Don’t call it a comeback 😉
I was desperately seeking something Sunday. I needed my soul fulfilled. I was looking for that familiar, deeply emotional space. My grandma’s kitchen. The smells of sautéed onion and fresh garlic. Basil leaves snapped from the windowsill. Tomatoes macerating in green hued olive oil and coarse salt from the Mediterranean sea. Cracked pink peppercorns in the mortar and under foot on a warm, smooth linoleum floor. The hum of the refrigerator. The dance of my grandmother in her smock, back and forth from sink to stove to icebox. Bubbling sounds from the GIANT stainless steel sauce pot, followed by the hurried stirring and three taps on the rim of a wooden spoon. This was an afternoon of simmer and stir, dance, crush, grind. Taste. It was home.
I needed Sunday sauce. I found it.
Burrata Italian Kitchen in Branford was on my radar for a good few months. They opened in a section known as Branford Hill around June of this year. The photos on their Instagram are what initially drew me in. Platters of fried calamari, a beautiful margarita pizza, pasta of different shapes and sauces. I knew I was in for something good!
When you walk in, the dark wood and rustic lighting is soothing and warm. The seating is plentiful and comfy. The napkins remind me of the “mopine” my grandma used in her kitchen. White, textured cotton with simple red stripes. So far so good!
Our waiter, Chris, welcomed us warmly, told us the specials, and let us know his favorites. He suggested the “Carmine’s Eggplant Parmigiana” so I ordered that, and my husband ordered the Scarpariello. We split an appetizer of Calamari. This is secretly (not so secretly, now) how I start my judgement of a restaurant. Calamari is one of those items that almost every Italian eatery has on the menu, but few do correctly. There is a fine line between underdone, perfect and overdone Calamari.
The Calamari came and I could tell right away that this was worth it. It was battered and fried perfectly and I learned later in the meal that they hand batter and fry the Calamari to order. EACH order. They don’t do a tray or a bucket. They don’t have it sitting around for days. It was so delicate and flavorful, seasoned perfectly out of the fryer. The marinara was well-balanced and my husband, who likes a bit of heat was very happy with the peppers.
We had a small salad in between and frankly we were drunk in love with the Calamari and forgot to take photos of it. Our bad. The dressing was a mouth delight. I had the white balsamic which has a touch of honey in it, making it just sweet enough after the vinegar kiss that you wanna slap your momma. It was good.
My husband was told that the Scarpariello was spicy due to the amount of peppers used, so he asked that it be not overly spicy and go light on the peppers. It was still hot. Not a bad heat, it was bold and fierce, hitting the back of your throat like a punch from Ali. I opted not to try it as I am a severe sally when it comes to heat. Hubby loved the flavors and the fettucine fit it perfectly. The chicken was tender and juicy, the vegetables cooked well without being reduced to mush. We were seriously almost too full to even eat our dinners. A good bit of this went home in a box.
This. This plate of love. This thing of legends. It created what very many could not. It created, right there in the middle of the dining room filled with happy diners, it created my grandmother’s kitchen. The sauce, the smell. The way they left the eggplant skin on. The way they used no breadcrumbs, just flour and egg batter. The happy ropes of cheese that swung down to meet pools of romantically red Sunday sauce. The al dente pasta that lay in a tangled jungle next to my tower of melenzalla de parmigiana. I was left a super spoon for pasta twirling, but I am a seasoned vet, kudos for adding that to the plate, my husband was very thankful. The eggplant was tender, and sliced so thin that you could just peel layers for days. Nothing was oily or heavy. It was fresh, like your first date. It romanced you, looked at you coyly and then moved in for the kill. It slayed me. I was back in her kitchen. This came home in a box as well.
I was wishing that I saved room for dessert, because there was Cannoli nachos. All that was missing from this dessert menu was tiramisu. (Please please add that, Burrata! )
Burrata Italian Kitchen is running a special on their Facebook and Instagram for a buy one, get one free lunch or dinner if you print out or show them the coupon on your mobile device. This lasts until December 30th, so it will be gone soon! It would be the perfect date night or a dinner out while finishing up that last-minute holiday shopping. They also have half priced wine bottles on Sundays.
They are located at:
850 East Main street
Their menu with prices is available online.
Please go there. Please tell them I sent you and I am coming for Sunday sauce again. Please ask for Chris and tip him very well. He sings incredibly, also. Ask him to give you a song