Josie and Tony’s Brings a Timeless NYC Dining Experience to South Norwalk

Photography by Venera Alexandrova

If dining is theater, then Josie and Tony’s set designer deserves a Tony Award. In the evening, this Sardi’s-esque restaurant glows with tabletop lamps resting on white tablecloths. Hirschfeld-inspired black-and-white caricatures line the wall above the banquette. Along with a NYC-throwback feel, Josie and Tony’s brings the membership dining club model to SoNo. Membership is already full with 50 people, though more may open up. (Nonmembers can make a reservation or walk in at a less busy time.)

Josie and Tony’s attracts a casually stylish crowd with its sophisticated dining room and NYC vibes. The menu includes elevated Italian dishes and timeless cocktails.

It feels like a party filled with sophisticated, casually fashionable folks. Service is attentive and professional, and food is seriously good elevated Italian. This place is fun, luxurious and expensive. It’s great for people-watching. And it has attitude.

Owner and sommelier Josh Mesnick has a background in theater and restaurant management. He moved from New York City to Connecticut during the pandemic. When he took over the space on North Main, the former Bruccolini and Pasta Nostra, Mesnick kept the legendary Joe Bruno’s chefs and created a smart, focused menu. Table-side Caesar Salad is showered with 48-month aged parmesan. Zucchini blossoms, golden, translucent and crunchy, let the flavor of the flower come through the ricotta and herb filling. It’s perfectly fine to have the After-Dinner Salad—arugula, endive, fennel and olives tossed in lemony dressing—before dinner or with your entrée.

Braciola is the sleeper hit of the menu, pounded filets of beef rolled with guanciale, parmesan and breadcrumbs, simmered in red-wine tomato sauce, rich with brunoised carrots, onions and celery, and served with soft polenta. Four house-made pastas include a novel ravioli stuffed with black sea bass and potatoes, topped with caramelized onions and English pea puree. The Spaghetti and Meatballs—springy housemade pasta and large, tender, herb-filled meatballs—sings.

The long bar (which, according to the website, “closes whenever we feel like it”) fills as the evening grows, serving cocktails, including a smooth, citrusy tequila-based Amari Coast, and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey on draft (“You got a problem with that?” the menu states). Mesnick’s wine list focuses on Italy and includes a couple of Super Tuscans by the glass and a splurge-worthy bottle of Domaine Romanee Conti.

The artichoke is slow-braised to perfection.

Like any really great Broadway show, you want to experience Josie and Tony’s again and again. Afterward, we can’t stop thinking and talking about it. We want to go back. We’re craving the braciola already. Josie and Tony’s is a hit!

A sweet and spicy sauce pairs well with halibut.

Buon appetito! In February, Josie and Tony’s began making Arthur Avenue-style sandwiches for lunch takeout. 

Pastas are made in-house, including the seabass ravioli.

josie & tony’s
20 N. Main Street
South Norwalk

starting at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, starting at
4:00 p.m.

Related Articles

Step Inside a New Canaan Home With a Story to Tell

An unexpected anthology of worldly travels makes this historic house an extraordinary home

5 Stamford Food Trucks To Hire For Your Spring Events

Let the good times roll at spring celebrations with these five Stamford food trucks