We were recently invited to attend the 15 years of service celebration at the Brasitas Restaurant in Stamford, Connecticut, where we enjoyed a complimentary 5-course wine tasting dinner.
Brasitas offers Latin fusion cuisine with a few Mexican dishes as well. They also have another location in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Unfortunately, the dishes that we were being served for this celebration were created especially for tonight and currently not available on the menu. I will say this now though, hopefully the Brasitas will add all the dishes we had to the menu, as each one was superb.
More about Brasitas:
As we drove up to the restaurant, what caught our eye was the outside bar and patio. It looked like a great area to enjoy a cocktail or a meal on a fine summer evening. An added plus, in my book, was the valet parking. The building was made of adobe and gave the impression that you were visiting a restaurant from Spain or South America. Inside the atmosphere and decor were festive and inviting.
As we arrived at the hostess station, we were greeted by Ingrid and quickly directed to our table that they had arranged for our group. Once seated we were quickly served a flute of Codorniu Brut Cava from Penedes, Spain with a fresh raspberry floating in it. I find the Brut to be a light and fine bubbly with citrus aromas.
After all the other guest have been seated, are tasting begun with Victoria from Brescome Barton Wine and Spirit Distributors welcoming us to the celebration and introducing us to the pairings. She explained that the chef decided to create dishes with a Spanish and/or Portuguese influence, thus she choose wines from Spain.
We started our tasting with Ensalada Catalana, a salad of baby spinach, Manchego cheese, golden raisins, pinenuts, caramelized quince all dressed with a sherry vinaigrette. The salad was paired with the Codorniu. The salad was light and a great way to start the evening. It was not over dressed and the various ingredients offered a great textual difference. I found it interesting that they used Quince as we recently discovered we have a quince bush growing in our yard at our new home and were trying to figure a way to use it. I had read that quince is a bitter fruit, but, apparently, caramelizing it draws out the sweetness. The citrus aromas of the Codorniu went extremely well with the salad.
This is what the quince looks like growing in our yard.
Up next was Pulpo a la Portuguesa: Roasted Portuguese Octopus, Baccala and potato cream, charred scallions, Chorizo with Mojo Verde. When I spotted this on the menu, I could hardly wait to try the octopus as I had never had it but always wanted to try it. I was pleasantly surprised when I first tasted it as it did not taste like what I imagined it would. To me it have a “beefy” taste not a seafood taste. It was cooked perfectly, as I had heard that octopus can be tough if over cooked. The Garlic and Cilantro of the Mojo Verde went well with the “beefy” taste of the octopus, especially the cilantro as it give a slight citrus taste that it so often provided by lemon with seafood. The Chorizo gave the dish a peppery taste that balanced out the dish.
This dish was paired with Mar de Frades Albarino from Rias Baixas, Spain. The notes of apple and pear with a touch of saltiness played well with the “beefyness” of the octopus.
Moving to course number three, we were served Pajespo con Romesco: Monkfish, Jamon Serrano, Summer Pea casserole, Romesco sauce, Pisto and clam broth. Surprisingly, the Monkfish was paired with a red wine, I was always under the impression that white wine should be paired with fish, Ramon Bilbao Crianza from (Tempranillo) Rioja, Spain. The hardiness of the Monkfish stood up to the smokey and fruity nuances of the red wine. The Monkfish was wrapped in a Spanish bacon that keep the perfectly cooked fish moist and added a touch of smokiness and salt to the fish.
Our last savory dish was Chicarron: PORK BELLY brined in smoked paprika, cauliflower-manchego foam, cripsy cauliflower, chanterelle mushroom, solera vinegar and pickled cherries. Paired with Cruz de Alba Crainza (tempranillo) Ribera del Duero, Spain. Let me repeat myself: PORK BELLY. The skin was super crispy. The wine was a great pairing with the pork belly, the hints of plums and smokeness of the wine balanced exceptionally well with the richness of the belly. May I have a second and third serving of the pork belly?
For dessert we had Torta de Aceite: Olive oil and Rosemary cake, grapefruit sorbet, Cosecha Meil marinated grapes. Paired with Licor 43. The cake was a little dense for taste, but when eaten with a bit of the sorbet it was balanced out. The citrus of the grapefruit blended well with the olive oil and rosemary.
Licor 43 is a bright yellow Spanish liqueur. It is made from 43 different ingredients, including citrus and fruit juices, flavored with vanilla and other aromatic herbs and spices, hence the name. It has a smooth and even taste from start to finish.
As I stated earlier I hope they decide to add some of the dishes we enjoyed, at least the octopus and pork belly, to their menu. If the cuisine we were served is any indication of how their normal dishes taste, you will not be disappointed in the least. Each dish we tasted was beautifully presented and full of flavor. We will be going back to try some of their other dishes.