Bacchus—named for the Roman god of wine and revelry has repoened at 120 Washington Street in SoNo with an executive chef from Ecuador, a remodeled interior and a connoisseur's wine list.
Its familiar oval sign, promising "Love, Food & Wine" below bunches of grapes and a glass filled with red wine, is once again a siren call for romantics.
The restaurant was shuttered for two years over a business dispute, but owner/proprietor Arnie D'Angelo has assembled a new staff that includes general manager Marcos Silva and wine steward John Freitas.
The stylish space has new lighting, a water wall and a partial wall with openings for candles to achieve atmospherics.
Bacchus reopens at 5 p.m. with a full dinner menu featuring tuna tartare ($12 as an appetizer), hearty pasta dishes ($17 to $25) and entrees such as veal Milanese ($32) and New York strip steak ($38).
The wine list promises the "best values of their class" in the $35 to $55 range plus a few tantalizing choices at $85 a bottle.
Executive chef Raul Santander, who got his culinary start aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean, will display his techniques in the kitchen that's freshly opened to diners' view behind a panel of glass set amidst tables for two, four and six, seating 55.
Santander's forte is Italian cuisine with innovative flourishes, and also includes daily specials borrowed from the French, Spanish and Latin influences he mastered on the high seas.
The menu features his signature free-range organic chicken marinated, seared and slow roasted in a garlic-based sauce.
"I've been in this business for 20 years and this is the best chicken I have ever eaten," raved Silva on Thursday as he and the staff added finishing touches to the decor.
Would Santander, his head wrapped in a pirate-worthy black scarf, care to reveal his recipe?
"Secreto," he said with a shy smile.
"With Raul, everything needs to be perfect," Silva assured a visitor from Patch as Luciano Pavarotti belted out an aria as background music.
The inviting bar with 13 stools will have its own menu shortly and as warm weather arrives in about a month, outdoor seating on Washington Street will accommodate up to 22.
At the same time, Bacchus will begin serving lunch and Sunday brunch. For now its hours will be Tuesday to Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. The restaurant will close on Sundays and Mondays but be available then for private events, Silva said.
Bacchus' website is www.BacchusSono.com. For reservations call 203-956-6220.
This article orginally appeared in Norwalk Patch