Brasitas (Stamford) – Delicious Wine Dinner

brasitas_15_duckBrasitas restaurant is an oasis of quality Nuevo Latino Spanish cuisine in the east end of Stamford. Founded in 1999 by the late Jaime Guerrero, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, the bustling restaurant continues Jaime’s legacy through his family, who now oversee this location and its sister restaurant in Norwalk. Jaime’s vision of creating a vibrant atmosphere to showcase his dream of melding Nuevo Latino cuisine with the authentic Latin American traditions of his native Columbia is alive at both locations and the love is evident in the food and his children who continue his tradition.

Brasitas_15_exteriorThe Stamford location welcomes its guests with a brightly colored interior that immediately transports the diners from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding neighborhood to a Latin cantina. With fifty seats and a separate bar area, the vibe is upbeat and a perfect backdrop to the vibrant cuisine.

Brasitas recently hosted a Holiday Wine Tasting Dinner and invited CTbites to join fifty other revelers as they enjoyed Lapostolle Wines from Chile. The winery produces organic certified wines, with over 200,000 cases produced annually.

brasitas_15_salsaAs the crowd gathered, fried plantains and salsa were brought to the table. The salsa was delicious, a great balance between the onions and tomatoes with just a whiff of cilantro. When combined with the crispy plantains, it made for a relaxing way to spend time meeting others at the table.

brasitas_15_chicoryThe first dish to arrive was the “Ensalada de Endiva,” a salad comprised of a slice of fresh Burrata topped with grapes, Cape gooseberries, Marcona almonds, julienned chicory and a splash of aged Jerez vinegar. It presented great textural differences amongst the crispy chicory, the almonds and the creamy Burrata. The grapes and gooseberries were a delightful sweet-sour addition…but it was the earthiness of the almonds that was the key to the dish, elevating all of the ingredients. It was served with a Casa Lapostolle, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, which was a bright and crisp wine.

brasitas_15_oxtailThe next dish to arrive was the “Estofado de Rabo y Calabaza.” Served in a glass jar, it was a layer of Argentinian Parmesan polenta topped with cubes of braised oxtail intermingled with an acorn squash ragout. There was a great balance between the deep, rich flavors of the braised oxtail /acorn squash ragout and the polenta, with a touch of spiciness in the ragout. This was paired with a Casa Lapostolle “Cuvee Alexandre” Merlot, 2012, which is the label’s flagship bottle, and placed the vineyards on the global map. It delivered a light to medium flavor with the oxtail.

brasitas_15_bass_2The dinner moved back to a lighter course with the “Merluza.” A filet of Chilean sea bass sat atop layers of cauliflower risotto and a sea urchin emulsion, topped with pickled cauliflower florets and a small piece of sea urchin. The combination of the risotto and the emulsion was my favorite of the evening, further elevated with the addition of the small piece of sea urchin. The cauliflower was a delightful addition with a little crunch and sparked the dish with its sour notes. Unfortunately the fish was overcooked and did not offer that wonderful juiciness that I expected. It was served with a Casa Lapostolle “Cuvee Alexandre” Chardonnay 2013, a wine that is aged half in stainless steel and the other half in French oak, to offer a little nuance of the oak.

brasitas_duck_2For the last of the entrées, the chef prepared a “Pato Ahumado.” The sliced duck breast was served aside a purée of parsnip topped with a foie gras-quinoa croquette and topped with a parsnip and kumquat chutney. This was an explosion of flavors and textures and my favorite dish of the evening. The smoked duck breast was served medium-rare to allow the richness of the duck to shine. The chutney was a splash of flavor from the kumquats, which offered a fantastic sour contrast to the meat. The parsnip purée (becoming a staple on many menus) was delightful. The foie gras was a playful addition, appearing as a cracker until cut and then the melted foie gras oozed over the sweet purée. It was paired with a Casa Lapostolle “Cuvee Alexandre” Carmenere 2012,which is the Chilean equivalent of a Merlot.

brasitas_15_chocolateTo complete the evening dessert, the “Crema de Chocolate y Turron” included a slice of a Valrhona chocolate cremeux, a scoop of Cabernet sorbet, plus hazelnut turron and a swath of passion fruit. The cremeaux was luscious, creamy with a wonderful chocolaty-ness. When combined with the crunchy, earthiness of the turron and the sorbet, the flavors worked in complete unison. Unfortunately, the passion fruit and the cremeaux seemed to fight with each other, both too bold to work together. The wine for this course was a Casa Lapostolle “Cuvee Alexandre” Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, which was also one of the ingredients in the sorbet.

Overall, the atmosphere was uplifting and alive, the service very good and the Latin-fusion cuisine vibrant and delicious. I look forward to returning and enjoying many more items from the creative and inventive menu.

954 East Main Street – Stamford, CT 6902

203-323-3176

The location has extremely limited on-street parking, but the restaurant offers a valet on Lincoln Avenue just to the left of the entrance.

Really Liked

  • Plantains with Salsa
  • Cauliflower Risotto & Sea Urchin Emulsion (It needs a special call out)
  • Oxtail, acorn Squash Ragout and Polenta
  • Duck Breast with Parsnip Puree

Liked

  • Chicory and Burrata Salad
  • Chocolate Cremeaux

Needs Improvement

  • Chilean Sea Bass
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