Norwalk restaurant relocates to Westport

WESTPORT — Though their doors have just opened in town, the owners of Basso Restaurant & Wine Bar have already established a strong clientele throughout the community following their 13 years in Norwalk.

On Monday evening a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to officially open the mixed Mediterranean eatery, which features that region’s cuisine done with a South American flair.

Owner and chef Renato Donzelli, who grew up in Campobasso, Italy, and later Spain, was inspired by those and the unique flavors of his native Venezuela, from whence his wife, co-owner Gilda Scorza, hails.

“It’s also reflected in the space and the music we play,” he said, wanting the food to be part of a larger experience when you visit their restaurant, located at 33 Jesup Road overlooking the green — the former site of Matsu Sushi.

Asked what makes Basso different, he said, “The passion that I put in my menu, the service … the creativity, the way that I present simple ingredients, but treat them with respect.”

“Sometimes when you do simple things you like,” he said, “the results are successful.”

The couple comes to town with a history of success, based on the years they ran Basso in the Broad River section of Norwalk, where many Westporters were regular diners.

“We had very nice ties with the community for years,” said Scorza, an architect whose Stamford-based firm CPG Architects coincidentally designed the recently completed Coleytown Middle School.

“Westport’s a great community and Basso are great people,” said CPG co-owner Karen Lika, who attended the opening with Jenny Paik, another CPG co-owner.

Both were on hand when Basso first opened in Norwalk in 2007.

“It’s come all together full circle,” Paik said.

Despite chilly weather, outdoor tables overlooking Jesup Green were full, abetted by roaring heat lamps.

“It’s great to have an exciting new restaurant open while still in the middle of the pandemic,” First Selectman Jim Marpe said after helping with the ribbon cutting, “and even more exciting to see Westporters already turning out to enjoy the great food that Basso has on the menu.”

Randy Herbertson, president of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, noted that despite issues surrounding the pandemic, there are still new places opening up in town, with still more to come in 2021.

“Basso is another example of the Renaissance of downtown Westport,” Herbertson said.

It wasn’t just locals taking advantage of the new eatery.

“It’s fantastic,” said Jessica Henshaw of Brooklyn, N.Y., who is visiting in town for the month with her family and already plans to return for another meal.

“We were just looking for a small bite, but so many things on the menu look delicious, so we ended up ordering half of the things on the tapas menu,” she said. “And it’s all delicious.”