Home > Bars and Restaurants, CT Bars and Restaurants, Experiences, Food > True Passion: Amore Cucina and Bar, or a Visit with the Dough Scientist

True Passion: Amore Cucina and Bar, or a Visit with the Dough Scientist

I’m sure that everyone involved in the craft, no matter what it is, has passion for what they do. Sometimes the passion simply shows through their work. But every once in a while we come across the person who simply exudes that passion, readily sharing it with the world through the words and deeds. In this series (as an engineer, I like to organize things), which I call “True Passion”, I plan to share my encounters with such a True Passion.

Amore RestaurantCan a visit to the pizza restaurant blow your mind? I mean the mind first of all, not even the palate? In the nation raised on Pizza Hut and Little Caesars, pizza is such a no-brainer, isn’t it?

We (bloggers) got together for the dinner at Amore Cucina & Bar in Stamford, Connecticut. Amore has an interesting story – in essence, it was the second oldest restaurant in Stamford, originally opened in 1975. In 2014, the original owner of the restaurant sold it, so we were visiting a new reincarnation of the Amore.

As we were finishing our customary chat and the round of cocktails before the dinner, the man walked in with a glass jar in his hand. Bruno DiFabio, Six-time World Pizza Champion and a new owner of Amore restaurant, came to share with us his passion about the … dough. Look, I love bread and all the things made out of dough, but I never even tried to think about dough as something which can solicit emotions (no problems, you can call me whatever you want, I’m still a student of life, one moment at a time). The dough for me was something you can quickly put together, or maybe buy at the local supermarket for a $1 for a big plastic-wrapped ball.

Make no mistake – dough can be an object of passion. Have you heard of the mother dough, essentially a dough which is always alive and used to start a new batch of dough every day? How about foraging your own wild yeast, from the different and totally unexpected places, every morning? How about super-digestible pizzas, which are a rave now in Europe – heard about those? When you meet a person like Bruno, you realize how the true passion looks like. And don’t discount the Pizza passion – having both gas and wood-fired oven in one relatively small restaurant? I think it really means something.

Well, this is the post about Amore restaurant, so as much as I would like to continue talking about our conversation with Bruno, I want to move on to the food, so I can inundate you with pictures. But if you want to know more about Bruno, here is the link – besides, visiting Amore restaurant might be a right thing to do as well.

Okay, let’s talk about our dinner, which was a true demonstration of the Bruno’s Pizza magic, and mastery of the Chef Jarred, who joined Bruno after his previous gig at Washington Prime. As usual we started from the cocktails. I had French Quarter (G’Vine Floraison Gin, St. Germain, Green Grapes, Basil Leaves, Lemon Juice, Fever-Tree Tonic), which was nice and refreshing. The the food started arriving on the tables, in multiple sets, above and beyond our expectations.

We started with the Bruno’s Bread w/ Sunday Sauce – very simple, but delicious. By the way, according to Bruno, it is a myth that you have to cook tomato sauce for hours and hours – you can pretty much develop the flavors within an hour, there is not much else you can achieve with the extra cooking time.

The next section of our menu was called Round Pies. The Round pie pizza at Amore is a thin-crust pizza, cooked in the wood-fired oven. Here is what we had:
New Haven White (little necks, Amore bacon, house mozarella, smoked lemon juice) – this pizza is a tribute to the Connecticut staple, Frank Pepe‘s White Clam Pizza, and it was excellent.
For the Queen (San Marzano, flor di latte mozarella, pecorino romano, basil, local egg) – while we think that adding egg to many dishes is a new discovery in the US, it appears that Italians had put an egg forever on Margherita Pizza – I love that food learning. The pizza was outstanding.
The Holy Cheesus (House Mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, fontina, burrata) – that was simply a Wow. No further comments.

Next up – Square Pies. This is a Neapolitan style pizza, also known as deep dish. This pizza is made in the gas-fired oven, where the temperature can reach 900F. It all comes down to the dough – I always thought of the deep dish pizza as heavy, but it is not in Bruno’s hands…  Here is what we tried:
Juliet (Houze Mozzarella, gogonzola dolce, fig jam, prosciutto, agrodolce) – excellent, great combination of flavors.
Pitt Master (Pulled pork, red onion, mozzarella, BBQ sauce, agave nectar) – different and excellent again

You must have Greens with dinner, right? So rest assured, we had a salad – pretty unique:
Arugula and Beet Salad (Goat cheese and candied walnuts) – what is unique about beets and arugula? How about beets which were braised in veal and chicken stock, and then pureed? This is not your typical beet salad, isn’t it?

