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Nov 6, 2009 08:35 AM

Assaggio Ristorante On The Harbor - Stratford, CT (203) 381-9200

So, I saw in the Local -Eyez on Milford an ad for this restaurant, located in the former location of Margarita Grille and before that Red Fin. At The Dock Shopping Plaza across from BJ's, 955 Ferry Boulevard. Nothing good ever seems to go in there, and it is such a nice location on the river (albeit under the Moses Wheeler highway overpass). Ad says "Serving contemporary italian cuisine for lunch and dinner" and "Under New Ownership." No website I could find other than some ads for servers. Let's hope they hire some trained professionals, not the local pretty big-breasted HS girls and their boyfriends like the Red Fin. Servers can make quite the difference, so I hope they don't make that mistake again. I called the Assagio in Branford, and the host said they are unrelated, but he found it funny how similar the name and even the way the A looks in the title. They could only be so lucky to be as good as Assaggio in Branford. Anyway, if you are brave enough to try it, let us know how it is.

Red Fin was trying to be upscale, then Margarita Grille went casual hoping to get all the Stratford 20-year-olds since Harborside was having some issues with their patrons. How will this fare; should be interesting.

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      1. When I saw this restaurant open a short while back, I wasn't impressed with the idea of having another "Italian" restaurant in an area with so many restaurants in that category. Tonight, we tried it out and I was pleasently surprised. The menu is extensive and take a while to read. Wine drinkers will find that there is not a lot they can't get there. The food and service was outstanding. It's definate that we will return there in the future and will recommend it to people.

          1. re: rbailin

            Seems the chef is from Finalmente - - - a little place in Westport that I visited last year. Since it is the same chef now presiding over Assaggio, I figure my revew is still appropriate. Here is what I wrote about his work at Finalmente last year:

            It’s hard for me to grade a place with just 1 visit, but I would put them in the A- to B range; a 2nd visit will help me come to a final decision if they are closer to an “A-” than a “B”.
            Some of the Pros & Cons:
            Menu had a lot of interesting selections on it – I had a lamb scaloppini with prosciutto and goat cheese (which was a great, very well prepared dish).
            They make homemade pasta’s, but not for all dishes. We wanted to split a pasta dish for an appetizer; it was wild boar ragu over fresh made linguine. However, we were told that the fresh pasta’s are pre-proportioned, so they couldn’t split them. The server did come back to us and let us know we could get the ragu over a non-fresh pasta (which we did – over a basic spaghetti. The sauce was the drawing point and it was very good). I will have to go back and see how their fresh pastas are.
            Liz’s gnocchi was a bit over-sauced. However, on the plus side, the sauce was very good and fresh, and the fresh mozzarella and basil that topped it off were of quality ingredients, so overall it was still a winner.
            Their tartufo dessert was really good and made onsite; If you are familiar with tartufo, many places purchase it and don’t attempt to make it. instead of being covered in a hard chocolate shell, the ice cream was rolled in cocoa.
            The place was busy all night. We got there for our 8 pm reservation on Saturday and it was full - - - and it was still full when we left at 10 pm.
            The wine list was on the small size and the lower priced bottles were really marked up (I spotted some $12 retail bottles that were on the wine list for $30+). Also, the red wine was served say too warm - - - mostly due to the fact that they have display racks all around their bar which is right next to the (hot) kitchen.

            Here's hoping that the chef carried his performance to Stratford.

          2. Good looking menu. It'll be interesting to see how they fare with the currently under way construction of the new bridge...which appears as if it's going to be directly OVER the existing location.

            2 Replies
            1. re: LorenV

              The replacement for the Moses Wheeler bridge was originally (1996) planned to be south of the existing bridge, but due to local opposition is now being routed north of the Metro-North railroad bridge. Pictures at

              No longer near Assaggio's.

              1. re: rbailin

                Not true. The new bridge is going exactly where the current one is.


                And will be 40 feet wider to boot. Construction is already under way for the foundation right near the restaurant. We're going to check it out soon the menu looks great. But that location is doomed I fear. Hope I'm wrong as we could an excellent restaurant in the area.