Spaghetti Boia at the new Cugine’s Italian in Stamford’s South End.
Brian A. Pounds/Hearst Connecticut Media
John and Morgan Nealon opened Cugine’s June 10 in the Harbor Point district, with what they call “alluring, well-plated Italian cuisine,” refined cocktails and an extensive wine list. The new upscale restaurant is next door to Taco Daddy, their casual and playful spot for tacos and whimsical drinks, but they’re looking forward to introducing something entirely different, they say.
Chef Rick O’Connor brings experience from Michelin-starred Marea in New York City, where he became proficient in crafting crudos. He brings that expertise to Cugine’s, with plates like tuna with shaved frozen foie gras and torched pickled strawberries, uni and anchovy butter on brioche toast and bay scallop ceviche with watermelon and mint.
Other shareable plates include meatballs, steamed clams with Calabrian chili butter, crostini with whipped ricotta and roasted grapes and fried calamari. Vegetable-forward dishes include shaved raw and grilled zucchini with mint salsa verde, mixed mushrooms with garlic and thyme, and Brussels sprouts with honey agrodolce and mint.
A variety of fresh, housemade pastas range from simply-prepared ricotta cavatelli pesto and spaghetti boia with tomatoes to wild boar gnocchi, baby octopus puttanesca and lumache with bay scallops, zucchini and guanciale. An entree of brick chicken tagliata features arugula salad with shaved parmesan, and petite shoulder tenderloin is served with potato-fontina croquettes, grilled lettuce, red wine jus and cauliflower puree. Grilled langoustines are paired with a fennel and citrus salad.
121 Towne Street, 203-276-9266, @cuginesitalian.