| September 13, 2012

From the 31-ounce Riedel wine glasses to the fresh Buratta cheese imported from Italy, Gabrieleā€™s Italian Steakhouse in Greenwich, CT is knocking it out of the park at each and every opportunity. The former site of Luca’s restaurant at 35 Church Street has been outfitted with Venetian plaster walls, coffered ceilings, four fireplaces and beautiful wooden floors. An architecturally stimulating environment consisting of a round space set inside a rectangular one has created a dramatic ambiance that sparkles with energy. The charismatic General Manager Tony Capasso seems to be the heartbeat of this fine dining establishment as he bounces from table to table with a finesse that only many years of experience can bring.

With an array of distinctive lighting and a hand-carved bar, this arena-like space wowed from the very first moment. This is an atmosphere that is warm and invitingā€”gorgeous without being pretentiousā€”but it is clearly the food that will have you coming back.

We started our meal with an amuse bouche that articulated just what the dining experience would beā€”bold. The homemade sausage bread with broccoli rabe, mozzarella and an exquisite veal, beef and pork sausage, was just enough to get our engines fired and ready to dive into this beautiful looking menu. We started with the Mini Burrata with oven roasted tomatoes and the special appetizer of the day, a Lamb Carpaccio. Both exquisite and executed to perfection, we moved on, as the pasta portion of the meal was beckoning us. The House-made Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli stuffed with a poached egg and dressed with a truffle butter sauce was extraordinary, as was the Pan-Roasted Gnocchi Bolognese. The gnocchi was made from both potato and ricotta and was crisped in a pan prior to being submerged in the Bologneseā€”an original and delicious interpretation.

One thing that is apparent at every turn is the extraordinary level of knowledge and training of the staff. It truly adds to the dining experience and is a definite factor in my assured return visit. After some banter with the sommelier about the beautiful wine list, we were ready to move on to bigger and better things. And bigger, they were! The Lobster Arragiata, a two pounder, cracked in the shell and seared with chile-garlic oil and a touch of basil was a meal fit for a king, but the Long Bone Rib Eye was truly a work of art. Seasoned and cooked to perfection, this is steak done rightā€”perfezione! Add to that, sides like the Grilled Asparagus, Mac ā€˜n Cheese with truffle oil and the Grilled Mushrooms and you are settling in for a truly memorable feast.

To experience the lighter side of the menu we tried the Wreckfish. Unknown to many, this isĀ  a deep-waterĀ  marine fish and can be found on the ocean bottom, where they inhabit caves and shipwrecks (thus their common name). Roasted and presented with albino mushrooms, infused ham and served atop yellow and green string beans, this was a work of art.

For dessert we swam in a sea of decadence, tasting the better part of the dessert menu from Pastry Chef Leeann Mascoli including a Lemon Granita, the Dreamsicle (vanilla bean pastry cream infused with orange, butter crisps and housemade roasted marshmallow) and the special of the day, a Chocolate Ganache with crisp filo dough, blood orange caramel and port wine soaked peaches.

Equipped with a dramatic second floor event space for 120 and private dining available in their wine room, the wait for Gabrieleā€™s to swing open their doors was one that was well worth it.