Tucked in the rear of a charming passageway on Elm Street in New Canaan is Baldanza Natural Market Cafe. With a large and diverse organic menu, and a blackboard filled with the names of local purveyors, this small restaurant is fast becoming a local favorite. Owners Sandy and Angela Baldanza opened the café last year serving lunches and an occasional ‘pop up dinner’. Baldanza recently expanded the hours to include regular dinner service and partnered with Chef Kender Urena, who many will remember as the Chef /Owner of Bistro Bonne Nuit. Urena was awarded a Grand Diploma in Culinary Art with outstanding honors from the French Culinary Institute in NYC and was one of Bon Appétit Magazine Top 100 Chefs in America in 2007.
Entries in American (39)
Patrons of Washington Prime will find comfort in the cuisine of its new Executive Chef Howard McCall Jr. This unassuming chef is not new to SoNo nor the kitchen at Washington Prime; he started in the kitchen at Barcelona twenty years ago and was the opening Sous Chef at Washington Prime last summer. Prior to joining Washington Prime he oversaw the kitchen at Mint restaurant in North Carolina which influenced his new Southern style cuisine.
CTbites was invited to meet the chef and sample some of his new additions to the menu. Chef Howard exudes a soft personality, allowing his culinary talents to speak. His recent changes to the new menu range from a creative American Soul Rolls to a Braised Lamb Shank, plus modifications of previous favorites. Each maintained the focus on the main ingredient with delightful accompaniments…more akin to Southern comfort food.
The next stop on my unending burger quest found me sitting at a high top table in the rear of Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield. This modest two room restaurant is known for its creative cuisine with an unwavering Farm to Table attitude instilled in the entire menu by Executive Chef, Forrest Pasternack.
Many told me about the Cheddar and Ale Burger, and it was time I tried it for myself. The Burger is served with caramelized onions, cheddar & ale sauce on a brioche, with a side of shoestring potatoes.
Mediterraneo, a ‘destination restaurant’ in the Hotel Zero Degrees on Main Street in Norwalk is a beautiful backdrop for Executive Chef Albert DeAngelis’ culinary tour of the Mediterranean. The aquatic inspired dining room features a large bar area to the left, with several high top tables to augment the bar seating, and to the right is the main dining room. With hardwood floors, white chairs and a large nautical flag painting along the far right wall, the dining area presents a clean and airy feel. The highlight of the room is the floor to ceiling glass wall that overlooks the panoramic, million-dollar waterfall view on the river. From a magnificent French Braised beef “Bourguignon” to a mild Tuscan Prosciutto wrapped rabbit loin to an outstanding Wild black sea bass, the menu at Mediterraneo offers wide varieties of clean flavors and combinations. Mediterraneo is one of five local restaurants owned by the Z Hospitality Group.
In the dessert world, pie trumps all. It's all American, even if it isn't apple, and when done right, it's just plain delicious. Walrus + Carpenter in Bridgeport recently launched a new dessert menu that features...you guessed it, pie. In fact, the menu is ALL pie, 6 different tantalizing options including: Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie, Chess Pie, Key Lime and their signature "Walrus Pie," featuring a bacon-chocolate chip cookie crust, bacon crumble, bacon candy & peanut butter ice cream (Get in the car...there's still time).
In keeping with Walrus' attention to detail, this master of all things smoked meat have put a little extra love into each and every pie. The creative cookie based pie shells, the flakiness of the Apple Pie's cheddar crust, and the gently torched meringue are just a few noteworthy elements. Plus, Walrus + Carpenter is now open 7 days a week, so you can enjoy this 6 pie menu 24/7. View the full Pie Menu Photo Gallery below:
The New Haven outpost of Harvest Wine Bar is the fifth restaurant for siblings Kleber, Nube, and Vincente Siguenza, the the trio behind Cava in New Canaan, 55 Degrees in Fairfield, Scena in Darien, and sister restaurant Harvest Wine Bar in Greenwich. CTbites reviewed the Greenwich location almost a year ago, and many of the same culinary observations apply to this newly opened New Haven outpost on Chapel Street. I stopped in recently to experience the restaurant’s $19 two-course prix fixe lunch, perhaps one of the best downtown lunch options among New Haven’s fine dining restaurants.
