Aaron Sanchez of Paloma

Aaron Sanchez debuts his new restaurant, Paloma, in Stamford this week. (HANDOUT / CLAY WILLIAMS / July 21, 2014)

You may know Aarón Sánchez from the Food Network ("Chopped," "Best Thing I Ever Ate," "Next Iron Chef") and now he's joining the Connecticut restaurant scene. The celebrity chef is bringing his Latin cuisine to Stamford with the 250-seat Paloma, opening tonight in the city's waterfront Harbor Point development.

Paloma, described as a "lively, Latin-inspired restaurant," will serve whole roasted meats, wood-grilled seafood, assorted ceviche and raw bar selections and small plates. Among the sample menu items: hamachi tiradito with passion fruit aji rocoto sauce; cactus fritters with chipotle remoulade; sweet plantain empanadas with mole and pan-seared double-cut pork chop with grapefruit mojo and yam puree. Larger, shareable plates include pollo pibil (whole roasted chicken marinated in achiote habanero sauce with pickled salad) and tomahawk steak for two with chimichurri sauce and epazote béarnaise. 

The bar features cocktails made with spirits from Central and South America: tequila, mezcal, pisco, cachaça, and rum - including the restaurant's namesake drink, made with ruby red grapefruit and lime juices, sea salt, purified water, Camarena reposado tequila and "grapefruit creme brulee nectar." 

Paloma offers indoor and outdoor seating, along with options for private parties. The restaurant will be open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Lunch and brunch are forthcoming.

Sánchez is also the chef/owner of Mestizo in Leawood, Kansas, and will open Alegre in New York, NY, and Johnny Sánchez alongside  Chef John Besh in Baltimore, Maryland and New Orleans, according to a news release. He is the son of Zarela Martinez, the restaurateur credited with bringing regional Mexican cuisine to New York City.

Paloma is at 15 Harbor Point Road in Stamford. 203-998-7500, www.palomagrill.com.