Oak + Almond Opens with Chef Jeff Taibe – Norwalk, CT

16 Apr
Oak and Almond Logo Norwalk

The cutest logo in existence EVER!

If you’ve gone into Tuscan Oven Trattoria of Norwalk any time in the past few weeks you probably noticed a big change…namely that it’s not Tuscan Oven anymore.  The restaurant has been reworked and retooled and sitting at the helm is Chef Jeff Taibe, brother of Bill Taibe from LeFarm and The Whelk.  First, let’s start with the name:  Oak + Almond.  Oak and almond wood are used in their wood burning stove.   As many of your BBQ enthusiasts know, using different kinds of wood gives off and imparts different flavors to whatever you’re cooking.  While the oak does have a strong smoke, it doesn’t end up taking over dishes, and the almond wood gives the meat a sweet nutty flavor.

As for the food, you can expect a great portion to be cooked in that beautiful oven, leading Chef Taibe to more traditional ways of cooking.  Along with the oven, you can expect a down to earth kind of vibe and approach to the food, too.  Food will be made from scratch, they’ll be using fresh, organic, and seasonal ingredients, and they’ll be serving it up on a simple menu.

 

Speaking of the food options, they will be open for lunch and dinner.  For dinner, you can “Share” with smaller plates, have a salad, have a main dish, and complete your meal with some choice sides.  Some of the smaller options that really caught our eye are the warm olives with preserved lemon, the local oysters, the warmed Champlain Valley cheese with red bee honeycomb, slivered almonds on a crostini, the pork & ricotta meatballs, and the roasted mussels with black garlic confit, pernod, and winter herbs.  Among the entrees, we can’t wait to dig into the wood grilled heritage pork with heirloom beans and Brussels sprouts, the short rib ravioli with spinach and horseradish, the braised lamb shank with creamy polenta, black truffles, and heirloom carrots.  Sides include Holbrook Farms braising greens with garlic confit, roasted heirloom carrots with dates, creamy flint corn polenta with truffled cheese gratin, and hand cut crispy fries with d’ espolette aioli.  Of special note is that there are plenty of options for vegetarians, too, like the vegetable tagine, the garlic and herb flatbread, and the chittara cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) to just name a few.

And, while you can still order many of the same dishes for lunch, there is a bigger focus on salads and “On Bread” items.  They’ll always have the Kitchen Sink salad, which is an ever changing chopped salad, or a refreshing Holbrook Farm Greens with Meyer Lemon and avocado.  Or, if you want something a bit heartier, you could have their sandwiches including a killer Heritage pork on a brioche roll with a farm egg, manchego, sirracha aioli, and salad.

Add the new food, new style, and new approach of Chef Taibe to a massive and beautiful outdoor patio and you’ve got a great new hangout.  We wish lots of luck to Jeff and co at Oak + Almond.  We have a feeling Kristien and her work friends will be eating there a helluva lot.

Oak + Almond

544 Main Avenue

Norwalk, CT

(203) 846-4600

Monday-Saturday, 11:30 am to 10 pm

Sunday, 11:30 am to 9 pm

Oak + Almond on Urbanspoon

10 Responses to “Oak + Almond Opens with Chef Jeff Taibe – Norwalk, CT”

  1. Julia May 13, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    The place looks great inside… it’s huge and has lots of potential if they could manage it better. It took us 25 minutes for someone to get our drink order. And by the time we got our dinner 1.5 hours had passed. Our waitress was very nice, but it seemed like she was doing everything while a bunch of other guys in uniform just stood around. Later we noticed a bunch of workers standing around the bar. The food was ok, but the plates were put together in a pretty sloppy presentation. I think we will wait a few months to go back (hopefully with some time they will have figured out how to run it better). I’m hoping with some feedback they can put the same attention on the staff and food as they put into the decor.

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    • rachael May 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      i agree,,,they paid too much attention to my cappicino them my lousy meal

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      • Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro May 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

        That’s really too bad. What was bad about it? Just wondering…it’s always good to get people’s thoughts before we check out a restaurant.

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  2. profkf April 26, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    My wife and I tried Oak+Almond last night
    The good: great decor, great atmosphere, really nice folks (and the still have Benny behind the bar a great “carryover”). The portions were large. The flavors on the garlic&herb flatbread were excellent.
    The just ok: the mussles were bland, not bad but not the rich flavor pop I was expecting the kind where I usually end up using bread and/or finishing the sauce like a soup.
    I was also very excited to try the short rib ravioli with the mushrooms, horseradish root and ramps while it was less bland than the mussels, it still was missing the memorable explosion of flavor that would have me posting about it on Facebook and twitter as a “must”
    The bad: the bottle wine prices are way out of line. I accept a 100% markup as the price of business but we had a bottle of Nero D’Avola that was on the menu for $30 and can easily be found locally for between $10 and $12 that is way out of line (as a comparison a much better bottle of the same wine that retails for $20-24 can be found at another local restaurant for $34) Some of the other wines were also in the 150-200% range from Retail. They need to be careful about that
    In summary:
    We will try it again as the atmosphere and service will bring us back but if the flavors are not bolder and if the wine prices continue to be excessive we will eventually stop going

    Like

    • Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro April 26, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      Hey, thanks so much for offering up notes on your meal! That mean a lot that you’d share your thoughts and experience with us and readers. We were really hoping those ravioli would be amazing, too. Man. But, maybe they just need to work on the ingredients inside and just fix ‘um up a bit. As for the wine, ugg. We know what you mean. We expect a decent mark up when you go to a restaurant too, but anything that’s excessive makes us think we’re trying to be taken advantage of. We felt the same way about Tappo in Stamford. Their wine prices were out of proportion to the cost of the food they had.

      Like

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