An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Jan 6, 2014
09:26 AMThe Connecticut Table
CTbites: Classic Italian Elegance at Valbella in Greenwich
"The Napoleon mille-feuille, baked to order with the flakiest, paper thin layers and pastry cream filling with baked almond crunch and confectioners' sugar glaze top was spectacular."
I never go to Italian restaurants in Connecticut because I was lucky and spoiled enough to have eaten in Italy - a lot - and I always feel disappointed in the American version of Italian cuisine. So when a friend begged me to review VALBELLA in Greenwich, I was reluctant to say the least. The pastry chef, she claimed, was world renowned and his food art simply had to be reviewed. I did some research and decided to acquiesce. For more than 20 years, the stately, Victorian Valbella has been the archetype for excellent but old school Italian cuisine in the Greenwich/Riverside area, and has successful sister locations in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and Midtown. And I can understand why. It is in no way funky or hip or cool but is extremely elegant and the food, though I am hesitant to admit it, was outstanding.
With 3 dining rooms plus the cozy and intimate wine cellar where diners may also enjoy their meals, Valbella, with Head Chef Frank Halili at the helm, is the place to go for a sophisticated Italian meal. From intimate dinners to large corporate events, this is fine dining, no ifs, ands or buts. It is true that the crowd tends to be a bit older and service, though superior, verges on stuffy. But there is one spectacular twist which elevates Valbella and separates it from other Italian jaunts in the area; that twist is the extraordinary magic created by French Pastry Chef, Raphael Dequeker.
We came to sample Chef Dequeker's delights, and delights they were, but we first sampled the cuisine of Chef Halili.
See the full story at CTbites online. (Above, pan-seared scallops served in a crunch Paremsan basket.)