I’ve been pretty lucky with two visits to Olio Restaurant in Stamford over the last few weeks; each delivered some outstanding cuisine. The first was a quick stop for a burger to complete my update of the best burgers in Fairfield County and the second was a dinner visit a week later.
Co-Owner Moira Hyland met our party of four at the door, showed us the table and was the perfect hostess throughout the evening. The server approached and asked for water, soda or wine and explained the specials for the evening. Two of them sounded delicious and I ordered both. The appetizer was a baby greens and beet salad and the entrée was a pork chop with pickled ramps and succotash. Others at the table ordered a variety of salads and they all chose the gnocchi with Bolognese for their entrées. We let Chef / co-owner Steve Costanzo work his magic in the kitchen.
The salads arrived and they were all very generous in size. My salad included an array of locally grown baby greens tossed with walnut pieces, roasted beets, all dressed with a honey thyme mustard vinaigrette. The salad was perfectly dressed and focused on the wonderful, natural flavors of the greens. The beets were sweet and the walnuts added both an earthiness and a textural contrast with its crunchiness. I highly recommend this salad and the others at the table were as enthusiastic about their choices.
The entrées arrived and mine was a large single 10-ounce French cut pork chop nestled in a house-made succotash of fresh peas, corn, zucchini, red peppers with roasted plum tomatoes a little white wine, chicken stock and butter. The chop was topped with pickled ramps (they were pickled earlier in the day). The chop was perfectly cooked, moist on the interior with a great spice-rub finish. The sweetness of the fresh vegetables were a great complement to the pork and then the ramps kicked in to deliver tremendous flavor to the overall composition of the dish.
The Ricotta Gnocchi with Bolognese was a very generous portion. The gnocchi were delicious, with great texture and the Bolognese was one of the best I have tasted since my Bolognese search last year. It delivered rich flavors, a great balance of sauce to meat and was a delightful complement to the mild gnocchi.
As dessert approached, I highly recommended the donuts to the table and we also ordered a molten chocolate cake. The donuts were as I remembered, absolutely delicious and the molten chocolate cake, served with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and few berries. This was also an excellent dessert, a chocolate-y delight.
Olio remains one of the best hidden gems, and I might need to remove “hidden” as every table was taken and everyone had a smile on their faces and a huge thank you to Moira as they left.
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