Golden View Firenze
A Greenwich native brought the cuisine of Italy home with him
Veal Chop with Truffle Polenta
Photographs: Bob Capazzo
Italian-food lovers only grow more passionate about la buona cucina when they visit the beautiful country and taste its riches in person. So well-traveled locals will appreciate the latest Italian eatery to open in Greenwich, Golden View Firenze, a sister restaurant to a popular spot in Florence called Golden View, which overlooks the medieval stone bridge of Ponte Vecchio. Those who’ve spent time in Florence do a double take when they drive up Railroad Avenue. “People come in and say, ‘I was in your restaurant in Florence two years ago,’” says Tommaso Grasso, who owns the Italian Golden View and co-owns this location with Dave Corbo of Greenwich. While the name may be confusing to the unfamiliar (no, it’s not Chinese and there isn’t much of a view), the food and wine will not be, with a trio of Italian pros ensuring that your meal rivals any you’d enjoy by hopping the next Alitalia flight.
That team includes Chef Francesco Casu, who moved to this country with his family to head up the kitchen here; ace restaurateur Grasso, who’s dividing his time between Connecticut and Florence; and local Dave Corbo, who became friends with Grasso while attending cooking school in Italy and comes from a Greenwich family with restaurants and delis in its blood.
Anyone who works in the kitchen here spends three months training in Florence, says Grasso, which adds up to one experienced crew. The Italian architect who created the space in Florence designed the Railroad Avenue location to ensure that the feel is very similar. It’s a sleek, modern dining room with the only real color coming from the vibrant art on the walls, twenty-five original paintings, including one depicting the famous bridge, all done by Mladen Karan, a Croatian artist whose work graces the restaurant’s nine private-label wines.
The bustling scene
The food is elegant in presentation and pure in taste, showcasing top-quality ingredients and representing different parts of Italy. “Francesco spent two months searching the markets here and abroad to select the best ingredients,” says Grasso. The result is evident in the starters we shared during a late Saturday night dinner, beginning with an amuse- bouche of broccoli rabe and ricotta on toast. The fabulously fresh buffalo mozzarella is the kind you hope for when you order this classic, soft and creamy and slightly milky, served on a bed of colorful greens in an herbed vinaigrette with tomatoes on the side. We liked the balance of flavors in the sculptural Golden View Salad, a stack of peeled pear slices with its top still on, surrounded by wedges of a zingy pecorino plus a few walnuts and honey. The Ponte Vecchio salad is as colorful as the view from the Florence restaurant, with halved yellow cherry tomatoes, asparagus, grilled zucchini, carrots, pine nuts and mixed greens. We enjoyed the thinly sliced bresaola carpaccio with parmesan over arugula, but you can also select a range of salumi (including coppa and lardo) and formaggi (gorgonzola, robiola, taleggio, etc.) to sample with homemade bread.
Most swoon-worthy dishes of the evening? The title could go to one of two entrées: the tortelli pasta, a special that night, and the baked veal chop. The tortelli, a larger version of tortellini, is a tender, tasty pasta in a light herb sauce, stuffed with broccoli rabe and cheese—simple, yet unusual. The beautifully browned veal chop is paired with an amazing truffle-laced polenta that had everyone at the table vying for another bite. Other entrées were close contenders, including the lobster spaghetti served with a light tomato sauce and abundant, succulent lobster; it’s a fresh dish that’s not heavy in any way. Tender black bass is topped with sundried tomatoes and served over ribbons of zucchini and a bed of potatoes.
For dessert, we couldn’t resist trying the tiramisu (a perfect rendition) and something called mango seduction, a fruit mousse with a passion-fruit sauce with a little lime. Our waiter didn’t bring extra plates for sharing, but this stopped no one from digging into these decadent sweets and finishing every bite.
249 Railroad Avenue, Greenwich; 203-817-0920
Hours: Mon.–Sat., 12 p.m.–3 p.m.; 5 p.m.–12 a.m.