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Fairfield County Restaurant Directory

Ferrante Restaurant

191 Summer St
Phone: 203.323.2000

Opening in March of 2007, this young and beautiful restaurant got a running start from star-quality clientele who followed owner Lorando Ionesco from New York City to Stamford. With the increase in movie-making in lower Fairfield County, Robin Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cyndi Lauper and Mickey Rourke dine at Ferrante whenever they are in the area. But you do not have to be a star to be treated like one at Ferrante.

The word “ferrante” is Italian and describes a generous host. And that tells you exactly what Lorando Ionesco is: a totally gracious, gallant and welcoming host. He’s also a highly professional, hands-on owner, making diners feel very much at home. He visits every table, making sure everything is to each client’s taste.

Lorando Ionesco is a nephew of the great playwright, Eugene Ionesco, the Romanian-born master of the Theater of the Absurd. Lorando became famous overnight in chic circles when he received a $16,000 tip on an $80,000 check at the famous Melli in Manhattan. How did that happen? He replies, “The group had clinched a major business deal. They were celebrating! They bought the most expensive dinners and wines.”

Speaking of wines, let Lorando recommend your wines, pairing them exquisitely with the various courses of your meal. This because fine wine is Lorando’s passion and has been so since his youth. Says Lorando, “I worked in vineyards in Italy when I was young, I learned to determine the great years from the good ones and how to taste for greatness.”

Ionesco took over the space formerly owned by Chef Nicola Zenghi and brought in architects and designers, telling them exactly how to redo the place to his taste. It has a warm, gracious European feeling. The woodworking is masterful. The space is large, with seating for 80.

Lunch and dinner are served seven days a week. Start with any of a variety of soups, including zuppa di pollo made with Cornish hen, vegetables and homemade taglioni or pasta fagioli with white beans, vegetables, a masterful broth and small pasta. There are main-course salads for lunch and lighter ones to accompany dinner.

There are unique special appetizers, the carciofi alla giudea — crisp artichoke flowers drizzled with balsamic vinegar in the Roman style. Or, capesante alla griglia — grilled sea scallops, in an herb marinade, with endive and scallions. Calamaretti fritti is a universal favorite — baby squid, pan-seared crisp, makes a delightful appetizer. If you are dining with a few friends, order several and pass them around the table.

Pizza is available for a light lunch or after-theater snack. Pasta is made fresh daily and ranks among Lorando Ionesco’s favorite foods. Especially enjoyable is the tagliaradi al sugo di anatra — satiny strips of pasta with a sauce of duck confit! Spaghetti al frutti di mare is tossed with shrimp, scallops, calamari, arugula and cherry tomatoes in a delicate sauce. Ravioli “ricotta e spinaci” is filled with fresh ricotta cheese and spinach in a creamy pink sauce.

Fish dishes include halibut, snapper, salmon and swordfish, all prepared in delightfully unique ways.

There are many meat and chicken choices. Pan-seared ham is served with arugula and tomatoes. There are many veal dishes to choose from, including piccatina limone, veal scallops with lemon and caper berries, served with mashed potatoes. Then there is the delicious scaloppine alla sorrentina, veal with eggplant, mozzarella di bufala and tomato sauce.

The saltimbocca alla Romana is a classic, veal scallops with baby artichokes, prosciutto and wild mushrooms. Ferrante does the filet mignon with a bit of a French flair. The sauce has green peppercorns, brandy and a touch of cream. A true country dish is osso bucco al bosco — veal shank, braised and sauced with wild mushrooms, served over polenta.

Desserts are simply fabulous — the in-house pastry chef whips up their now-famous Swiss almond/chocolate cake, creamy panna cotta, fantastic Napoleons and berries in Sabayonne.

This elegant restaurant has a menu to please just about any discerning diner. The lush ambiance is richly muted. Ferrante not a place for shouters!

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