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Sunday
Sep262010

Farmers Table: Simple Farm Fresh in New Canaan

The lines between farm stand and restaurant are growing ever more blurry with the recent opening of Farmers Table on Forest Street in New Canaan, a hybrid farmers market, bakery and the latest restaurant to embrace the farm-to-table dining trend. Intimate in both name and practice, the tiny 6 top restaurant delivers farm fresh hospitality with a farm stand persona.

Eating at Farmers Table is like inviting yourself to dinner at a friend’s house, armed with a bottle of wine and primed for small talk. Chef/owner Robert Ubaldo has made the cozy restaurant feel as if you’ve invited yourself into his home, with fresh loaves of bread cooling on racks, bowls of fresh vegetables on the counter and conversations with fellow diners that naturally extend beyond the boundaries of each table. Chef Ubaldo previously cooked in the neighborhood at Tequila Mockingbird, as well as Southwest Cafe in Ridgefield. The local and organic produce you’ll find on the menu is sourced from his brother's upstate NY farm, John Boy in Cambridge New York, or Ubaldo’s own back yard in Pound Ridge.

The menu is short and sweet and perfectly suited Photo: Amy Kundratfor lunch, take-out or an unadorned BYOB dinner. A soup, a few salads, a short list of entrees, and two desserts were offered on a recent visit. A friend and I split each course, starting with a few hunks of freshly baked bread with rosemary and zucchini. Eating these slices of bread in their freshly baked glory turned out to be the highlight of our farm fresh evening.

A beet and goat cheese salad and an order of chicken quesadillas came out together as requested. The salad, a pile of roasted beets, goat cheese, walnuts, and lettuce was lightly dressed and nicely executed. This marriage of beets and fresh greens and goat cheese we all know so well is a welcome way to embrace some of the last fresh greens of the summer.

The quesadillas boasted a sweet and savory filling of pineapple, cheese and chicken, the technique, no doubt perfected during his tenure at Tequila Mockingbird and Ridgefield's Southwest Cafe. Soon after a bowl of heirloom tomatoes made the rounds in the dining room, and I gladly popped a few in my mouth. An appropriate amuse bouche for this split personality space that was becoming more farm stand by the moment.

Dessert beckoned and we opted for a slice of key lime pie sprinkled with delicate little bits of mango and strawberries over the other more decadent option of a flourless chocolate cake. It was a good call to end our light summer meal. The bright and creamy flavors of the pie brought our meal back full circle to the bright and light acidity of our beet salad. 

I left my meal half expecting to stumble onto a tilled field and not Forest Street in New Canaan, a gentle reminder that we eat is food that comes from the earth, cultivated by very real people like the Ubaldos which doesn't necessitate the pomp and circumstance of a traditional restaurant scene.

Farmers Table packs a substantial local and organic punch into a tiny footprint, nudging the boundaries of a traditional dining experience and also raising the bar of what we may come to expect from a farm stand. It's safe to say our farm-to-table dining trend is continuing to explore its proverbial roots.

[Photography by Jeanette Chen http://jeanetteshealthyliving.blogspot.com/]

Farmers Table, 21 Forest Street, New Canaan. (203) 594-7890

Farmer's Table on Urbanspoon 

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    [...]Farmers Table: Simple Farm Fresh in New Canaan - CT Bites - Restaurants, Recipes, Food, Fairfield County, CT[...]

Reader Comments (15)

Can't wait to try this place. Love the mouthwatering photos!

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjo

There's a lot to like about this place. For more information about how John Ubaldo raises his animals, check out the piece I wrote for the Fairfield Weekly.

http://www.fairfieldweekly.com/dining/dining/farmers-table-in-new-canaan-is-a-restaurant-and-market-rolled-into-one-2

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

It looks like there is a lot to like about this place....but key limes and mangoes?? I know the chef can be more creative with dessert if he wants to make it "local", especially with all the fall fruits coming in from the area

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Good piece on Patch too...

http://newcanaan.patch.com/articles/farmers-table-fresh-fare-on-forest-street

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBababooey

The food is fresh & delicious, the service is superb and the atmosphere is wonderful!

