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In The Kitchen at Consiglio's in New Haven, CT

Chef Esteban Campos

In October, Chef Ray and I set out into the city of New Haven, so that I could be introduced to Chef Ray's lifelong friend and business partner, Chef Esteban Campos. For those that do not know, Chef Ray and Chef Esteban make up the duo that is known as the "The New Haven Legends". Together they prep, cook, and serve some of the best Italian food in the city. You can book this team for any small gathering or even an intimate dinner right in the comfort of your own home! For most of his nights, Chef Esteban works in the kitchen of Consiglio's. Consiglio's is a longtime Italian restaurant that has been on Wooster Street in New Haven since 1938. It has always been a proud family owned and operated business.

As soon as we arrived to Consiglio's, I immediately noticed the restaurant's private parking lot located directly to the right of the building. If you've ever been into New Haven, you know how difficult it can be to park close to some of your favorite spots (especially when you're not the best parallel parker). As Chef Ray and I walked towards the building, I was in complete shock when I saw the most beautiful backyard patio. This was a hidden gem for New Haven goers, a small getaway where the hustle and bustle of the great city is silenced by heated lamps, fairy lights, and bonfire-tables. I had been to Consiglio's once before, but went directly inside the restaurant for a private cooking class, so I was excited for a new perspective of this classic restaurant! Chef Ray and I were guided to a table in the corner and were surrounded by glowing lights, a tall wooden fence, and beautiful landscaping.

As I sat in awe of my surroundings, out walked Chef Esteban. As he greeted his lifelong buddy, Chef Ray, we were happily introduced. Not too long after, Chef Ray and I were served our first round of drinks. We were given a cocktail called a Grasshopper. If you have never heard of this drink, it's a mint- flavored cocktail, that is normally served after dinner. it is made with creme de cacao, french cream and creme de menthe, which help make it a beautiful color of green (hence the name).

As we enjoyed our minty Grasshoppers, Chef Esteban brought us his Eggplant Rollatini, Fried Mozzarella, Fried Calamari and Stuffed Mushrooms (pictured below). The Eggplant Rollatini was overflowing with fresh season ricotta. The baked mozzarella on top was lightly cooked and crusted over the eggplant perfectly. Chef Esteban's marinara sauce is rich and has a great texture to it; it completely melts in your mouth. The Fried Mozzarella was served in two perfectly breaded wedges that oozed local mozzarella. The Fried Calamari was perfectly crispy, not soggy, and paired nicely with the marinara sauce. Lastly, the Stuffed Mushroom were filled with local sausage, roasted peppers, spinach, mozz and drizzled with a light garlic lemon butter - what more could you ask for?!

As we started to slow down, we sat with Chef Esteban and listened to his stories. We talked with the family of Consiglio's and prepared ourselves for dessert. We were brought Chocolate Mousse Cake with raspberry sauce. The cake was paired with slices of fresh tangerine and house-made berry sorbet (pictured left). This rich, chocolaty cake put me in the best mood. We were also served their house-made Godiva Tiramisu that was topped with ladyfingers that were soaked in Kahlua, Godiva Liqueur and espresso. The layers of fresh mascarpone were light and fluffy. This was the perfect way to end our night.

If you are ever in the New Haven area and want to be pleasantly surprised with a warm backyard patio and authentic Italian food, check out Consiglio's!

Thank you for having us Chef Esteban Campos and the Consiglio family!



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