Admittedly, lasagna isn't a hot item at a lot of Italian restaurants. I remember when I was a kid my father used to take my sister and me to Panzo's, a restaurant on Main Street in East Haven, when it was "lasagna night" - and they sure did make an epic one. Beyond that, it was my mom's lasagna, and I only got it on Easter. I associate lasagna with Easter.
Ya just didn't see lasagna on a ton of menus at the restaurants we frequented as a family, and even less nowadays. There had to be a "lasagna night". And I, personally, am more of a purist about my lasagna than I am my pizza. A great lasagna - like a woman - is hard to find.
But these restaurants in Greater New Haven do it and, what's more, they do it right. Which is the BEST?
BRAZI'S: The longtime Long Wharf eatery remains one of New Haven's best, even if so many really do take it for granted. Further, the best waiter in the universe works there, and has for years - the equally legendary Eddie Roberts. The Brazi's lasagna is just as good as you'd expect it to be, like a Nana made it. You can taste the tradition. Just don't fill up on the garlic knots beforehand.
CONSIGLIO'S: Speaking of Nanas, the lasagna at this Wooster Street landmark is bananas. This historic spot quite literally wears its tradition on its sleeve, as much as you're likely to get gravy (yes, gravy) on yours. This is award-winning lasagna we're talking about, and rightfully so.
CAFFE BRAVO: The Orange Street hot spot has a way of taking traditional dishes and giving them a contemporary flair. And so it goes with their divine lasagna.
CAFE AMICI: This Whitney Avenue gem is all about family. They even have that in their tagline: "Where friends & family come together." All of your favorites can be found here (including a mean stuffed rigatoni) and their inclusion of lasagna on their menu shows that you can stretch your legs while keeping one foot firmly in the tasty past.
CAFE FIORE: Fairly new to Branford, I was surprised to see lasagna on Fiore's menu. Especially when they boast some extravagant dishes otherwise (including my personal fave, Veal Fiore). Talk about decadent! But their lasagna gets it done, and my son busts it up whenever we go on a Sunday.