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« Harvest to Heat Cookbook: A Farm-to-Kitchen Journey | Main | Reheated: Weekly Food News for April 15 »
Sunday
Apr172011

Gabriele's in Greenwich: A Steakhouse With Italian Roots

An American Italian restaurant dressed in elegant steakhouse clothes, Gabriele's in Greenwich is the bespoke incarnation of Luca's, the Italian restaurant and caterer that's inhabited Church Street for the past fifteen years.

Holding court over this recently reopened Italian chophouse is the trio of Danny Gabriele, the son of Luca and owner of Gabriele's; manager Tony Capasso, the amiable alum of Valbella; and Joseph Giordano, the chef. The two year journey from Luca's to Gabriele's included a gut renovation, a propitious relationship with Jody Pennette of cb5 Restaurant Group, and a heck of a lot of wood paneling. 

The clubby bar area is filled with richly stained wood, leather chairs, and an imposing floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. An oval half-glass wall separates the bar area from the main room and allows a panoramic view of Gabriele's deep dining room and a private tasting room tucked into a corner. Upstairs, Gabriele's has renovated a large room that is often rented out for private parties and receptions.

The menu is heavy with classic cuts of aged beef fitting a steakhouse of this ilk, but don't miss the chance to dive into the Italian dishes and heavy seafood rotation, just as much Arthur Avenue than Batali-Bastianich. Although there are forays into truffle-laced pastas such as the mind-melting Housemade Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with a Poached Egg and Truffle Butter Sauce, there are a number of simple yet deeply satisfying dishes such as the Mezze Rigatoni Sunday Gravy with italian sausage and meatballs that resonate for people like me who missed out on having an Italian grandmother.

The raw bar offerings can stand on their own. I plan on returning simply to order this seasonal seafood tower, oozing with lobster, king crab, oyster and clams on the half shell. The tower is the ideal appetizer if you're dining for business on someone else's expense account.

Italian roots and seafood aside, the most important shift in the restaurant's approach is that of its bovine worship. The team at Gabriele's professed to tasting a number of beef purveyors, passing on more local options before settling on Allen Brothers in Chicago for their aged prime cuts of meat which the kitchen is seasoning and firing with a Montague broiler. The regular cuts include the classic steakhouse cuts such as a bone-in ribeye, a porterhouse and filet mignon, and a Wagyu flatiron steak. The sides are classic chophouse sides with Greenwich flair, such as an over-sized baked stuffed potato served with creme fraiche and crispy bacon – easily a meal in and of itself.

  

Another nod to your real or imagined Italian grandmother comes courtesy of pastry chef Leanne Mascolli, is the appearance of an Ice Box Cake on the dessert menu. A staggering multi-layered chocolate cake filled with mascarpone vanilla cream that will bend your sweet tooth into submission. The Butter Browned French Toast stuffed with Nutella and a Dreamsicle Parfait, a combination of orange vanilla bean cream, and browned house-made marshmallows are worth sticking around for whether or not you've saved room.

 

Gabriele's has tranformed itself into the quintessential Fairfield County steakhouse. It's a space perfect suited for the type of elbow rubbing best done in a jacket, with a stiff cocktail and a hankering for red meat. Forget the steakhouse chains and bring your appetite. And ideally, an expense account. It's a Greenwich steakhouse after all. 

Gabriele's Italian Steakhouse is located at 35 Church Street, Greenwich. 203.622.4223. Reservations are recommended.

[Photography by Tom McGovern]

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Reader Comments (7)

You can keep Gabriel's .......if I want to spend Greenwich prices I'll make a trip to New York and go to Peter Luger's

April 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPD Chef

I was at Gabrielles for a soccer banquet back when it was Luca's and it was beyond disappointing. I have been wondering about the food at the new "Gabrielles" since we live 10 minutes away and I am always looking for new restaurants for celebratory meals. We will try it out but it had better be very good to compete with excellent restaurants located nearby. The steak with black truffle sauce at Barcelona is hard to beat and so are the excellent pastas at Morello. The decor at Gabrielles looks like it would be especially inviting during the winter months so our visit will have to wait until the Fall.

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKerri

@ PDChef If you're craving a steak and don't mind the drive, I'd be in NYC myself. But I'm relieved to have a closer option. Pretty tough (perhaps impossible) to beat Luger's though.

@ Kerri The bar is the place to be during a cold night. I didn't want to leave my bar stool perch just a few weeks ago when the temps were below freezing. I went for the steak but left impressed by the pasta.

April 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterAmy Kundrat

I have been here twice (both times on someone else's dime) and both experiences were excellent. The first time, our waiter seemed a bit aloof, but that is the only complaint. The manager Tony Carpasso greeted us warmly at the bar and also took us to our table and checked in on us throughout the meal to ensure everything was excellent. He also hasn't lost is touch with regards to his photographic memory for trivia and kept us on our toes throughout the evening with some questions. All facets of the meal were excellent, the seafood tower and other appetizers, the meats (had the bone-in filet mignon, and the 2nd time had the lamp chops as well as some of the waygu flatiron steak) were especially well done. The lobster pasta with truffel sauce was the hit of the evening, most of us were gulping down the sauce like soup once the pasta was gone. Overall it's a cool scene with good atmostphere and energy. The bar area is gorgeous and the wood paneling and awesome fireplace are an inviting place to soak up a couple of drinks while either waiting for a table or while just having a small bite to eat. The service at Valbella blows this place away (other than for Tony) but I give the edge to this place for the food and atmosphere. Its also worth noting that I was there on a Monday and then a Tuesday night and both times the place was absolutely packed - bar included. Seems like a good sign.

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Amy - have you been to Joseph's in Bridgeport? Admittedly it has been five years since I went but I was impressed - curious how this compares to that (as Joseph's is all about the traditional steakhouse experience).

(Anymore, I figure that can cook my own for a lot less money - so haven't been to a high-end steak joint in a few years - though I bet that over the years I've been to a fifteen different Morton's and a handful of nice independents.)

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

@ Chris Grimm I've never been to Joseph's but have heard good things. I too have been to a dozen Mortons all over the east coast, and to this day will occasionally crave that trifecta of onion bread, classic wedge salad, and filet. Gabriele's has a very strong Italian accent and is more Italian American steakhouse than American chophouse a la Mortons. It may not be a stretch to inverse that, and call it an Italian restaurant that serves steak. In general, I've often wondered why there aren't more steakhouses in Fairfield County, especially down in the Stamford/Greenwich area where expense accounts are a bit more forgiving.

April 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterAmy Kundrat

I had a drink at the place and it was really a happening spot. A lot of wood, which is very charming and the woman there is HOT. Can't wait to go back and try the food.

July 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan

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