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Jul 6, 2007 07:19 AM

Il Forno Ristorante Milford CT (old BBQ Rest. Location) - Anyone been yet?

I live right near here. So bizarre to no longer see the BBQ sign (Milford Landmark) on the roof. I see that they finally have a website up and running and now I am quite excited to see that the owner used to be the GM from Il Palio in Shelton, CT and the menu looks good. Also, sign outside says they are open for breakfast, but I am unsure what days. Check it out and let us know if you go. Some days the parking lot is full and others it is sadly empty. Does look like that they gutted the entire place, which is a good thing.

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  1. We went tonight, a Friday night. We had reservations for 7PM but called at 6:30 to see if we could come early, no problem. The place was jammin'. All tables were full. (The Mayor of Milford was there with his family, who I was told his mother and brother come in twice a week.) We enjoyed our meals. The prices were very very good for the quality of food you get. Ad says their pasta is homemade. Owner was very present and his staff were quite attentive. Although it appeared they only had three waitstaff working the entire full restaurant, they had plenty of bussers and runners and service was very quick. Bread was served with a white bean/garlic oil. We had the Tomato Caprese salad that was very fresh with a very fresh basil oil and the special yellow/red beet salad with goat cheese that although common was very delicious and cooked well. My husband had a special 28-oz (no kidding) bone-in ribeye steak that was grilled beautifully but was a bit underdone, almost raw, but a steak this big is hard to cook. Later the waiter explained that the meat they ordered was supposed to be smaller but was cut wrong, hence the Flintstone thickness, all for only $28. I had a very good seafood pasta special with mussels, scallops, lobster, shrimp AND clams, which was good and even better for a pricetag of only $19. And the other specials all seemed quite interesting, such as the whole fish special of Branzino, cleaned at your table--I wasn't daring enough to try, although I do like this mild mediterranean fish that you don't see that often. We didn't listen to the desserts, so I can speak to that, but they did give us a complementary plate of what appeared to be very homemade biscotti that was some of the best I have ever had. The dishes on their regular menu all were priced surprisingly well for this day and age. I think you will like it. Do try and report back.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cheereeo

      Sadly, our experience this evening wasn't close to as good; I'd been looking forward to trying this place, <2 min from our home, but we won't be back.

      Now, there *were* good spots: the waitress was very friendly on the rare occasions that we saw her, and both my wife's risotto and our son's sausage/broccoli rabe dish were good (nothing great, but solid - the risotto is their daily special dish and this was scallop/squash/asparagus, well put together). On the down side? Well, the length of wait - over an hour from seating to food - was horrific and the worst single feature; that was the killer in terms of us returning. Foodwise, my gnocci lacked any semblance of taste, which was a pity as they seemed clearly house-made, and the wines were overpriced and bad (I confess I thought prices were a little high in general - $8 for a glass of bad and cheap house red, $20 for risotto - again, nothing exorbitant or deal-breaking alone, but not a plus point). The bread was stale and came with slab butter, no bean dip or even olive oil.

      Anyway, you get the picture. Even the check was wildly wrong! Too bad :-(. Probably, if we'd not had such a lack of service, we'd give it a second try - ymmv. For similar food in Milford, though, we'd go to River Street (very similar but better, downtown) or Gusto (just down the Post Road, a little sterile but much more professional). I'm glad we went to Bistro Basque first and had such a positive experience there, so at least one of the new Milford places is a good find :).

      1. re: cheereeo

        "My husband had a special 28-oz (no kidding) bone-in ribeye steak that was grilled beautifully but was a bit underdone, almost raw, but a steak this big is hard to cook. Later the waiter explained that the meat they ordered was supposed to be smaller but was cut wrong, hence the Flintstone thickness, all for only $28"

        A restaurant has a piece of steak that is cut errantly and cannot figure out how to cook it properly yet serves it despite all this? Isn't this a big problem with quality control? Not to mention, on top of that, it would seem to me that they have waitstaff issues where a customer is being informed of this boondoggle. Wow.

        Secondly, just because a steak has grill marks doesn't in itself mean anything to me. I wouldn't call that being grilled beautifully if it wasn't served as requested. YMMV

      2. I see that Freda Moon from the New Haven Advocate just gave Il Forno a decent review. I've eaten Branzino at Osianna in Fairfield but didn't have it at Il Forno; I dislike tableside presentation/preparation--not into that spectacle.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cheereeo

          We also live quite close to Il Forno. As Vegetarians, we never went to the BBQ, but were excited to see Il Forno come in.
          We went last night and had a wonderful time. The salads were lovely (the beet salad and the fennel salad). Both were fresh and yummy. For entrees we had a Gnocci which was very nice and the Eggplant appetizer (this was perfect ). Service was very nice - attentive and friendly. Their coffee was wonderful (although expensive at 2.50) and we shared a delicious warm chocolate cake with heavenly vanilla ice cream.
          They do serve breakfast and lunch (lunch is a nice twist to the dinner menu - lighter with variety) and breakfast looks interesting. They gave us menus to take home for each.

