Authenticity and Passion

From Italy to The Woodlands

Nickole Kerner Bobley

Jan 14, 2019

“Growing up in Italy made me very selective in choosing quality products and shaped me into the chef I am today,” explains Chef Enzo.

SORRISO means “to smile” in Italian and you can’t stop doing it as you feast upon the delicious new Italian cuisine created by critically acclaimed Executive Chef Enzo Fargione at Sorriso, on Waterway Square! 

At this recently opened family friendly eatery, Italian food takes on a modern delicious spin in the tradition of neighborhood trattorias that are so much a part of the fabric of Italy – and so rare within the heart of Texas, and, like the giant tomato-red double doors and stunning 2-story glass entrance that invite you into Sorriso, the food is bold—and fresh.

Chef Enzo sources ingredients locally, including Texas-raised beef, as well as from suppliers across the country, Italy and beyond. Entrées including Grilled Branzino and Braised Veal Ossobuco, and brick oven Neapolitan-Style Pizza with a wide variety of toppings are served while guests enjoy “shareable” offerings from Bruschetta to Buffalo Burrata; artisanal bread baskets accompanied by savory spreads; table snacks such as Tuscan Chicken Liver Pâté and Potato Sweet Onion Egg Frittata and an impressive extensive wine list to boot! 

Crowd favorite dishes are already emerging, such as the Squid Ink Cavatelli made with cherry tomatoes, shrimp, mussels, calamari, scallops and basil, the Tempura Squash Blossoms made from ricotta, black truffle, fava beans, mushrooms and smoked bacon and the Vanilla Citrus Pannacotta served in the style of a sunny-side up egg dish with tasty bacon pastry slices! 

Sorriso makes all the pasta and pizza dough in house. They use a special pasta machine from Italy called La Monferrina to craft saffron, spinach, red beet, egg yolk and white pasta into various cuts and shapes to suit each dish. For pizzas they had a beautiful Marra Forni brick oven shipped over from Naples, Italy that cooks pizza at 650 degrees in less than 90 seconds. 

Chef Enzo joined the Sorriso team following a 20-year whirlwind career that has seen him earn national acclaim. Born and raised in Turin, Italy, Fargione grew up adoringly watching his mother cook in their home kitchen. At the age of 3, however, he had enough of watching and wanted to do some doing, so he wrapped himself up in one of his mother’s aprons, grabbed her wood spoon and loudly and proudly proclaimed that he was going to be a chef from atop the tallest kitchen stool! With a raised eyebrow, a hug and a big kiss, his surprised, but delighted mother began to teach her food-smitten-young-son the passion of northern Italian cooking. 

At the age of 14, his talents took him to The Culinary Institute of Turin where he finished at the top of his class. Following school, he worked in famous local restaurants in Italy before branching off to become Chef de Cuisine for Chef Roberto Donna’s flagship restaurant Galileo in Washington D.C. Five years later in 1986, he began earning local and national recognition as chef/operating partner of Italian restaurants in the nation’s capital including Barolo, Teatro Goldoni, and ELISIR and Osteria Elisir Restaurants. Throughout his career, Fargione has received recognition as “One of 4 Chefs to Watch in the USA in 2008” by Esquire and earned multiple-star ratings from local and national publications, catapulting him to the top of the Italian fine-dining scene across America. He has been an active member of the James Beard Foundation for the past 20 years, and has recently published his first cookbook entitled, “Visual Eats.”

“Growing up in Italy made me very selective in choosing quality products and shaped me into the chef I am today,” explains Chef Enzo.

Carefully designed and curated by EDG Design, Sorriso’s décor combines neutral tones and rich materials of leather and wood, complemented by industrial touches of metal and steel, bringing the timeless Italian craftsmanship Chef Enzo demanded together with a contemporary flare The Woodlands Waterway Square is known for. 

This is Chef Enzo’s first time not living and working in a large city and he is loving every minute of it. From the hike and bike trails, the majestic large pine trees and overall better quality of life—he is “loving his new hometown.” His colleagues are enjoying their new home too– especially fellow Italian Chef de Cuisine Bruno Amato and Sorriso General Manager Giorgio Ferrero, who have all worked together before on the east coast and are delighted to be reunited under the Sorriso moniker. 

“We are proud to introduce Italian regional cuisine with a modern twist. It takes time and patience but, our goal is to win the hearts and the affection of The Woodlands local residents with quality, food, and personalized, dedicated service,” says Chef Enzo Fargione as he raises his glass. Salute!

For reservations at Sorriso Modern Italian Kitchen, call 832-839-5436 or visit www.sorrisoitaliankitchen.com