It’s the first restaurant you’ll see driving into Ridgefield, the sort of place you hope to find in this gracefully affluent town. Inside, there’s a long copper bar and a relaxed, clean, comfortable vibe.
A friend and I went to Village Tavern the other day to catch up with Bruno DiFabio, the restaurateur. I’ve written about Bruno a number of times over the years. He’s a master pizza maker who also owns Amore in Stamford. Bruno always has got something new going on. Beneath Village Tavern is his Romolo Gastro Pizza. My friend raves about the lasagna Bolognese at Romolo.
Village Tavern menu has burgers, lobster rolls, Caesar’s salad, all the things people want, and it also has what we wanted: homemade pasta.
This is corn flour penne with Parmesan cream and porcini. My friend loved the silky texture of the pasta. I didn’t try it because it had truffle oil, and as those who know me know, I can’t stand the stuff.
But I loved the tagliatelle Bolognese. The homemade pasta curled around the ragu of ground pork, veal and beef. It was warm and hearty. The pasta had just the right texture, and the meaty sauce clung to it. It was just what I wanted to eat at that moment.
We started with fritto misto of shrimp, calamari and little crab cakes. Light crisp coating, and tender inside.
When you’re a guest of the owner, sitting chatting with him at the bar, you figure you’re getting good treatment. I’m happy to say that when I returned to Village Tavern a couple weeks later on my own, everything was the same. The service was excellent. We sat at a table in a cozy booth facing Main Street. Our server was friendly and caring. I was with an elderly relative and his even older friend, and we shared a cheese and charcuterie plate, and I had an IPA. Once again, the food just hit the spot.
When several tables emptied, the noise level abated, and our 90-year-old friend, who earlier had become confused about his address, recalled good times. “I was a terrible womanizer,” he said, with a rakish smile.