I have a friend who just happens to be what I consider to be the most talented chef around. Now I know some of you may think that I am bias, but he and I became friends because of food…his food. Pasquale (Pat) Pascarella studied at the French Culinary Institute, cooked for Mario Batali and served up some fantastic food at g/r/a/n/d, Bella Luna and the Saltwater Grille. Impressive? Yeah I think so. From having talks with him over the years and following his posts on Facebook and other social media I knew that this was his dream restaurant and when we got there I knew that his dream come true. The staff is great, the decor is modern and warm, but most of all you just know you are welcome which is always a good thing. We started with a 3 plate course that included prosciutto wrapped truffle fries, fried calamari and rice balls with sausage and wild mushrooms. For starters the fries were cooked perfectly and had plenty of flavor. One might think that fries with a meat that is known to sweat might be soft or soggy, not these. They were rich and flavorful and the texture was spot on.
Next up was a couple of fantastic rice balls with sausage and wild mushrooms. The outside was light and crispy, but not too delicate which helped it all stay together when you cut into it. As for the inside, the rice was soft and creamy. The sausage and mushroom was a perfect contrast not only in flavor, but in texture too. Much like the fries, this dish was not overly salty which you might expect with each dishes respective ingredients. Definitely two stellar plates to start.
Rounding out the first plates was fried calamari. This is a staple in any Italian eatery, but that doesn’t mean they always get it right. Let me just preface this with, Pat did. Crispy, large pieces accompanied by a generous helping of hot peppers. I could go on about it, but what more is there to say? The dish was done right. Sometimes it is the easy ones that people butcher, but when it is right you just know.
Now the following is a case of good news and bad news. Not necessarily for the chef, but definitely for the reader. There is a section of the menu dedicated to meatballs from which you can order individually or a tasting of all. Naturally we went for the complete tasting and if I swore on this blog this would be where it happened. There are really no words to describe how fantastic each and every meatball was and what was in all of them, but please, please, please believe me when I tell you they were beyond amazing. Each one had ingredients ranging from duck to pork to cranberry and whipped ricotta. Nothing was spared when this idea came to life. The bad news is that I was so engulfed in inhaling them I never got a picture. For that I am equally sorry and not…you understand. In addition to what we ate there are a vast array of house made pastas, brick oven pizzas and plenty more dishes I have to go back and try. After dinner was done we dove into a little dessert. Roasted pear with truffle honey and whipped ricotta. Rustic, refreshing and down right delectable.
Now those of you who know me, know that I may enjoy the occasional cocktail. I had one tonight that hit the spot. They call it “The Chosen One” and when you go make sure you choose it. It is more on the summer side of drinks, but all in all worth it. In addition to a nice list of specialty drinks there are seasonal tap beers, a decent amount of domestic and imported bottles and a superb list of wines that pair well with every dish on the menu. As I mentioned, this is what I believe to be Pat’s dream restaurant so nothing was spared when it came to creativity, ingredients and most of all passion. While in the kitchen shooting some food I just got the sense that he was ready to hit this head on. He hired two people who are close to me to cook right alongside him. Albeit one for dinner and one for dessert. Seeing them in the kitchen making these dishes and the restaurant come to life made me proud, not just because I was there experiencing it but because I know just how much it meant to all of them to be there. Doing what they love, but to also doing it with who they love. Bar Sügo is located at 102 Wall Street in Norwalk. Follow them on Facebook here and lastly, go there and eat!