one of the best in Fairfield County. The first combination that I sampled was “The American X-Butcher.” The topping included San Marzano tomatoes, bacon, Vidalia onion, potato slices and topped with organic farm eggs. It was exceptional. The dough was perfect, with a good bite and a soft texture, the DOP tomatoes were sweet and complemented the onions and one of the best bacon I have tasted. The egg oozed additional creaminess to this great pie. The “Fall Harvest” pie included Burrata, diced squash, and sliced chestnuts, finished with a touch of maple salt and sage. This Thanksgiving influenced pie focused on the richness of the Burrata and I was not fond of its pairing with the squash, chestnuts and sage.
Chef Mogan’s new fall menu includes some outstanding small plates, pasta and a fantastic selection of pizzas.
- Just Dug Crispy Potatoes ($6)
- Shaved Local Cauliflower ($7)
- Bruschetta Di Bufala ($12)
- Clam & Sausage ($19)
- The American X-Butcher ($17)
- Edamame Milano ($7)
Did Not Like
- Organic Quinoa Fritter ($8)
- Fall Harvest ($15)