While enjoying live music from the Barenaked Ladies at Alive-at-Five this past Thursday, we broke away from the music to grab a quick drink at the latest Stamford downtown hot spot Gastro Bar. Making our way to the bar, we bumped into what seemed like an impromptu meeting between Celebrity ChefAarón Sánchez and Chef/Co-owner (of Azuca & Gastro Bar) Mario Lopez (a celebrity in his own right as well). Of course I had to introduce myself to the “Top Chef”! ChefSánchez shared his excitement about his new restaurant and highlighted how great it was to be opening a restaurant in our area. He told me he wanted to make sure everything was just perfect before they opened their doors.
Well, the time has come! The highly anticipated restaurant from Chef Aarón Sánchez – Paloma – has opened their doors!
The restaurant, located at 15 Harbor Point Rd, fills the space previously occupied by popular pop-up Beer Garden at Harbor Point. The 6000 square foot glass building is set with two floors offering a panoramic view of the water. There is an upstairs dining area, a downstairs main bar, and plenty of outdoor dining to enjoy those Harbor Point sunsets.
As ChefSánchez told Stamford Magazine recently, the core of the restaurant is the wood burning grill. It fuels his passion for flavorful, fresh, bold foods that harken his mexican roots. He gets very excited when he describes the menu. His favorite item is a grillmaster’s dream; a whole tomahawk chop bone-in rib eye and bone marrow enchilada. There’s also a wide range of fresh salsas. Also, to go along with the water front view, an extensive raw bar. Desserts include churros, traditional flan, and some mexican coffee to wash it all down.
The bar scene will be quite extensive as well. It’s all about people having a great time and treating themselves to classic and contemporary cocktails he told the magazine. The menu will feature handcrafted spirits from Latin America – tequila, mezcal, pisco, cachaca and rum.
While you can expect to see Sánchez in the restaurant quite often; Chris Bateman, a Stamford native will work the back of the house when Sánchez is away. Bateman returns to the local culinary scene after many years cooking in restaurants around the world.
So, why Stamford? As Chef Sánchez told the magazine recently, It’s the location! “Stamford has a corporate vibe to it, but it is also a place where many people live . As a chef, this is a wonderful place to be able to cook, to do our craft. We are able to put our food in front of an audience that is food savvy, has travelled the world and appreciates good food.”