This year marks Match's 11th anniversary, an honor and milestone that most restaurants can only hope to achieve. Instrumental in revitalizing SoNo and its thriving restaurant scene, Match has flourished throughout the years by providing diners with an immersive and engaging dining experience that delivers on all fronts. The menu never disappoints, always featuring Match classics alongside daily and seasonally inspired dishes, never pausing to get tired or predictable. The friendly and competent wait staff, under the watchful eye of Managing Partner/Co-owner Scott Beck, sets the tone in the front of the restaurant, conversing knowledgeably about each dish's preparation as well as the expertly chosen wine list.
Match marries the ingredients for success masterfully, but for my money, Match's success really lies in the kitchen. The secret to staying on top for 11 years and what really sets Match apart from the pack is Executive Chef/Co-owner Matt Storch's playful approach to cooking as well as his ability to constantly create and innovate in the field of new American cuisine.
With Match's numerous "best of" awards for both their menu and wine list, and a long list of accolades from the traditional media, we wanted to tell you a different story. In fact, we felt it most compelling to simply show you. The following represents some of our favorite selections from the Match menu, ones that highlights Chef Storch's ability to layer flavors, textures and truly varied ingredients with great success. One night ... one long meal ... .This is not a CTbites review. This is food porn.
Match Crab Cake-- Presenting a tower of Maine jumbo lump crab meat with spicy aioli perfectly balanced atop a slightly sweet corn and hazelnut waffle topped with delicate fried leeks. (Really? A Waffle? Yes…and it's wonderful.) Don't miss the opportunity to dredge the sweet waffle in the syrupy tangy vanilla gastrique decorating this elegant plate.
Carpetbaggers-- (pictured above) This is the dish you want to eat when you only have one meal left. 6 semolina crusted and fried local blue point oysters are settled back into their shells with a touch of truffle cream topped with beef tartare and a dollop of truffle aioli. The combination of texture and temperatures in this dish make it positively sensual. Presented on ice, this is a solid starter.
Crispy Semolina Coated and Fried Calamari--Semolina crusted fried calamari nestled atop a lightly dressed arugula salad delivers crunchy contrast to the chewy seafood. Sriracha laced spicy tomato aioli delivers a nice kick to this popular starter.
Seared Wasabi & Sesame Rubbed Tuna--There's a reason this has been the most requested dish on the Match menu for 10 years. Buttery raw Ahi tuna is rubbed with wasabi, coated in sesame seeds and lightly seared. Thi dish has the wonderful juxtaposition of a crunchy warm coating giving way to buttery cool raw Ahi. It is then paired with sticky coconut infused rice cake, dressed watercress, a subtle hit of srichacha, and avocado cream. Perfection.
BBQ Nachos and Ribs-- Storch elevates low brow nachos with an amusing and satisfying take on a stadium classic. A small cast iron pan reveals layers of pulled BBQ pork, wonton chips and just the right touch of tangy rich cheddar cheese. As if that wasn't enough, a side of smokey sweet BBQ braised and glazed baby back ribs complete this comfort food standout.
Wild Arugula Salad--This simple salad of wild ‘spicy’ arugula is lightly dressed and layered on a pool of warm parmesan cream. The long strips of parmesan reggiano resting on the greens become instant finger food.
Margherita Pizza--With such a varied and interesting menu, one can almost lose sight of Match's wood burning brick oven boasting its own bar seating. This pizza has a nice thick chewy crust and a crunchy foundation. Shredded basil and parmesan round out this classic pie.
Forest Pizza--This is a must order. The Forest pie features sautéed spinach, a touch of pesto, brandied mushrooms, and the layered flavors of both goat and mozzarella cheese. Add a healthy dose of EVOO and a great crispy char on the crust, and you've got yourself a winner. We couldn't stop eating this…and insisted on packing the remaining slices to go.
Lobster Roll ‘Abbots style’-- Inspired by a classic lobster joint in upstate CT, this succulent lobster is freshly steamed, tossed with butter, lemon, white wine, and parsley, and stuffed into a soft buttery brioche bun. Wrapped in brown paper and paired with a side of homemade potato chips, this dish has thoroughly enjoyable lobster shack nostalgia.
Luscious Pumpkin Risotto -- What defines the fall season better than the bright colors of this pumpkin-licious presentation? The perfectly cooked risotto is mingled with spiced-roasted local squash and stuffed back into the house from whence it came. It's very meta.
Medallions of Lamb--Sure, the menu says "Lamb" but don't order this artfully presented plate unless you are also an avid asparagus fan. This study in textures and flavors features perfectly grilled medium rare lamb with hints of rosemary and garlic, surrounded by a pool of asparagus puree. The supporting cast includes sautéed asparagus tips with spring onions and bacon, shaved raw asparagus tossed with fried leeks, and a few pieces of asparagus tempura for good measure.
Wood Roasted Organic Chicken--Every restaurant menu has a chicken entree on it, but most are not as tasty as Match's. This dish has been on the menu almost as long as the seared tuna, and customers still ask for it every night. The wood-roasting is the key to achieving a nice crispy skin and moist interior for this organic--free range chicken. (Insider secret: pesto marinade contributes to the rich deep flavor.) Baked scalloped potatoes and haricot vert tinged with a hint of chicken jus are classic sides, while the sauce captures all those great brown bits left in the pan in which it was cooked, layering additional flavor to the dish.
Char-Grilled Dry Aged Sirloin of Beef --Steak doesn't generally turn me on, but this 10 oz New York strip steak is melt-in-your-mouth tender and sports great grilled flavor. Served with thick cut herb seasoned bistro fries tossed with parmesan, creamed spinach and sweet and sour onions, I found myself coming back to this dish even after we had moved on with the meal.
"8 Hour" Osso Bucco of Veal--This dauntingly substantial veal shank is cut 3 inches thick and braised for 8 hours (seriously) with anchovies, garlic, onions, carrot, veal stock, balsamic, brown sugar, and crushed tomatoes. Those 8 hours really do this veal justice as the tender meat literally falls off the bone. The osso bucco is paired with parmesan risotto and topped with the rich braising sauce. This is not a dish for the faint at heart.
Berry Cobbler--Molten fresh raspberries lie below a crisp cobbler biscuit as cinnamon gelato slowly melts with each bite. I think I had slipped into a food coma at this point in the meal, but the fruit in this dish will change seasonally.
"Just Baked" Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies--Do you know that moment when cookies come out of the oven and for just a few minutes they are everything a cookie should be. Warm...chewy...melted chocolate all over your fingers. This is it baby. Peanut butter ice cream pairs nicely with these kid (and adult) favorites. We fought each other for the final cookie on the plate.
When asked why people keep coming back, Managing Partner/Co-owner Scott Beck explained the need for all of the elements to come together.
"The restaurant industry right now is unbelievably competitive. People have really high expectations and lots of options. You need to marry all the key components together like you’re cooking a meal."