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCyd

Chef Ubaldo bakes wonderful desserts with ingredients that he tries his best to obtain locally sourced - cheese cake, pumpkin pie, apple pie, blueberry pie, cherry pie and more. His pies are delicious!

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCyd

Thanks for all the great comments.I do the best I can with the space and storage and refrigeration is at a premium. Yes to the desserts you are right I make a whole array of pies and other baked goods and I appreciate the limes and mangoes comment. It is true and thank you for the vote of confidence. Apples and pumpkins are here. I froze lots of blueberrys and although the tart cherries are not local I get them direct. They harvest once a year so almost all Montmorency cherries for pies are either dried canned or frozen.Canned cherry pie FILLING is an insipid mix of corn starch, some kind of cheap sweetener, and a couple of cherries colored red. Best to buy tart cherries in water from someplace like King orchards in Michigan. They really do make a wonderful pie. If you thicken it use instant tapioca or tapioca starch. I continue to be surprised by the number of people that want to sit down for meals, grateful as well, but there is so little time I wish I could do more. Right now I am content to serve really fresh, healthy food that I grow or source from people I trust with food integrity. There are a few exceptions like limes, mangoes, coffee beans olive oil and some seafood. Again thanks for ALL of the comments they mean a lot and are an important tool for improvement. Robert

October 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChef Ubaldo

i had lunch here last week, not bad. always glad to see new places that use local ingredients.

October 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterAlan Breslow

Has anyone tried the burger here or do I need to take one for the team?

November 1, 2010 | Registered Commenterburger maven

Yes please! Report back. We've got a "CTbites Burger Shout Out" coming next week. It would be a good data point.

November 1, 2010 | Registered CommenterStephanie Webster

Service is terrible! Maybe because they are new but wait a while before going. Always horrible when a night out is spoiled by bad service.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

With a few weeks under their belts I returned to FT to sample their burger.

As I sat amongst the tables of ladies enjoying salads, I looked into the open fridge at the cheeses, brussel sprout stalks, shallots, onions, garlic, eggs, butternut squash, fresh beets, dressed beets, plus two prepared soups, butternut squash and NE clam chowder.

While I waited the owner’s wife brought two soup tastings, the Butternut Squash and the Chorizo Black Bean. The squash soup had a background of pumpkin spice and was better than my first visit but could still use a little more depth. The Chorizo had a cumin background and just a little heat in the spice and the Chorizo was very good. I liked the black bean better than the squash.

When the cheeseburger and fries arrived I first tried one of the fries and it was very good. Crispy on the outside and moist on the interior and were properly salted. I later discovered that John, the owner, tried several purveyors before settling on the current supplier and he did a nice job. The beef is sourced by John Boy's in Cambridge NY and had a great sear. The cheese was nicely melted and two thin slices of cornichon were nestled in the cheese. I cut in half and the interior was a nice medium rare. My first bite surprised me on just how good this burger was. It was juicy, full of flavor and the texture indicated they were hand formed on site. It immediately jumped to a high position in my favorite burger in FFD CTY and I would even go as far as the #1 burger in New Canaan.

Nice job John

November 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterJeff "jfood" Schlesinger

oh man, am i sorry. i forgot to come back here. i went the other day to check it out and thought it was a really good burger and fries. definitely on the list with cherry street for a good lunch burger.

November 5, 2010 | Registered Commenterburger maven

Our first visit to the FT was all that I had expected. Delicious, fresh food served by friendly, knowledgeable people in a warm and welcoming room at a fair price. My husband enjoyed a great steak, I had a fabulous shrimp risotto, and my daughter had a terrific cheeseburger. Yes, the fries were great too! The homemade cheesecake and chocolate cake both are amazing, and I'm a baker who usually won't eat cheesecake out. btw - the coffee is exceptional too! Tip - remember to bring your own wine. We all look forward to going back very soon, and will make a reservation to be sure to get a table.

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Farmer's Table moved across the street on May 1st. Now at number 12 Forest St. Same great food, more seating (including outdoor tables). Now has a liquor license. Wife and I love it! Well worth the trip from Stamford.

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony M., Stamford

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