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« Bar Sugo Opening Brings Killer Pizza to Norwalk...Again! | Main | Tokeneke 2012 Pumpkin Carnival »
Tuesday
Oct022012

The Spread to Open in S. Norwalk w/ Local Celeb Bartenders & Arik Bensimon

“The SoNo scene has lost a bit of luster and we'd like to help bring some flavor back downtown,” says Chris Hickey, Co-Owner of The Spread opening October 2012.  

Mr. Hickey, and his partners, Christopher Rasile, Andrey Cortes, and Shawn Longyear may be just the men for the job. With strong backgrounds in hospitality and almost legendary careers managing Bar at Barcelona’s SoNo and Greenwich locations, these four partners are poised to create some dining buzz in Michael Young's former Habana location

But, despite boasting one of the largest bars in Fairfield County, The Spread is not just about creative cocktails. Enter the talented Chef Arik Bensimon, most recently the Executive Chef at Napa & Co., and now you’ve got yourself some serious culinary street cred to compliment the talent behind the bar. 

Inside, reclaimed wood farm tables, brushed concrete, lounge areas and a “living wall,” paired with antique china create a rustically hip vibe.  Large industrial glass garage doors open to the street while a window into the kitchen allows diners a perfect view of Chef Arik and his team. Looking for the best seat in the house? Get in early to score the few spots by the kitchen where guests can perch with their drink and watch the kitchen crew in action.  

We spoke with Chef Arik about the menu at The Spread. Guests will find an elegantly rustic menu with lots of small plates that will reflect Arik’s classically French training combined with an elegant comfort-food twist. “My Mother’s strong Moroccan influence will be felt here for sure,”  says Arik, whose cooking will draw from ingredients and cuisines around the world. “I want to cook what I feel.” Smaller plates will allow diners to sample and enjoy the full range of Chef Arik's cuisine, while Arik also hopes to do some family style dining in the near future. 

What is Chef Bensimon feeling these days? While the menu is still in the rough draft stage, Arik confides that some possible contenders may include: Cavatelli with milk fed veal braised in milk, paired with sage; Foie gras served in Mason jars and topped with prunes soaked in amanac; Grouper with smoked yogurt, dill butter and Char roe; and Korean fried cauliflower, to name a few.  

 

Arik has also expanded his equipment list to include a ceramic grill and white Binchotan charcoal imported from Japan. This charcoal burns very hot but does not release any smoke or odors giving dishes like grilled octopus or quail, a distinctive clean charcoal grilled flavor.

 

Joining Arik in the kitchen will be Sous Chef, Carlos Baez, and a butcher currently charged with the creation of terrines, pates, and sausages (about which Arik is particularly excited). However, in short order, whole animals will be purchased from local farms and butchered on premises, utilizing every part of the animal. The butcher block in directly in front of a large picture window into the kitchen, which should make for some good visuals during off hours.  

As for the cocktail menu, The Spread partner, Chris Hickey says, “in terms of wine we are working with a couple of sommeliers to put together a list that has boutique elements but isn't indecipherable. A reserve list will likely follow." They may even put a rosé on tap. Beer lovers will find a selection of both micro brews and standards, and then there's "the trough," which will hold the coldest beer in Norwalk. 

They will be serving some smaller batch liquors, in addition to some interesting infusions. With over 70 years of bartending experience between the four partners, "we have learned to offer options without being too gimmicky- any specialty list would likely be comprised of four drinks, one created by each of us," says Hickey. 

Dining hours at The Spread will be 3PM-whenever this group of night owls decide to turn in.  

For late-lunch go-ers, The Spread will be serving a special afternoon menu from 3PM-5PM featuring sandwiches with some of the dinner menu ingredients, such as a chicken galontine or pork shoulder.

The Spread should be open around mid October. Keep an eye out for that OPEN sign as you drive through SoNo. 

The Spread is located @ 70 North Main Street, Norwalk (SoNo) (203) 939-1111

 

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Reader Comments (16)

This looks like it's going to an awesome spot! The Spread. Love the idea of the butcher block & use of all parts of the animal. Local sourcing too! We will certainly give it a go. Trendy menu, But 4 partners? Seems as if that would be a recipe for disaster.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndy S

Great to see where chef Arik landed. Looking forward to seeing the new menu.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

I can't wait to see this place open while I'm driving home! Just a few blocks from the pad, I can have great food and drink. Looking forward to the terrines, pates, and sausages. A huge plus is that this group of owners is a fun group!

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph G. Hamboussi

Looking forward to opening day. There's nothing like a "traditional french menu" with a Moroccan Influence.
Joss.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoss

Sounds like it could be cool. They're right, SoNo has been lacking. Lot of overpriced duds. It'd be great to have some solid new food in the area.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRA

Great to see Chef Arik get a fresh start! Can't wait to see how he does now that he has a positive environment in which to work.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKev

Sounds like a perfect recipe- 4 partners + egos + testosterone + huge expenses= good luck!

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZBZ

ZBZ............. I concur.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfoodieonline

These guys are an awesome crew. Loads of personality and talent... Make sure to check it out..

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie

with an 18 months they will fail and be out of businessguaranteed

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternostredomus

@nostredomus-Have you actually eaten at The Spread? Go check it out and get back to the group.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor

Foie gras and veal are anything but comforting! Could you be any more pretentious or lacking of good taste in food offerings?

Foie gras is banned in Chicago. Don't you read the news? Follow the good example of Charlie Trotter and continue the trend in Fairfield County.

Try making a statement with a good example and not an offensive one.

I agree with 'nostredoomus'--[hopefully] you'll be gone in 18 months.

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTCQ

REALLY?! People hoping or "predicting" the failure of others... you should all be ashamed of yourself. There is no need to go on any further, if anyone has the strength and dedication to succeed it is the people of The Spread.

October 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKarma

I find foie gras and veal QUITE comforting... Can't wait to go here.

November 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereatgoodfood

Just surprised at the haters. Good luck fellas. You know what to do to succeed. Peace! OA

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAO

I've been to the Spread twice and have been pleased with the food and the service. With the decent amount of bar space, it is a place that is fairly buzzy. If you are looking for quiet evening out, this is probably not the place. But if you are looking for good food, lots of small plates, great for sharing, and a restaurant with a lot of energy, it is probably a good choice.

From the crowds I have seen, I would suspect they will do well. My first concern was the location - but I think they are making the best of it, especially by having some expanded hours.

As to sniping about serving foie gras. Please - if you don't like foie, there are a lot of restaurants that you need to strike from your list. Might I suggest reading the long-form Village Voice piece on Hudson Valley Foie Graw. http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-02-18/news/is-foie-gras-torture/ Clearly, there was a kernel of expectation that an expose was coming, but instead, the writer found a farming environment far different from that expectation.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

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