Two years ago Harlan Social opened as a part of the Lockworks project in Stamford amidst questions on whether the area would support the restaurant or whether the restaurant investors and the developers were visionaries. Two years later Harlan Social’s success shines as a local hang-out, an after work meeting spot, and a destination restaurant.
Harlan Social was the brainchild of Owner & Executive Chef Steve Lewandowski, who was previously the Sous Chef at Manhattan’s Abby restaurant, Gotham Bar & Grill, and Fantino in the Ritz Carlton before joining Tribeca Grill and becoming its Executive Chef. Currently overseeing the kitchen is Executive Chef Michael Sobelman, whose resume includes Sardis and Tribeca Grill with Lewandowski. When Harlan Social opened Lewandowski immediately reached out to Sobelman to join him and oversee the kitchen.
Harlan Social recently introduced its new Fall menu and CTbites visited to sample some of the new additions.
Seven is Breno Donatti’s lucky number. His restaurant, “ Bistro 7” is located on Highway 7 in Wilton. “Seven is God's favorite number,” he told us, “And I also got the inspiration for Bistro 7 in the 7th district of Paris in a place called ‘Cafe Central.’”
Well, hopefully we won’t jinx anything by dubbing his re-programed farm–to-fork café in Wilton as “Bistro 7.1.”
With a new chef, sous chef, general manager, and a reimagined food and beverage menu, Donatti has updated his operating system, and from what we tasted at a recent Grand Reopening, the app is not just new, but vastly improved: less complicated and well-priced.
We began with a Roasted Root Veggie Bisque, blended with slow cooked carrots, butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potato, root spices, and garnished with a bacon chip. Breno claims it’s even better than his award winning Butternut Squash Bisque and we don’t disagree.
Washington Prime recently opened at the entrance to the SONO “Ironworks” on the corner of Washington and North Water Streets and is already garnering positive feedback and enormous crowds each night. CTbites offered a sneak peek a couple of weeks ago and recently re-visited this high energy and bustling establishment on two separate occasions to sample the food.
Self-described as an Eating + Drinking Well, Washington Prime reflects the collective vision of locals and co-owners Rob Moss and Marco Siguenza. Moss, a native of New Canaan, is no stranger to opening high energy restaurants in Fairfield County, overseeing many over the last ten years. Siguenza is the epitome of the American dream, starting as a busboy at Match Restaurant and now 16 years later one of the owners of Washington Prime, a neighboring restaurant. The kitchen is overseen by Executive Chef Jared Falco, classically trained at the French Culinary Institute. Before moving to Fairfield County, Chef Falco honed his culinary skills at Daniel and WD-50 in NYC. The trio are now working closely to present a vibrant bar scene with delicious interpretations of tradition cuisine.
The corner of North Water and Washington was alive in South Norwalk this week with the opening of Washington Prime. A soft opening on Thursday led to a throng of over 300 guests wandering in to enjoy the vibrant scene at the bar and the reservation book for Friday filled so quickly, it was shut earlier than expected. This latest addition to SONO is attracting enormous attention and a visit inside and a look at the menu shows why.
The interior includes an enormous “U” shaped bar to unwind and enjoy a beer or one of their specialty cocktails and the dining area that spans the entire length of the right side of the restaurant is heavily focused on woods and foliage. Floor to ceiling windows allow for natural light to illuminate the space, comprised of dark wood tables and “moss” encased booths. All very organic and relaxing.
The ownership of Washington Prime is no stranger to the area. One of its owners, Marco Siguenza, is cousins with the owners of Cava, Harvest, 55 Wine Bar and Scena and worked with them since he arrived in the United States in 1998. The kitchen is under the direction of Executive Chef Jared Falco, spent time in several of Fairfield County’s restaurants over the last two years from Bar Sugo, to The Whelk, and most recently Mama’s Boy Southern Table and Refuge. His opening menu shows a desire to place a modern twist on some classic dishes.