The blogosphere is filled with Westport dining news.
Sure, it’s in Armonk, New York. But area diners will go anywhere for “Italian food, cooked simply, in wood fired ovens” that is elevated “with a thoughtful culinary execution and a familiar, if familial, disarming vibe.”
What makes this just-over-the-border place “06880” worthy — besides its “rustic hipster vibe” — are its owners. Two of the 3 — Rob Krauss and John Nealon — are Staples grads.
They met at a place not normally associated with fine dining: the Wrecker football field. They’ve been good friends ever since.
CTBites says that Rob, John and non-Stapleite Christian Petroni seems “more like a brotherhood” than a partnership. And “this feeling translates across the restaurant’s service team and into its dining room.” All 3 formerly worked at Barcelona (whose co-founder is Staples graduate Sasha Mahr-Batuz).
Krauss says, “There is a complexity to the simplicity.” CTBites believes that applies to the restaurant’s team, as well as the menu. They are “an extended family of sorts that works equally hard at the food as they do cultivating the culture at Fortina.”
Alex says the newest addition to Saugatuck Center makes you feel “like you’re in your own home. Everyone is really friendly, and it was filled with customers including a lot of kids. (She also had Wiki-Stix which kids love.)” He calls the food “exceptional!”
Alex got “the kick” he was looking for from the pulled pork sweet potato hash. But he saves his biggest rave for the hot chocolate. And — either because he is an important blogger, or because she is just a really nice woman — owner Michelle Weber gave him “some of their really thick chocolate, the kind you usually dunk churros in.”
Alex’s father had a 3-egg omelet, with crushed rosemary-marble potatoes, buttered brioche with goat cheese, and fines herbes. “He loved it,” Alex reports.
On his 5-star scale, Alex gives Cocoa Michelle 5’s for every category: food, service, looks and “bathroom.”
CTBites did not grade Fortina. But we are sure its bathroom is as cool as its food, too.