Happy Hour at the Edge of Norwalk at Basso Café


How is this our first happy hour review? Booze at 4 p.m., FTW!

 

When you live in a city you tend to stick to a centralized area where everyone goes when they get hungry or thirsty and you beat it to death like a popular song. It gets old fast. For me, happy hour is a good chance to blow off some of the stresses of the week and forget about the nonsense for a few happy hours (yeah, I know that was super corny). Ultimately you can’t beat alcoholic drinks at reduced prices and cheap small plates to devour as if it’s your last meal on this planet. What I do like about Norwalk is there is no shortage of restaurants offering a good time after work, and there are others, new to the happy hour game, away from the hustle of South Norwalk, that are way more relaxed and the food and drinks are solid too.

That’s where Basso Café comes in.

Basso’s not a huge place, but it’s cozy & casual while still remaining classy.

Their happy hour is new and they got me out of the SoNo routine I find myself constantly stuck in. What’s kind of odd is that I always knew about Basso, I knew of Chef/Owner Renato Donzelli’s good reputation when it comes to food (his photo skills are good too, btw), I just never made it there until they reached out and had two of the Food Dudes in for tapas and a few drinks.

If you hang pork, they will come.

Basso’s happy hour is held Tuesday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., and again from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Visitors during those hours can take advantage of $4 bottled beers, select wines & champagne at $6 – $7 per glass, four cocktails under $10 each, and an array of small plates and snacks that range from $6 – $9.

Now that the info is out of the way, how was the food?

The Drinks
 
The bar program at Basso is run by Jeffrey Hodson, who I swear looks like Josh Brolin. Anyway, he mixes up some good stuff, uses lots of fresh ingredients, and gave us some good conversation too.

 

I tend to go right for something strong and sippable. The Basso Old Fashioned (muddled cherry, orange & sugar, Bulleit Bourbon blended w/Bitter Truth EXR) fits the bill. Had a good week ;-)? Or a bad one? Start here.

 

Not on the happy hour menu, but Jeff can whip you up a dessert-y type cocktail. This one tasted like a boozy raspberry chocolate truffle.

 

Possibly my favorite (aside from the Old Fashioned) was the New Canaan Avenue Sour that we renamed the Broad River Sour cuz like, Basso is in Norwalk, baby! Represent! This was like drinking the best lemonade ever but spiked. It uses Meyer Lemon Vodka, wine grapes, a splash of soda, and thyme. Straight up great.

 

For the spicy drink folks, the Cilantro Chili Margerita. Spicy? Slightly, but not overpowering. The cilantro added a nice fresh herbaceous taste.
 
 
The Snacks
 
I’m not a big eggplant guy but this won me over. The eggplant is preserved in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and oregano and is then grilled and served finger food style atop crispy bread. Terrific seasoning.

 

Here’s where this gets pork heavy because we told Chef Renato we really like pork dishes so he kept ’em comin! This Chorizo Casserole (chickpeas, roasted peppers and onions) was piping hot and served with a comforting broth that was great on a chilly night.

 

House cured pork tenderloin with melted Manchego cheese, chipotle aioli, roasted red peppers, crispy bread. Pork & cheese? Yeah, you don’t have to be a genius to figure out we liked this. The pork was super tender too.

 

Contender for best croquettes? This fancier version uses Iberico ham and Fontina cheese. These golden brown balls + a beer would be a proper way to sin.

 

This was a special that night but we’re hoping to have this again and multiple times after that. This pork belly had a crunchy, chicharrón-like skin. The rich pork was counteracted beautifully by a maple glaze and sweet & sour pearl onions. Easily one of the best pork belly dishes in the area.

So, this was not a happy hour item whatsoever, but Chef Renato used us as Guinea pigs to try this Beef Wellington he was experimenting with for Valentine’s Day. It last about 25 seconds in front of the Food Dudes.

 

Beeeeeeeefy.

 

What’d We Think

 

We agreed that we’d come out to Basso often because of its chill vibe, good prices, and more importantly we liked everything we had. Chef Renato’s Mediterranean/Italian/American fusion cuisine is packed with flavor and it’s different from ordinary happy hour food. It’s a small sample size but now I seriously want to come back for dinner!

Basso Café
124 New Canaan Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06850
(203) 354-6566
http://www.bassobistrocafe.com/
Basso Café on Facebook
Twitter: @bassocafe
Instagram: @basso_cafe

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Bonnie says:

    That Wellington is calling my name!!!

    Like

  2. It's not a bad idea for Valentine's Day. Good price too, $160 for two people. Wonder if they'll let me pay the amount and eat both meals…

    Like

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