Summa summa summa time!
|Oink, oink, piggy. You are so tasty.|
I’ve been a fan of Bar Sugo for a while now. It is one of, if not my favorite restaurant in all of Fairfield County. I wrote a review of one of Norwalk’s hottest eateries towards the end of 2014 after so many visits and it took me so long because I wanted to express my fandom for a place I have really come to love. It feels like every time at Bar Sugo is the best time; the food is the epitome of consistency, no doubt a tribute to Chef Pat Pascarella and the entire kitchen staff. I’ve never had one thing I didn’t like, and over the years Chef Pat has sent out some things that I would not have ordered myself and I practically wiped every plate clean. I almost can’t say enough good things about Bar Sugo, and I think THAT REVIEWgot my point across, but why are we here now, less than a year later, writing about the same spot?
Well, there’s always more to talk about, namely a revamped beer program, newer cocktail list, and if you hadn’t noticed, it’s warm outside and garden fresh ingredients are in full swing, so yeah, SUMMER MENU!
Craft beer is sweeping the nation and beer programs are popping up at restaurants everywhere. Bar Sugo has half a dozen taps, most of them pour out beer from local breweries, others are for some of the rarer stuff. The cans & bottles list will always be switched up so you should follow Bar Sugo on Instagram to see what they’ve got in stock. I know I get thirsty following their Instagram account and it’s nice to know I’ve got another option in Norwalk when it comes to craft beer and if they continue to get the harder to find brews, I might just need a bar stool with my name engraved on it.
The Cocktails 😉
|An O.G. cocktail, the Tom Collins|
|Basil cocktail? Don’t mind if I do!|
I’ve always found the cocktails at Bar Sugo to range from average to slightly above average, but I feel like they keep improving in this area. On more than a few occasions I’ve had a spicy margarita that wasn’t so overwhelmingly “take my breath away” hot and I like that, when the spice is there but doesn’t take over. On this visit I was glad to see a classic Tom Collins on the menu, made to perfection, equally sweet and strong. I also tried a sample that you non-sweet loving folks would enjoy, called the La Basilico Giardino (gin, Cocchi Americano, fresh basil, lemon); the presence of the basil really came through but wasn’t overpowering, but refreshing. I would order this next time and if I’m not operating on a truly empty stomach I’ll order a Negroni too.
The Summer Menu 😛
The staple dishes at Bar Sugo need no further intro, they’re all pretty great and I almost can’t even eat there without ordering the best meatballs in Fairfield County, those sinful prosciutto wrapped truffle fries, and my all-time Bar Sugo fave…Cavatelli Bolognese. Get those things, but they have a super fresh summer menu that you MUST try, all with ingredients from local farms, Chef Pat’s family’s garden, and even the little herb garden right on Bar Sugo’s patio!
|Goat cheese stuffed zucchini flower, deep fried and served with an over reduced, thick tomato sauce, parm.|
|Bibb salad w/ creamy Italian dressing, lemon, almonds, radish.|
|You can’t pass anything up here, it’s honestly more fun to order a bunch at Bar Sugo and share. Definitely get the panzanella salad.|
|Come on, you know that’s a beautiful pie.|
|Last slice?! You know I snagged it!|
The summery freshness begins with heirloom tomatoes from the garden of Chef Pat’s parents and they sure do pop with flavor and color in a panzanella salad with both red & yellow heirlooms, red onion, homemade crunchy croutons, cucumber and torn basil. Also on the plate is a vibrant pesto for veggie swirling and dipping purposes. Another use of the heirlooms comes on the Aunt Lena Pizza; a white pie with whipped burrata, the aforementioned tomatoes, balsamic, and basil. First off, if you have not had Bar Sugo’s pizza, what is wrong with you? It’s a top three (maybe even the best) Neapolitan style pie with a spot-on golden brown, crispy/chewy crust that’s light. This is one pizza that could develop my already existing pizza problem into a full blown addiction.
|That’s how you present Sport Hill Farm’s sweet corn!|
Sticking with that seasonal theme is a take on Mexican street corn called “Corn Messicano” that uses sweet corn, red pepper flakes, andouille sausage aioli and parmesan. The “do-it-yourself” presentation on the slightly blackened corn allows you to use as much of the rich pork fat aioli as you want, and I used mostly all of it. Another solid veggie-centric dish includes a silky, buttery heirloom polenta from Anson Mills, a generous heap of earthy wild mushrooms and a 60 minute sous vide egg that’ll provide that rich, yolky, bursting effect when you apply the slightest pressure with your fork; it’s great for a pre-dinner app and it’s brunch appropriate too.
|Homemade gnocchi, brown butter sage, zucchini, zucchini flowers. The bloggers and I kept going back to this one. I’m a sucker for gnocchi but hadn’t had it with zucchini before.|
|That cacio tho.|
|Had no one else been at the table I would have gone at the lasagna with my bare hands.|
The pasta list at Bar Sugo is ever changing (my cavatelli is a staple though) and I never leave without trying at least two different ones. If you’re looking for something classic, go with the cacio e pepe (cheese & pepper). In layman’s terms it’s an Italian mac & cheese but without the cream or milk but rather a mixture of Italian cheeses (usually pecorino and parmesan), salt, starchy pasta water and lots of black pepper. It’s hard to find a worthy one but this one is; the pepper is supposed to be prevalent and almost spicy and the blend of the cheese and pasta water makes a creamy sauce, Chef Pat’s cacio hits on both. For something more modern try the short rib lasagna. The lasagna itself is pretty classic but the short rib is very new school and so are the addition of pickled jalapenos on the plate; they add some acid and a spicy kick but don’t worry, the dollop of ricotta will calm that right down.
The Sweet Stuff!
|Desserts that induce drool.|
|I’d totally let someone airplane a cannoli into my mouth.|
You should always order dessert, even if you’re full because everyone has room for something sweet. Along with everything at Bar Sugo, desserts DO NOT DISAPPOINT, and it’ll be hard to resist those Italian specialty treats like tartufo, cannolis, and cheesecake. I was told the only dessert brought in is the tartufo but they’re from a local company, Buck’s Ice Cream (Milford), the rest are made in-house. The cannoli cream and the super light and airy cheesecake are made, not by Chef Pat, but by Tom, the kitchen’s dishwasher. Chef Pat mentioned that he stepped aside because Tom makes a better cannoli cream and a better cheesecake than he does. Props to you, Tom, both were terrific!
|Great meals are best shared with cool people. It helps that they love good eats as much as I do!|
Go to Bar Sugo in any season! But try your damnedest to get there in the summer to take advantage of this season’s crop of veggies used in creative ways that taste great. The only mistake I made during the tasting was not ordering another pizza to-go! I take solace knowing that I’ll be back at least a few more times this summer.
102 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT 06850