And then there were Plates – with literally no holds barred. Take a look:
Meatballs (Sugo, house ricotta, agrodolce) – these were okay, a bit dense.
Octopus Puttanesca (Tomato, Sicily olives, garlic, n’duja sausage, capers) – this was excellent, the capers were deep fried, very nice heat overall.
Tuna Crudo (Calabrian chiles, toasted pumpkin seeds, red onion, torn parsley) – outstanding.
Shrimp & Polenta (tomato, house bacon, polenta) – that sweet polenta was just something else – another wow dish.
Lasagna Balls (Bolgnese and sugo) – forget arancini – this is what you really want to eat. Perfect crunch, and you can taste real lasagna, inside and outside. Yep, another wow.
Chicken Scarpariello (house sausage, peppadew, garlic, Italian polenta, green shallot) – spectacular flavors, really an excellent dish.
Whole Branzino, roasted and fried – wow!
Pasta Carbonara (linguine, guancalle, parsley and egg) – and wow again – so fresh and so light, you just can’t stop eating it.

After all that food do you think we still had room for Dessert? Well, actually, we did – but luckily, only for one:
Budino & Fat Pizelle (butterscotch, whipped cream, berry reduction) – a delicious concoction.

Yes, this was the end of our evening. I hope you were not too hungry before you read this post – sorry, forgot to give you my usual warning. If you are local, or if your travel will take you to Stamford, Amore Cucina & Bar might be your little neighborhood gem… Until the next time – cheers!

Amore Restaurant
921 Hope Street
Stamford, CT 06907
Phone: 203-357-1066
http://amorecucinastamford.com

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  1. Antisocial Patty
    June 19, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Great photos! The food looks delicious. Cheers. 🙂

  2. talkavino
    June 19, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Thanks, Patty! It was very interesting experience overall.

  3. June 20, 2015 at 1:45 am

    I was hungry when I began reading this Anatoli, now I’m ravenous!

    • talkavino
      June 20, 2015 at 6:30 am

      Sorry! (well, somewhat 🙂 )

  4. June 20, 2015 at 6:47 am

    What a feast Anatoli! Looks like it would have been a fabulous evening. 🙂

    • talkavino
      June 20, 2015 at 7:06 am

      Margot, it definitely was a fabulous evening 🙂

  5. June 20, 2015 at 7:06 am

    The restaurant sounds really amazing, it’s an incredible array of food, great photo’s too Anatoli!!! Wish it were closer I would love to eat there, Bruno sounds like he really knows his food and it shows.

    • talkavino
      June 21, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks, Suzanne! Yes, Bruno is very passionate about what he does.

  6. June 20, 2015 at 8:49 am

    That looks absolutely. Amazing. I haven’t even had my coffee and I’m salivating. If I ever make it to Stamford, promise to take me?

    • talkavino
      June 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      Thank you and yes, I would love to take you to Amore. When are you coming? 🙂

  7. June 23, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Wow. WOW!! This all looks so delicious! Thank goodness it’s my lunch break now, Anatoli.

    • talkavino
      June 23, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Thank you, and I’m glad I didn’t cause any troubles 🙂

  8. June 27, 2015 at 5:39 am

    share the passion through the dough…:) it sounds like when you do things you do them with all your soul, no salad leaf for you eh, my boy :)!
    I have been reading up on Mourvedre thanks to you and also popped across the border yesterday to buy a Weissburgunder, Grauburgunder, Gutedel (which I discovered to my shock is the same grape as the Chasselas and the Fendant) and spätburgunder – and am now popping across the other border to source some Domaine Tempier Bandol Cuvée classique as well as a Pouilly Fumee… …..I discovered I have wine books in my book case from 2001 that i was given when my godfather gave me 12 bottles of bordeaux – and I have never looked at it…I am looking now very interesting. Thanks for inspiring me to move beyond drinking what I know and like to exploring it all a bit more “scientifically” POli

    • talkavino
      June 28, 2015 at 8:05 am

      Poli, I’m happy and truly honored to be a source of inspiration when it comes to the study of the wine – this is definitely the passion which I love to share.
      I like Chasselas very much, but never heard of Gutedel, so this is good. By the way, Chasselas is a choice pairing for the Swiss cheese fondue, this might be a subject of an interesting post 🙂
      The best thing to the wine world is that there is no limit to the learning opportunities, and learning about the wines is always fun!

      • June 28, 2015 at 3:33 pm

        well done you in that case – fully inspired I am I am, Cannot think why I never read into this more earlier. Odd.
        Anyhow, we were out for dinner tonight and the sommelier recommended we try a Extasis rouge Grand Cru Chablais AOC Clos du Châtelard, Villeneuve – apparently vinified in the tradition of an Amarone – which I’ve never come across outside italy (although I am sure other producers have tried this and I just don’t know about it) – anyhow wine served at 24°C which was too hot, but I think decanted and at 16° might be quite interesting. I guess the rest of the week is going to have to be zero alcohol :). Chasselas = fendant + fondue is indeed the absolutely typical wine pairing, so much so I’d think nobody would be surprised – but you are right, might be interesting in the winter 🙂 – learning is always fun totally agree!

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