Madonia Restaurant: Good Food, Great Wine
I like to write about restaurant experiences. In general, I do it only when I’m really wowed. And for just plain restaurant reviews I typically use Yelp. However, recently I discovered Urbanspoon – well, I knew about Urbanspoon for a while already, but I didn’t know that unlike Yelp and TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon actually allows you to link your blog post to the particular restaurant’s page, which to me is somewhat of a game changer. Taking this into account, you should expect to see more restaurant “reviews” in this blog. Well, let’s make it straight – I’m not going to convert into a restaurant critic. My reviews will [continue to] comprise of bunch of pictures and a few words about food and wine. But I will make an effort to write more posts about our restaurant experiences.
And here we go…
Restaurant I want to talk about today is called Madonia and it is located in Stamford, CT. Restaurant defines its food as Modern Mediterranean – however, looking at the menu, I would simply classify it as Italian, considering the prevalence of the traditional Italian dishes. The restaurant is also offering a “tasting menu” featuring seasonal ingredients.
Talking about food, nothing was really stunning or even simply standing out – with the exception of white bean spread served with the bread, which was outstanding and gone in two seconds. We ordered a number of dishes (some pictures are below), and all of them shared the same trait [unfortunately] – they were good, but plain. All the food was perfectly cooked – but real seasoning, the “umph”, was missing, while it was greatly desired.
The wines, luckily, represented a different story. First of all, the wine list was well priced (there is enough selections of decent wines in a proximity of $30, which is not often in restaurants). Chef (and owner) Enzo is quite passionate about the wines, and he likes to please his guests. We started talking about wine, and Enzo mentioned that he has a number of wines which are not on the list, and which he will be glad to offer to us. One of those wines was called Shatter, Grenache wine out of France.
I heard of Shatter before, I believe I read a rave review in one of the blogs (sorry, it’s been a while). Shatter is a joint project of Dave Phinney, the winemaker at Orin Swift Cellars, and Joel Gott, the winemaker at eponymous winery. My initial thought was “no, thank you, I don’t want this wine”. First, I don’t like the style of Orin Swift wines – one of their most famous wines is called Prisoner, a Zinfandel blend, which I find over-extracted. Second, I lost my love of French Grenache – I definitely prefer the Spanish Grenache style, in general more velvety and round than the French and less biting. But then, considering our other options, the fact that I heard about the wine before and the great price ($45) – oh well, we decided to give this wine a try – and we happened to hit the home run.
2011 Shatter Grenache Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, France (15.9% ABV, 100% Grenache, 10 month in French oak, 30% new) – dark garnet color in the glass, nose of dark fruit with a hint of espresso beans. On the palate, velvety texture with blueberries and cherries prevalent, touch of spice, a bit of peppery notes, dark chocolate, firm structure, supple tannins, perfect acidity and overall very balanced. I have to say, surprisingly balanced (again) for 15.9% ABV. Drinkability: 8
Then there was dessert, and so here are more food pictures for you:
Overall, it was a good meal, definitely anchored on the great wine experience. And we plan to come back, as Enzo showed us his
secret wine room – the room is used both as a cellar and the place for the special wine dinners. You can eat surrounded by wine – don’t think I know of any other restaurant in Stamford where you can do the same. Yes, we will be back…
That’s all I have for you for today, my friends. Cheers!
1297 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT 06903