Just a stone’s throw from the border of Lewisboro is Ridgefield, Connecticut. What it lacks in size it makes up for with a number of great restaurants, and I recently crossed one off my “must-try” list that didn’t disappoint. TerraSole is an authentic Italian destination that opened downtown in 2009 in, right off the always-busy Main Street in a back parking lot. By authentic, I mean that you likely won’t see chicken parm sandwiches on the menu. Instead, you’ll find fine cheese and meat plates by popular, NYC-based Murray’s Cheese in NYC, a 200-plus bottle selection of Italian wines, lots of classic culinary staples like meatballs and arancini, top-notch fish dishes, and expertly made pasta.
Immediately upon entering, I noticed TerraSole’s European vibe, with its classy but simple dining quarters and 70-seat al fresco patio, complete with propane torches for those chilly nights. I was greeted with one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails, the Negroni alla Pietro, named after owner Pietro Polini. It’s kept mostly true to the drink’s usual strong form, but with a splash of orange juice to help soften its typical bitterness.
With the wine flowing, out came the aforementioned charcuterie boards, along an array of appetizers, including meatballs. We were told that the polpette come in a variety of meat—or un-meat—styles; traditional three-meat (pork, beef, veal), veal, veggie (made with Sicilian eggplant and porcini mushrooms), and if you’re there on the right day, they offer a duck meatball stuffed with foie gras. The meatballs come with a bright, very tomato-y, and simple but extraordinary red sauce that I later scooped up with a slice of bread.
Veal Meatballs to vie for.
After meatballs, TerraSole’s house-made pasta is a necessity. First was a five-cheese ravioli (ricotta, bufala mozzarella, Parmesan, burrata, provolone) topped with mushrooms and a light but fragrant truffle-herb sauce. Following that, and taking no backseat, was a broccoli rabe-infused cavatelli tossed in amatriciana sauce that had a touch of welcomed peppery zing.
Our mains included two fish dishes, salmon and black cod. Both plates were appealingly colorful, simply cooked so the fish could stand out, and extremely moist and flaky. Those were in addition to the juicy, double-cut Berkshire pork chop, cooked medium, and stuffed with spinach and goat cheese. The kicker was the scarpariello sauce drizzled on the chop; it was spicy but not smothered, allowing the pork to be the star. And FYI: all three of these entrées are gluten free.
If you opt for one of TerraSole’s Italian desserts—and you should—add an after-dinner drink too, specifically one of the restaurant’s homemade cellos. Whether it’s the typical limoncello, their own chocolate-espresso cello, or the orange-cello that we had, each is refreshingly non-ethanol tasting like you may experience at other places.
TerraSole was definitely worth crossing off my list, and merits your trip across county lines.
3 Big Shop Ln, Ridgefield
(203) 438-5352; terrasoleridgefield.com