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
Monday-Saturday, 11:30 am to 10 pm
Sunday, 11:30 am to 9 pm