Recently, I was invited to experience dinner at the newly opened Le Madri in Bethel, CT. This was my first time in the area and I enjoyed the busy little neighborhood the restaurant is a part of.
I brought my mom along for the night and we started with drinks in the bar area. There were plenty of local patrons who were extremely kind and welcoming. There was no shortage of conversation, which you could freely enjoy as there is glass dividing the bar from the main dining area. So after a few drinks when your indoor voice slowly transitions closer to your outdoor voice, it’s not a problem. While at the bar we indulged in a week night glass of prosecco and snacked on calamari fritti and polpetine (meatballs).
Once seated in the dining area we began with the Octopus Salad. I actually felt guilty that I enjoyed the salad so much since I had been wearing my octopus t-shirt earlier that day. The next course was short rib ravioli served with seafood risotto followed by Chilean seabass. I can confidently say that Chef/owner Vinicio Llanos delivered the best seafood experience in recent memory.
A night out isn’t complete without a sweet treat at the end of it, and the desserts at Le Madri were exceptional and never ending. There was such a large selection to choose from that they brought out one of everything to our group and that way we weren’t forced to make an impossible decision. Between the choices of warm apple tarts, tiramisu, panna cotta with berry sauce, lemon tarts, Budino di Pane how can you possibly decide?
Le Madri turned a boring weeknight into a fun and unexpected adventure out for my mother and myself. Keep scrolling for pictures (the last ones taken with my iPhone 6 before it departed this world) and press release. Be sure to let me know if you go and if you’re actually able to order just one dessert!
This week Chef/Restaurateur Vinicio Llanos of the popular Arezzo Ristorante & Wine Bar located alongside the tranquil Saugatuck River in Westport, CT, introduced his newest CT venture, Le Madri, to the town of Bethel. This family owned and operated restaurant, bar, and event venue features rustic Italian cuisine set in an open and contemporary space with panoramic views of a bustling town.
Ecuadorian born, Vinicio grew up with his family’s Italian cooking. His Sicilian grandmother Maria Targelia, upon traveling to Ecuador with missionaries, met and married Vinicio’s grandfather. His grandmother’s Italian recipes and techniques were passed down to Vinicio’s mother Maria Fernanda and ultimately to Vinicio and his sister Patricia. Today, the Le Madri kitchen sees Vinicio, Patricia, and their mother cooking alongside one another, preparing their family’s favorite dishes for customers, in addition to inspired dishes developed throughout Vinicio’s years of experience, which includes a 10-year history at Italian Restaurateur Pino Luongo’s famed New York City hot spots Le Madri, Centolire and Coco Pazzo.
Le Madri features a large and sociable u-shaped bar surrounded by raised booth seating. The main dining room seats 130 people and is filled with dark wood furnishings and cappuccino leather banquettes. The private dining room accommodates up to 30 guests.
Antipasti selections include; Calamari e Zucchini Fritti with spicy marinara; Capesante of pan-seared diver scallops, sweet corn, asparagus, and aged balsamic drizzle; and Carpaccio di Manzo with thinly sliced seared filet mignon, topped with baby arugula and shaved parmesan. Chef Llanos’ signature pasta dishes offer a variety of seasonal sauces and preparations as seen with the Fettucini con Fungi made with homemade flat noodles, wild mushrooms, and a touch of truffle oil; Gnocchi Bolognese of handmade potato dumplings with slow-cooked beef ragout; Cavatelli ia Piselli made with homemade pea and ricotta cavatelli and hot and sweet sausage ragout; and the Tagliolini Nero Frutti di Mare of fresh squid ink pasta tossed with shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels, and clams in a cherry tomato sauce. Land and sea dishes include; Branzino al Forno, wood oven roasted whole Mediterranean sea bass with braised escarole and roasted potatoes; Saltimboca alla Romana, pounded veal topped with prosciutto di Parma and sage; and Melanzane al Forno of roasted eggplant with ricotta di buffalo, parmesan cheese, and fresh tomato sauce. A variety of wood-fired pizza and vibrant salads are offered.
Le Madri’s global wine list highlights many varietals and wine makers from Italy and beyond. The craft cocktail menu features top shelf spirits and elevated traditional Italian recipes as seen with the; Antico Negroni made with Campari, St. George Gin, cherry balsamic, and an orange garnish; Limocello Pop with homemade limoncello and a prosecco float; and the Cucumber Fresco with organic cucumber vodka, fresh lime juice, St. Germain, and a splash of seltzer. Domestic and imported beer, and nice a selection of port and grappa round out the beverage program.
41 Grassy Plain Street, Bethel, CT 06801