Ciao, Eclisse in Stamford. How we once ate.

With the passing of Eclisse in Stamford today (see the Advocate) , it struck me how dining has evolved in Westchester and Conneciticut. Back in the late 80’s, we thought its sister restaurant Eclisse in Rye Brook was quintessential Italian-American, generous and flavorfull family style portions, hearty red sauced pasta, festive ambiance. Then came the food revolution and our tastes became more refined, our expectations higher. The finest freshest ingredients, chefs who experimented and pushed the culinary envelope, diners who insisted on the creativity and discrimination they saw on the surprisingly popular Food Network By 2006 the Rye Brook installation was shuttered. When we moved to Stamford, we decided to try Eclisse for old times sake. Stale carpeting and peeling walls, should have been the first clue. The restaurant was stuck back in time. We never returned.

Over the years we couldn’t believe the restaurant was still running, but there seemed to be an appetite for red sauce Italian-American amongst the old time Italian families in town (how else to explain Pellici’s , Villa Italia, et. al.) At one point Eclisse tried to re-invent as an Argentine Steak house cum Mediterranean, but that didn’t play, so they resorted to their old cuisine. Maybe the Harbor Point influx of better restaurants eventually wore them out. So ciao, Eclisse and how we once ate.

All this by way of asking, is there an old timer you used to love and which is still going, though times and your tastes have passed them by?

As an aside to your statement, the former Eclisse on E. Post Road, White Plains is also gone. Par tried to revive it as Taleggio but he did not seem to have his heart in it anymore. The space will reopen under new ownership as Pax Romana next week with a redesign and new menu.
While there are those innovative chefs who have brought Italian cuisine to another level, red sauce joints are not going away…and should not. I admit to enjoying an occasional Chicken Parm, but today I also like my Buratta, too. Arthur Ave is still alive and kickin’…

It’s hard to believe that they thrived while it was in the middle of nowhere and then the neighborhood explodes and they fail. Harlan Social is top 3 in all of Stamford, but not sure what else has opened there that would cause Eclisse any issues.

The few times I was there, I thought the food was good but the family style with enormous portions should a lack of economics and tastes. Not sure what they did after the fly-by ARgentinian re-do but it would never occur to me to suggest going there with friends.

GutR, Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker agrees with you about protecting the Italian American Redsauce from extinction. Last week on America’s Test Kitchen podcast, he also listed the Kosher Deli, Old Fashioned French restaurant and country inn as endangered species. Conceeding they do not always offer the best food, Gopnik contends they say a lot about our unique culinary history and need to be preserved. I think they deserve a place on the dining landscape, only if they serve a large enuf customer base. Another close by Italian, Cafe Sylvium in Shippan serves classical Italian with style, authenticity, and taste. Some nights the waits are up to half an hour to get in the door.

btw, I still mourn the passing of Stage Deli, though I hadn’t been there in years.

JF, agree Harlan is top notch, but I think Dinosaur down the block may have drawn some of Eclisse’s family business. And the writing was likely on their wall before the arrival of the wonderful Fortini, which is everything Eclisse was not.