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Chef Rafael Palomino and Bistro Latino—A Winning Combination for Southwestern CT

There are a select few restaurants where the surroundings are as aesthetically appealing as the cuisine is gratifying to eat. Bistro Latino is one such place. Located in Old Greenwich, CT, Bistro Latino is a spirited mix of contemporary nuances and traditional Spanish cuisine. This is the second Bistro Latino location for Chef Rafael Palomino, with the first being located in Tuckahoe, NY. The Gold Coast can be thankful for small miracles as the region now has an opportunity to bask in the wonderful flavors emanating from Chef Palomino’s kitchen.

Step into the main dining room of Bistro Latino and you’re instantly awash in comfort. From the softly glowing domed skylight above to the warmth of the dark wood floors, Bistro Latino is one place where you’ll want to spend a considerable amount of time. And isn’t that a happy coincidence, considering that your time spent there could involve dining on authentic Spanish fare or sipping on a cocktail, refreshing sangria or a glass of wine.

At Bistro Latino, think local and think fresh. Chef Palomino’s dinner menu boasts a selection of free-range chicken and grass fed beef alongside a variety of imported charcuteria and quesos, offering a wonderful way to kick off a meal. And what would a Spanish restaurant be without tapas? With both hot and cold plates on the menu, making a decision might take a little more time than usual, but the end result will be success.

Vieras al Sarten [seared sea scallops, with arugula mash, apple cider cava sauce topped with jamon serrano]

Vieras al Sarten [seared sea scallops, with arugula mash, apple cider cava sauce topped with jamon serrano]

Try the Croquetas de Cangrejo Azul, stunning croquettes of blue crab with a slightly tangy grain mustard aioli. The Atun al Sarten—yellow fin tuna perfectly seared alongside fingerling potatoes and saffron aioli—is a velvety textured delicacy. Although the Vieras al Sarten was a delight to the palate, the seared scallops suffered slightly by conceding to the more forceful flavor of the Jamón Serrano ham. The apple cider cava sauce made a valiant attempt to balance out the flavors, however, it too was thrown for a considerable loop and was left to play a minor role in the dish—a role which should have been more prominent considering it was such a wonderful way to drape the scallops. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable dish to devour.

Paella Palomino [lobster, mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp & chorizo with saffron rice drizzled with sofrito]

Paella Palomino [lobster, mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp & chorizo with saffron rice drizzled with sofrito]

It is difficult to steer the reader in one direction or another with the six main courses. However, if you are of the split personality sort, perhaps it would be easier for you to choose. If seafood is your calling, the hands down winner is the Maine Lobster Paella Palomino. It seems the question to ask yourself is not what’s in it but rather what isn’t in it. Filled with plump shrimp, mussels, scallops, clams, lobster, chorizo and probably the best saffron rice to hit the Gold Coast since the inception of Fairfield County, this dish is a standout. Yes, it’s that good. Then there’s the matter of the seared Branzino served with a house made chorizo gnocci. Forgive the brashness, but just dayum is all that can be said while reliving the feel of the slightly crispy skin crinkling between the teeth and the toothsome flavors of the mojito sauce as, combined, it all slides gently down the throat.

Moving from sea to land, Bistro Latino offers two beef selections (Costilla de Carne [braised short ribs] and Ojo de Bife a la Parilla [rib eye steak]) and a poultry choice (herb roasted organic chicken). However, of all the main course entrée selections, the good bet is still on the paella.

Pastel de Chocolate

Pastel de Chocolate

Bistro Latino offers a small selection of desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth, along with a variety of cheeses, coffee, tea and after dinner drinks to enjoy post-meal. A special nod goes to the deceptively simple Churros. These lovely crunchy fried Spanish style pastries are served with chocolate and vanilla dipping sauces, both of which add a unique touch to the churro.

When you’re in the mood for a mix of sophistication, comfort, and unique cuisine, Bistro Latino is someplace to keep on your culinary radar.

Bistro Latino is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch which features tapas, sandwiches, salads, main courses and a prix-fixe menu.

Bistro Latino, 1392 E. Putnam Avenue, Old Greenwich, CT 06870  /  203-698-9033

Bistro Latino on Urbanspoon

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2 Comments on Chef Rafael Palomino and Bistro Latino—A Winning Combination for Southwestern CT

  1. Friends worked for this dude.. he bounces checks, he hires ilegals and pays them less.. but he is a big check bouncer…….go ralfa fake it to you make it

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    • Sorry that your friend had this experience there, Tom, however I can’t speak to Chef Palomino’s veracity when it comes to his finances. Suffice it to say I can only speak to his food–which was great–which at this point is my concern.

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