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Cugine’s Italian, Stamford, CT, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
Cugine's Italian - Eggs Florentine - photo by Luxury Experience
Stamford, Connecticut has a tasty addition with John and Morgan Nealon's new restaurant, Cugine's Italian, located at 121 Towne Street in Harbor Point, which opened in June 2022. The restaurant serves Dinner Thursday through Sunday, and Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The attractive restaurant has a cool "speakeasy" vibe, a creative cocktail menu, and a well-crafted menu by Executive Chef Rick O'Connor. Ample parking as well as its proximity to the Stamford Train Station, make it a highly desirable restaurant location.

Cugine's Italian - Stamford, CT
Cugine's Italian, Stamford, CT

Summertime is perfect for lazy weekend Brunches, and we had an excellent Brunch at Cugine's Italian on Saturday, June 25, 2022, which opened on June 10, 2022. Executive Chef Rick O'Connor is the talent in the kitchen and his menu is diversified enough to appeal to a wide variety of palates.

Chef Rick O'Connor, Owners John & Morgan Nealon - Cugine's Italian - photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Rick O'Connor, Owners John & Morgan Nealon

Owners John and Morgan Nealon, who also Taco Daddy located a few doors down from Cugine's Italian, wanted their new restaurant to have a speakeasy vibe, so there is no signage, and the entrance is through a "flower shop." The chicly elegant restaurant has dark sage walls, ceiling, and tables, to create a monochromatic canvas as a showcase for the opulent sparkling crystal chandeliers. The inviting ambience has well-chosen music, an expansive and well-stocked bar lined with swivel bar stools, gold high-top votives grace the wood tables, and a large painting of Frank Sinatra graces the back of the restaurant setting the mood. Framed black and white photos of chefs whom the owners have known or have worked with, line another wall, as a nod to those who have inspired. The ambience has a hip New York City or London vibe, made all the better since it is in Stamford, Connecticut and is easily accessible by car with plenty of parking in their parking lot or by Metro North Train (Stamford Station stop). 

Cugine's Italian cocktails - photo by Luxury Experience
My Way & Copacabana cocktails  

The restaurant has an inspired cocktail menu with cocktails named for famous places ike the Copacabana, Cotton Club (Harlem, New York), The Savoy (London), the Rainbow Room (Manhattan) and Jimmy Weston's (Manhattan Jazz Club), to name but a few. We started with the Copacabana cocktail, which was a delectable libation that paired tequila, Campari, lemon, and grapefruit soda, and the My Way cocktail, a nod to Frank Sinatra, made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, B&B, Fonseca Port, Ginger, and Angostura Bitters. Both cocktails were well-balanced with lovely layers of flavor. 

Cugine's Italian - Bagel Spread - photo by Luxury Experience
Bagel Spead

The menu is divided into Brunch offerings, Antipasti, Primi, Contorni, and Desserts. There is also a Crudo menu. We began with The Bagel Spread from the Brunch section, which was beautifully presented and consisted of four Popup Bagels accompanied by layers of pepper-crusted lox, smoked whitefish spread, dill cream cheese, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumbers and onions, and a generous mound of capers. What makes the bagels especially notable is that they buy their dough from Popup Bagels and bake the bagels in-house and serve them warm. The bagels were about as perfect as you can get with nice chewy crusts. They also  cure their own lox in-house, and make their whitefish spread in-house. 

Cugine's Italian - Frittata - photo by Luxury Experience

We also sampled their Frittata from the Brunch menu, which had roasted red peppers, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, and melted fontina cheese, and was garnished with arugula. Also delicious from their Brunch menu was the Eggs Florentine, which were two poached eggs on a bed of spinach on toasted English muffins drizzled with Hollandaise and accompanied by golden crispy roasted potatoes that were perfectly seasoned. For our pairing cocktail, we had the Cotton Club, made with Old Forrester Bourbon, Ginger, Cardamom, Sage, and Lemon, which was a knockout of fabulousness. 

Cugine's Italian - Eggs Florentine - photo by Luxury Experience
Eggs Florentine

Moving on the Primi section of the menu, we sampled the house-made Potato Gnocchi with Wild Boar Ragu, which was astounding. Making gnocchi is a delicate art as the dough needs to have the perfect texture so it will not be too soft or be too tough. Chef Rick's gnocchi had great consistency and were fork tender. Paired with the wild boar ragu redolent with rosemary and garnished with a dusting of cheese and fresh herbs, it provided yet another reason for us to want to return to the restaurant. 

Gnocchi with Wild Boar Ragu

Cugine's Italian - Capellini Al Limone - photo by Luxury Experience
Capellini Al Limone 

We also sampled their Capellini Al Limone pasta which was capellini cooked al dente and presented in a lemon, parmesan, and butter sauce, topped with chopped pistachio nuts, and garnished with fresh basil leaves. The pistachio nuts added flavor to this simple, but very tasty dish, as well as  gave texture to the pasta and provided nut protein. 

Cugine's Italian - Tiramisu & Pistachio Cannoli  - photo by Luxury Experience
Tiramisu & Pistachio Cannoli

We ended our dining experience on a lusciously sweet note, by sampling their Tiramisu presented in a bowl with layers of flavor enhanced with grated chocolate tableside, and their Pistachio Cannoli, which were miniature crispy cannoli shells filled with delicately sweetened ricotta and pistachios. To cap off our gastronomic tasting at Cugine's Italian, in lieu of coffee or espresso we had their Page Six martini, which was an especially tasty Pistachio Espresso Martini, with a pistachio rim and whole pistachios floating in the cocktail. 

Cugine's Italian - Pistachio Espresso Martini - photo by Luxury Experience
Pistachio Espresso Martini

Chef Rick O'Connor, the talent in the kitchen, has a very impressive culinary background including working at Marea, Chef Michael White's Michelin star restaurant in New York City, as well as at others, before joining John and Morgan Nealon. He brings his passion, dedication, and culinary experience to deliver a memorable dining experience for Cugine's Italian patrons. 

Cugine's Italian, Stamford, CT
Famous Influencers

Bar Manager Javin Bell's cocktails are inventive, inspirational, absolutely delicious, and worthy of a trip to Stamford alone for the cocktail menu, however, you will definitely want to go there for the food. Allow yourself enough time to appreciate all the nuances of the restaurant, arrive hungry and work your way through the oh-so-tasty menu. Whether you opt to dine there for Brunch on Saturday or Sunday or have dinner there Thursday through Sunday, the restaurant is sure to please. 

Cugine's Italian - photo by Luxury Experience
Pull up a bar stool!

Until next time cheers and bon appétit! 

You might also like to read about Cugine's Italian and Chef Rick O'Connor Recipe  in the Chefs" Recipes section  where he graciously provides a recipe for Mussels with CalaBrian Chili Butter to tempt your palate into making a trip to experience Cugine's Italian for yourself. 

Cugine's Italian - Cotton Club cocktail - photo by Luxury Experience
Cotton Club Cocktail

Cugine's Italian is open Thursday and Friday from 5:30 pm until 1:30 pm, Saturday from 11:30 am until 1:30 am, and Sunday from 11:30 am until close.

Cugine's Italian, Stamford, CT
See you at Cugine's Italian

For more information on Cugine's Italian, please visit the restaurant's Instagram page:   @cuginesitalian 

Cugine's Italian, Stamford, CT  

Cugine's Italian
121 Towne Street (Harbor Point neighborhood)
Stamford, CT
United States
Reservations: Open Table
Telephone: +1 203-276-9266
Instagram: @cuginesitalian 

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© June 2022. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.

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