My good friend, chef Tim Labant, and I have ridden probably 15,000 miles together on our bikes the past few years. We’ve had some epic adventures. Tim is the chef/owner of Schoolhouse at Cannondale, a new American spot in Wilton that celebrated its eleventh anniversary this past spring. About three years ago, Tim decided he wanted to bring his fine dining skills to a more casual environment. He loves pizza (who doesn’t?), so he started developing his own dough recipe. He went to Pizza Expo in Las Vegas two years in a row, refining his recipe and researching ovens. As the restaurant was developing, he asked me to put together the wine list and I was only too happy to help.
Everything came together about five weeks ago when Parlor opened its doors. Tim’s dough uses two types of Italian (Caputo) flour and has a multiday fermentation and proofing. The pies get baked in a Pavesi oven that’s fire-truck red. The dough has a chewy mouthfeel that makes you not even want to talk, just indulge in another bite until the pie is gone. The sautéed mushroom with taleggio is one of my favorites; the white clam sees fresh littlenecks steamed open, shucked and then placed on a creamy reduction sauce. The salads and sides are not to miss either.
To complement this simple but tasty menu, we put together a wine list that has something for everyone–but it may not be the exact something people thought they wanted when they came in. For example, a guest came in recently and asked for “a glass of chardonnay.” When I pointed out that we don’t have one by the glass (but we do have the excellent Sandhi chardonnay by the bottle), I suggested an erbaluce from Luigi Ferrando, the celebrated (for his reds, mostly) producer from Carema in the north of Piedmont. I poured her a taste; she liked it and ordered a glass. Then another. So that was my mini triumph of the night, turning a generic “chardonnay” drinker into a two-glass erbaluce enthusiast.
The list has a smattering of fun wines over $100 and a bunch of crystal decanters. But sensitive to the value needs of a pizza place, the list also has ten wines by the the bottle under $30 and ten wines by the glass starting at $8. We have three wines on keg too (lower carbon footprint!) that we serve by the quartino. We have wines from Italy, France, New York, California, Spain and Austria on the list right now. We have orange wine and pet nat. We will rotate wines in and out and have some special pours too. The wine world is a big and exciting place right now and we are happy to show off some tasty portions of it.
Stop by and check it all out! Connecticut is beautiful, especially this time of year.