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Sunday
Oct282012

Bar Sügo Opens in Norwalk w/ Authentic Italian

The culinary landscape of downtown Norwalk improved significantly with the opening of Bar Sügo, offering Italian cuisine that Chef/Owner Pat Pascarella’s describes as “food that Italians eat every day.”

Bar Sügo’s menu features a wide variety of cicchetti, e primi, and meatballs as well as larger servings of pasta and pizzas to accompany several beers on tap, including Allagash White, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Strubbe Pils or Thornbridge Raven, or one of the numerous bottles of wine. The interior features a large red and white tiled floor, a copper-topped bar, rustic walls covered with large canvassed photos, with one wall dedicated to displaying the restaurant’s diverse selection of wines…the setting allows for a vibrant atmosphere to complement the delicious food. Chef Pat will prepare variations of Italian cuisine using fresh, flavorful ingredients and keep the price of each of the dishes under $20.

Pascarella graduated from the New York French Culinary Institute and subsequently joined the renowned kitchens of Mario Batali’s Esca and Scott Conant’s L’Impero before moving to Connecticut to cook at Bella Luna, Grand and Saltwater Grill, and most recently Cortina Pizzeria. He received local recognition as the winner of Stamford’s first Iron Chef Competition in 2008. Joining him in Bar Sügo’s kitchen is Sous Chef Joseph Italiano, who joins from Danny Meyer’s Eleven Madison Park where he was the Garde Manger. Together the duo is creating a delicious culinary tour of Italy.

The “salumi e formaggi” contain many wonderful house-made specialties including lardo, duck prosciutto and bresaola plus a delightful prosciutto di Parma and La Tur cheese.

The “cicchettis” (small snacks) include a wide range of options and guests can customize the choices into a mini-tasting menu.

The highlight was the maple glazed crispy pork belly, perfectly braised in a grape-accented beer and topped with a maple glaze and served with lentils and pickled and seared onions. The flavors of the dish seamlessly balanced the richness of the meat with the sweet and sour onions with just a touch of earthiness from the lentils.

For a lighter choice, I enjoyed the baby octopus served on a bed of frisée and the scallops al forno. The octopus was incredibly tender and the flavors were brightened by the addition of a hint of lemon. The scallops were perfectly seared and were accompanied by several of Chef Pat’s purées. On my first visit I enjoyed kabocha squash and apple purées while on the second visit, a celery root purée was substituted for the squash. Both were finished with droplets of 25-year old balsamic vinegar that added a slight sour background to the dish.

The “insalate e primi” contain several salads plus a host of delicious small plates

My favorite was the braised short ribs. The beef was braised in red wine, balsamic vinegar and tomato and presented atop faro, kabocha squash purée and garnished with a delightful gremolata. The meat was moist and extremely tender while the texture maintained the meat’s integrity. The squash and faro added a delightful earthiness plus the crunchy texture of the faro complemented the creaminess of the squash purée. The gremolata was accented with a little lemon and horseradish to give sour and spicy components.

Other options were a creamy Burrata with white anchovies, oil cured olives and cherry tomato confit, which was a light and delicious choice and the mozzarella “in carozza” (between bread) that was likewise served with the cherry tomato confit and finished with a broccoli rabe pesto. The contrasting crispy exterior and creamy interior of the mozzarella worked well with the sweet cherry tomatoes and the full-flavored rabe pesto.

The “meatballs” currently include six choices and Chef Pat offers a “meatball tasting.” The options ranged from a traditional “mommy’s meatballs” that were a delicious all-beef variety to my favorite “veal sweetbread meatballs with pearl onion agrodolce” that combined the slight tartness of the sweetbreads offset by the sweet and sour onions. The “pork meatballs” were incredibly moist and served with a whipped ricotta and the “Ox Hollow’s beef meatballs” offered the deepest flavor of the six choices.

The highlights of the menu were the “house-made pastas” that showcased Chef Pat’s talents, with the pasta cooked just short of al dente. I enjoyed the extra level of texture that each of the pastas brought to these dishes. 

Chef Pat’s simple spaghetti with tomato and basil was full of bright tomato flavors and when combined with the meatballs from the meatball sampler plate, created a memorable and diverse spaghetti and meatball dinner.

The Bolognese sauce was outstanding and served with either Pappardelle or Cavatelli. Each presented a slightly different textural quality with the traditional pappardelle supplementing the rich sauce while the cavatelli played an equal co-star role. The Bolognese is one of the best in the area and included a touch of mascarpone cheese to create a silky finish. 

The cavatelli with house-made sausage, broccoli rabe and almonds was a light and enjoyable alternative. The chicken stock based sauce was light and mild and complemented the other robust ingredients. The taggliatelle with wild mushrooms, farmer’s cheese and black truffles was another excellent choice and combined a large and diverse selection of wild mushrooms in a rich broth and finished with farmer’s cheese.

And pizza lovers can rest easier now that Chef Pat’s fantastic pizzas have returned and the new ovens are creating an even better crust. The pizza selections include many of my favorites from a simple Margherita that showcase the delicious tomato sauce and mozzarella to the ultra-extreme CTbites combination that includes Chef Pat’s delectable braised short ribs, potato, soft and sweet caramelized onions and topped with oozing eggs.

After only a few weeks, Bar Sügo is delivering outstanding Italian cuisine. As Chef Pat said, “this is the food I like to make”…and after sampling many of his dishes I say “this is the food we love to eat.” 

