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    Tuesday, April 16, 2024

    Sate your craving for Italian food at Caputo Trattoria

    Tomato-Basil Arancini (Ann Baldelli/Special to The Day)

    We recently had a hankering for Italian cuisine and decided to dine at Caputo Trattoria at Foxwoods Resort Casino, which opened almost two years ago now. One takeaway: we should have gone sooner. 

    I’ll be honest, casino dining is not always my favorite. There are very good restaurants at both our local casinos, but the effort of getting there, parking and finding one’s way through the gaming labyrinths requires real determination.

    But we wanted to feed our craving for Italian, and several months ago, when we were invited for dinner at David Burke Prime Steakhouse at Foxwoods, we learned Caputo was not only next door but a sister restaurant, and any sibling of David Burke has got to be special.

    We were tempted by the prix-fixe menu ($44) for a three-course dinner served Monday to Friday 4 to 9:30 p.m. and all-day Sunday, but ultimately passed on it.

    We shared our appetizers — the Trattoria Salad ($14), Meatballs in Sunday Gravy ($14) and the Tomato-Basil Arancini ($15). Different people have different tastes, but our overall favorite was the salad, a combination of shaved garden vegetables including carrots, celery, cucumbers, fennel, and red onions with tender baby greens and confit tomatoes dressed in a red wine vinaigrette. It hit the spot.

    My personal opinion is that arancini can be very good or, sometimes, pretty bad. This arancini gets a high grade. The generous portion of four risotto fritter balls arrived piping hot and nestled in a pool of pesto aioli with arugula and parmesan. The rice balls were tender and flavorful inside and buttery golden brown on the exterior. They could have been a meal in themselves.

    The Sunday gravy was even better than the two plump meatballs sitting in it. The meatballs were flavorful, and that sauce was thick and hearty with chunks of pork and tomatoes, so thick a piece of bread dipped in it could stand on its own. And dip we did, to dredge up that herbed ricotta ladled over the meatballs.

    Did I mention that the bread was served with a small plate of olive oil poured over a few roasted cloves of garlic? It was good Italian bread.

    Enjoying our wine, we perused the menu and struggled to pick our entrees because everything sounded good. Finally, we settled on the Chicken Sorrentino ($35) and the Eggplant Parmesan ($28).

    The chicken dish was incredibly good, served with crispy eggplant, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and roasted potatoes with an herbed demi-glaze on a pretty plate. Go hungry when you go to Caputo, because the portions are big.

    Everything on the Chicken Sorrentino was cooked to perfection, and all the flavors and textures melded together to make every bite a winner. Our only regret is that we were stuffed so full before the entrees arrived that we took more than half of each of them away in doggie bags. But I assure you, no dog got those leftovers.

    The Eggplant Parmesan was a beautiful thing and accompanied by a side of spaghetti seemingly the size of a small mountain. The dish was a gut-stuffer. Honestly, we couldn’t eat more than a quarter of it.

    Part of the beauty was cutting into the stack of eggplant, cheese and sauce and seeing how thinly sliced the fruit was (doing this review, I learned eggplant is a fruit, not a vegetable) and how high the chef had stacked it. I believe I counted six layers of lusciousness.

    The side of Broccoli Rabe ($10) we ordered was overkill, given all the other food on our table. It appeared to have been sautéed with olive oil and garlic, and we enjoyed it with our leftovers that provided an additional at-home lunch and dinner.

    The waitstaff was attentive, and a manager stopped by our table to make sure we were satisfied, which we were. The one disruption was a party of eight just two tables away who were incredibly loud and boisterous. I’m all about having fun, but this table of four men and four women were rude and, I’d venture to say, inebriated. We were just finishing our dinner, but I felt badly for other diners in the room.

    Dessert options (all $9) included Classic Tiramisu, Caramel Panna Cotta, Chocolate Fudge Cake, and Chocolate Chip Cannolis. We declined it all, but as is customary at Caputo Trattoria, they brought us a complimentary Tiramisu Cotton Candy. It was served, cone side up, on a white plate and dusted with what I believe was cocoa and espresso. It was good.

    We spent more than we usually do for dinner at Caputo Trattoria and next time would try the prix-fix, or an early bird special they advertised for $32.95 per person, including a starter, main, dessert and coffee. There’s also a Sunday brunch and Thursday seafood fest. Check the website for details about all the options and menus.

    Meatballs in Sunday Gravy (Ann Baldelli/Special to The Day)
    Trattoria Salad (Ann Baldelli/Special to The Day)
    Eggplant Parmesan (Ann Baldelli/Special to The Day)
    Chicken Sorrentino (Ann Baldelli/Special to The Day)
    Tiramisu Cotton Candy (Ann Baldelli/Special to The Day)

    Caputo Trattoria

    Foxwoods Resort Casino, 350 Trolley Line Boulevard, Mashantucket

    (860) 312-2788


    Atmosphere: Caputo Trattoria is an oasis within the busy casino-resort property. With its twinkling white lights and sophisticated, modern décor, the restaurant is a relaxing destination.

    Alcohol: Yes

    Hours: Monday to Thursday, 4 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 3 to 10 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 9:30 p.m.

    Service: Very good

    Prices: It depends on what you order. Entrees range from about $25 to $45 and starters from $9 to $29. But portions are big, and there are specials — like prix fixe, happy hour and early bird.

    Credit cards: Yes

    Reservations: Yes

    Handicapped access: Yes

    What else: The restaurant's website if chock full of information, including menus, specials, reviews, and photos that will make you hungry.

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