          A nice addition to Milford - finally we don't have to drive to get a nice quiet delicious italian meal (we usually head to Fairfield).

        2. Went here last night, March 1st and were pleasantly surprised. I had the filet mignon with a red wine and gorgonzola sauce and also fresh cooked spinach and mashed potatoes. It was very good. My dinner compansion had rigatoni with shrimp, mushrooms,spinach & peas with garlic and olive oil. When you sit down they bring you bread with a small bowl of beans & spices in olive oil. The bread could have been fresher, that was the only negative. It was probably cut earlier in the day and left out all day. We both had a glass of wine. Without the tip it came to $54.00.

          2 Replies
          1. re: javaandjazz

            That's funny - Java - I was there last night too. We found it a mixed bag.

            We had a reservation for 7. We arrived and were given the only table left in the joint - right next to the kitchen. This was pretty unpleasant, especially when something in the kitchen burned and the smoke irritated our eyes. But we forgot that suburbanites eat early, so I feel like it wasmy fault. Make your reservation for 6 or 8! The place was packed and deafening. And above the din of diners and waiters, some Italian bel canto music was playing.

            The bread was good and the bean and oil topping is tasty, but it would work better if it was ground up - beans kept falling off. We got a nice bottle of Chianti classico for a reasonable price - $30, I think.

            Service was attentive but unpredictable. The waiter kept referring to one special as a lamb chop, but it was a lamb shank, as the disappointed diner next to me found out. My waiter said the ravioli special was stuffed with ground beef and vegetables, while another waiter told his party the stuffing was beef, pork and vegetables. (Kind of a prob if you don't eat pork, I would think.) A woman at another table nearby sent her meat back because it was underdone.

            I was told in advance that the food here is a bit heavy and in big portions. The salads (beet and Caesar) were fresh but too salty and kind of small. The ravioli were delicious but none too hot. I think I got 8 or 9 of them in a light red sauce. I could have eaten them in about 4 bites. (I should have ordered a side dish of rabe or something - or better yet - they should have just included it) My husband got the cavatelli, which was delicious and piping hot. And it was a big portion, which was good, since I was still hungry after the ravoili.

            The complementary biscotti were tasty but nearly burned on the bottom.

            We had a couple of surprises with the bill: a glass of wine we had not ordered was on there, and the ravioli was $17 - that's like $2 per ravioli - while the much bigger and meatier cavatelli was $15. Pays to ask what the specials cost!

            My husband has been there for lunch a few times and said it's a better lunch place than a dinner place.

            1. re: shoes

              LOL....we never got the "complimentary biscotti"! I wonder what happened. Ditto on the bean dip. I agree with you on grinding up the beans. There were lots of specials that sounded good. The service was a bit slow when we 1st got there but we weren't in a hurry anyways. I think we got there about 8:30 and we sat all alone in the front room. The back room was packed. They were playing The Moody Blues while we were there.

          2. We were at Il Forno yesterday (Sunday, lunchtime) and were disappointed overall.

            - The entire menu is a la carte. No salad with your entree ... all of their salads were $8+ ... Entree prices were $15-30

            - We ordered salad anyway (the one with goat cheese and beets) and the dressing was so salty it was nearly inedible

            - The 'ravioli of the day' was supposed to be four cheese ravioli which was great for the vegetarian in our group. When the ravioli arrived, it was lobster ravioli which she forced down anyway ... They were also very salty and obscured pretty much any of the other flavors

            - One of the other people at the table ordered a broiled fillet of sole ... again, very salty ..

            - Two people ordered the salmon on a 'bed of beets' ... there were about 2 mouthfuls of beets on the plate, if that many

            - The chocolate mousse cake was more like a cake than a mousse and it wasn't very rich ... rather bland and dry

            On the positive side:

            - The vegetable lasagna (special) was good

            - The ricotta cheescake was good

            We confronted the waiter about the saltiness and he confessed that sometimes he thinks that the food is too salty too ... So it's no secret that the chef has a tendency toward oversalting ...

            We will not return to Il Forno .. Too many other good choices in the area