Burger Bests: Bailey's Backyard's Cheddar & Ale, One Excellent Burger

Jeff "jfood" Schlesinger

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.

The burger arrived and when I cut it in half it was perfectly prepared to my requested medium rare. I tasted the meat and I knew this was going to be a great burger. It was a deep and rich grass-fed beef, but there was a subtle aftertaste, this was one of the best meats I have ever tasted. The menu credits the beef from Sugar Hill Farm in Pine Plains, NY. This is a name to remember. The patty was a little compressed, but maintained its grind and most of its juiciness. The cheddar and ale sauce was like none I have ever tasted. It was fabulous, with an incredible array of flavors. One stood out and when I asked Chef Pasternack about that elusive taste he smiled and told me “Za’atar.” I do not know of any other burger in my ventures that included za’atar, it brought a tremendous variation of back-notes. The caramelized onions were delicious, soft and sweet and a fantastic complement to the complexity of the sauce. The brioche, from Good Bread Bakery in Port Chester was a great choice, with just a touch of buttery goodness.

The hand-cut shoestring fries were delicious, crispy on the exterior and soft on the interior and the kitchen finished them with just a bit of salt.

As I was about to pay, Chef Pasternack surprised me with a sneak peek of a dessert that will soon make its appearance on the menu. This newest creation begins with carrot purée with several slices of candied kumquats. Sitting atop the purée is a carrot cake cookie, a cylinder of cheese cake with the top bruléed with a touch of kumquat sugar. It was fantastic. The combinations of flavors and textures from the purée through to the crisped brulée topping was outstanding. When it debuts on the menu this will sure to be a must order.

I am pretty confident that Chef Paternack’s Cheddar and Ale Burger will be the newest addition to my 2015 Best of… list. We will all need to wait to see where on the list Bailey’s Backyards lands.