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Sample Summer in a Bowl at Cava Wine Bar

I’m a sucker for a good bowl of gazpacho. But as simple a dish as it is, so many restaurants seem to get it horribly wrong. Not so at Cava Wine Bar in New Canaan. On a recent steamy, early summer evening, a friend and I stopped by Cava for dinner. And of all the delicious dishes we sampled, I’m not ashamed to say that the gazpacho stole the show.

Tucked away on a corner of New Canaan’s picturesque Forest St., Cava’s façade seduces diners immediately. The streetside dining area serves up an irresistible and bustling summer scene. Inside, the elegantly understated entry gives onto a warm, rich interior. By the time we sat down, my expectations were elevated.

Which is why I had the confidence to actually order the gazpacho.

See, I’ve been burned so many times with watery, overly tomatoed, stateside gazpachos that, unless I know the chef or trust the restaurant implicitly, I almost never order it. I just can’t stand to have my epicurean heart broken one more time by bad gazpacho.

When it’s done right, gazpacho is an unparalleled summer treat. Every spoonful harkens to the slower, romantic pace of Andalusia, where you can find a perfect bowl of gazpacho on just about every corner. When the tomato is kept in check with the right amount of cucumber, soup just doesn’t get more refreshing.

And that is exactly the kind of gazpacho we had at Cava. Sure, the homemade ravioli stuffed with fresh ricotta, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, and Regiano Parmesan, served with organic tomato Pomodoro, garlic and fresh basil was heavenly. And the pasta special, a panziotti with veal, was stellar. Even the tre colore salad was a step above, as was the impeccable service.

But that bowl of summer they served us at the outset just couldn’t be outdone.

So, Chef Nube Rivera, I tip my sun hat to you and your superior summer soup. Tomatoes never had it so good.

What’s your favorite summer dish?

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