Bar Sügo – 102 Wall Street – Norwalk, CT 06854 – 203.956.7134 

Bar Sugo on Urbanspoon

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    Nice page, Maintain the fantastic work. Thanks a ton!

Reader Comments (9)

Great review a of an awesome new spot. Really good addition to the local scene, especially that stretch of Wall St. Photos are fantastic.

P.s. Meyer sold his interest in Eleven Madison Park in 2011

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

Looks great. Can't wait to try it!

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjodancing

With all due respect to JFood, I think I've yet to see a single review from this person that is anything less than 100% complimentary across the board. CT BItes needs more discerning critics. Wife and I ate at Bar Sugo and experienced entirely mixed results. A couple of very good courses, one course that was a complete miss, and a pizza that was utterly bland and devoid of taste. There is no doubt in my mind that the chef has talents and there are absolutely some merits to this restaurant's food and chef, however, it is so clearly not uniformly outstanding as this review would make one thing. JFood needs to raise the bar on his critical analysis in these CT Bites postings, they too often come across as blindly positive "reviews" of restaurants that are absolutely flawed and imperfect...which is often the case with most restaurants in Fairfield County, even the better ones...or any restaurant for that matter. Take it with a grain of salt. You can get some good, solid food at this spot, along with some misses.

October 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfoodfan

i heartily agree with foodfan. ctbites is great for learning about openings but i can't take any of their reviews seriously. most of the restaurants in fairfield county fall somewhere between mediocre and awful yet somehow each ctbites review is glowing. meanwhile legitimate food critics and amateur bloggers alike are intensely more critical of NYC restaurants that would kick the butt of pretty much any FFC restaurant!!

October 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterilikefood

foodfan , ilikefood

Many thanks for the feedback and we have been discussing this topic for a while. If you look at the banner you will note “Your guide to great food in Fairfield County” and CTbites strives to guide our readers to where to eat and what to order. In each of the reviews I offer guidance to dishes that I recommend, but to your point, I agree that CTbites should also give guidance of those dishes that were not in the same league, in our opinion. So thank you for the nudge.

Going forward I will continue to offer guidance to those dishes that I recommend, and I will now add, at the end of the review, a breakdown in three categories, “Really Liked,” “Liked,” and “Not So Much.” Hopefully that will add a new dimension to the reviews and maybe start some discussion on differing opinions.

And for Bar Sugo, here is that breakdown of the dishes:

Really Liked

1. Maple glazed crispy pork belly
2. Fire roasted brussel sprouts
3. Scallops al forno
4. Braised short ribs
5. CTbites Pizza
6. Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil
7. Pappardelle or Cavatelli with Bolognese, sage veloute and ricotta salata
8. Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms, farmer’s cheese and black truffles

Liked

1. Oven roasted mussels
2. Mozzarella “in carozza”
3. Creamy Burrata
4. Cavatelli with sausage, broccoli rabe and almonds

Not So Much

1. Wild mushroom arancini
2. Creamy polenta “in a jar”

Hope that helps and I would love to know if this list is aligned with your experiences.

Many thanks again and I personally look forward to seeing if my experiences are what our readership experience.

Ciao.

November 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterJeff "jfood" Schlesinger

Jfood, that was a truly classy and diplomatic response and reception to my criticism of your CT Bites review. I do think CT Bites would be that much better if it employed some sort of rating system, or at least a categorized breakdown by dish as you mapped out, to give a more complete picture of each restaurant and comparative analysis vs others in the same vein and/or region. Too often I find these CT restaurants have some good offerings amidst many misses, and that they ultimately don't stack up, especially against NYC's finest. My Bar Sugo tally of the dishes we tried would be:

Liked - apple-celery root soup w/ chestnuts

Fair - tuscan bean puree

Mixed to poor - the uninspiring margherita pizza - tasteless and dry crust, bland sauce, cheese was good but over cooked on top of pie. Very disappointing, especially since it looked good coming out of the oven and I had a better pizza from the same chef at his little takeout pizza shop in Norwalk.

Poor - a pumpkin ravioli that was severely undercooked to a point of embarrassment (and I like pasta al dente) that might have otherwise made it into the fair category if it weren't for this issue.

We had one other starter that was fine but not memorable enough for me to remember it now.

November 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfoodfan

foodfan

hey, we are here for our readers and your thoughts were really good. many chefs value input from all sides to make everyone better, what's the old saying, a rising tide raises all ships. Same thought for the site and me personally.

I would strongly suggest the CTbites pizza, not just because of the name but your use of the word "uninspiring". As much as I love margherita pizzas, for a full flavored experience the short ribs, cheese, tomato and the addition of the oozy egg are decadent. I may head there for one at lunch today.

Please feel free to post additional thoughts, the good, the bad and the ugly or just drop me a note at jfoodctbites@gmail.com

ciao

November 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterJeff "jfood" Schlesinger

I agree with "ilikefood"! CT Bites is a site for free, glowing advertising reviews of their clique restaurants.

November 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteramused

I enjoyed a good dinner with five friends at Bar Sugo. Here are my comments--
1-white pizza with potatoes--very good and tasty!
2-beet and fennel salad-delish!
3-meatball platter--kids loved it. I didn't try it.

the wine was warm-- I asked for a bucket to chill it down. the waiter was extremely helpful.
The wine list needs to include more value-priced selections. Hopefully, they will add more selections as the restaurant get builds momentum.
We all liked the atmosphere and the menu, and would recommend it to friends.

.

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjodancing

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