Mill Street Bar and Table opened in the Byram neighborhood in Greenwich last October, the brainchild of Executive Chef Geoff Lazlo in partnership with Bill and Leslie King, who head up the organic-centric Back 40 Group. Many in Connecticut know of his work with Bill Taibe at The Whelk in Westport, but his roots with organic gardening and cooking with the finest bounty of the season goes back to his love of gardening and his introduction to the use of these ingredients with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, Michael Anthony at Gramercy Tavern, and Dan Barber at Stone Barns.
While the Executive Chef at The Whelk, his burger received my “Best of…” in 2013 and with his newest adventure firmly established in the Fairfield County culinary landscape it was time to see if his newest creation was as great…IT WAS!
Chef Lazlo’s latest rendition is the “8OZ PASTURED BEEF BURGER,” described on the menu to include house-made mustard, aioli, Cheddar cheese, served on a potato-brioche, and served with hand-cut fries.
Since it was my first visit, I arrived early mid-week so I could look at the design and décor. The interior is separated into several intimate dining areas, a back oyster bar, dining rooms, and a front traditional bar with a private room in the rear. I chose the front bar, settled in, ordered my burger medium-rare, and relaxed, watching the news on one of the TVs overlooking the bar.
When the burger arrived I noticed it was simplistic in it presentation, bun, sauce, lettuce, thick patty, melted cheese, sauce, bun. It was served alongside a tin of French fries.
I cut the burger in half, it was prepared more medium than medium-rare, but glistened with juice. After one bite of the meat I knew this would be a wonderful experience. The meat was incredibly rich, the depth was slightly gamey, a great meat and full of juiciness. The medium grind was still loose; the kitchen took care in maintaining the integrity of the meat. There was a great char on the exterior plus a good amount of smokiness. I later learned that the meat was a special dry-aged blend from Fleisher’s in Westport, 30% fat with an added feature that Chef Lazlo asked to be kept quiet. The Cheddar cheese from Arethusa Farm in Bantam was nutty, with notes similar to Gruyere. The locally raised lettuce was crispy and sweet and the mustard and aioli were delightful accompaniments. The buttered and griddled roll was one of the best I have ever tasted. At the end of the meal, Pastry Chef Caryn Stabinsky stopped by and I was told she makes all of the buns at the restaurant. It was evident in how the ingredients all worked in perfect balance.
The fries were also outstanding. They were properly prepared, crispy on the exterior, soft on the interior and salted.
After the meal, Chef Lazlo showed me the wood burning grill that was the reason for the perfect char. It was quite a piece of culinary art and I told him I needed to return to try the chicken. He smiled and told me it was pretty special.
Overall, Chef Lazlo’s newest burger at Mill Street Bar and Table is one of the best in the area. The meat was fantastic, great preparation on the wood burning grill and encased in Chef Stabinsky’s bun made for one of those special burgers.