Tag Archives: takeout

Farm-to-table dining, unexpected atmosphere – Farmer’s Table, New Canaan

14 Nov

When you walk into Farmer’s Table on 21 Forest Street in New Canaan, it doesn’t look like much… and I kinda like it that way. An open kitchen, butcher block style tables with flickering candles, and even a refrigerated case makes you wonder:  is it a market? A cafe? A fine-dining establishment? Well, the answer is sort of all of the above.  And, being a design minimalist, I can appreciate that ambiguity.

Upon arriving we were immediately greeted by co-owner Lucia. And what a gracious host she was. Warm and incredibly friendly, Lucia introduced us to her partner, Robert Ublaldo, former chef at Tequila Mockingbird, and told us all about their restaurant, and more importantly, the story of their ingredients. Man, I love it when food comes with a story, don’t you?

As farm-to-table obviously implies, much of the ingredients are hand-delivered fresh that week, even that day.  Most of the vegetables come from Robert’s very own farm in Pound Ridge and many of the meats (notably, the Berkshire pigs) come from his brother, John Ublaldo’s farm, John Boy’s Farm, in Cambridge, NY. And, of course, because they aim to source as many of their ingredients as possible from area farms, their menu has been known to change on a whim. So what you see here today, may not be there tomorrow. Ooo, I love surprises!

The menu is small, with no specific type of food dominating. Despite the limited selection, Danny and I had a very hard time choosing between the pork tacos, chicken quesadillas, angus burger, and duck, which all had a very unique twist or two to them. Ultimately, I landed on the angus burger and Danny, the pork tacos (after a VERY strong recommendation from Amy, our super-friendly waitress).

Before we dove into the main course however, we were given a sample of their “famous” butternut squash soup. We both thoroughly enjoyed the soup’s warm undertones of brown sugar and honey with a punch of spiciness from the nutmeg. Next up was some soft and gooey freshly-baked bread made by Robert himself just minutes before.  And lastly, before the feature presentation, a deliciously fresh mixed greens salad topped with beets, tomatoes, walnuts, and my favorite food in the whole world, goat cheese. Not too much of any thing, nor to little, it was the perfect salad. Now, onto the main course. My angus burger was very fresh, perfectly cooked, and topped with incredibly smooth and sharp Vermont Cheddar cheese, between what seemed to be freshly-baked buns.  My only disappointment was that I think the burger could have been more seasoned… actually, it didn’t seem seasoned at all which made what could’ve been the perfect burger, quite bland.

But fret not, because any disappointment the burger brought was completely canceled by trying Danny’s pork tacos. The soft tacos featured fantastically seasoned braised Berkshire pork that melted in my mouth, plump and juicy red and yellow tomatoes, perfectly ripened avocados, lettuce, a twist of lime, and a chipotle sauce on the side that delivered the perfect kick of spice. FANTASTIC! To end the meal, we shared a piece of homemade pumpkin pie that could’ve used a few more spices, but was very creamy and smooth, topped with fresh-made whipped cream, served with just ground and brewed coffee.

The combination of almost perfect food, attentive, kind, and welcoming service, much lower than expected prices, and a quaint atmosphere add up to a total score of 3.75 noms. Juuuuust shy of a 4, but with definite potential to be a 4 or higher as they grow and change their menu.

Note: If you’re dining-in, don’t forget to BYOB, there’s a $10 corking fee. We enjoyed a nice bottle of Foxglove 2007 Zinfandel from Paso Robles. The fruitiness from the dark berries, the kick of herbs, and peppery finish made it the perfect complement to our entire meal.

Noms:  3.75

Cost:  $$

Farmer’s Table
Address:  21 Forest Street
New Canaan, CT 06840-4702
Phone:  (203) 594-7890

Farmer's Table on Urbanspoon

Shalom in your belly – Tabouli Grill, Stamford

14 Nov

New location in Southport is now open!

Kristien and I were fans of Margot Cafe in the Bull’s Head shopping center on High Ridge for quite a while.  We hoped something good would come up in its place last year…and it did.  It’s better than good, though.  Tabouli Grill proves to keep the same kind of quaint and charming atmosphere, but offers new fare.  Although I’ve had hummus and falafel, I can’t say that I’ve eaten at an Israeli restaurant.  Well, after going for a run this past Friday, we didn’t feel like going anywhere, so we let Tabouli Grill come to us.

When you go to Tabouli Grill, there are some key dishes that are made very well:  the falafel, the hummus, the megadarra, and the israeli salad.  This, no matter what, should be included in your meal, even if you have to eat for 10 hours to finish everything.  The falafel comes to you nice and warm, crispy on the outside, but oh so good and moist on the inside.  The megadarra is a combo of spiced rice, lentils, and the most delicate caramelized onions that taste like candy.  Finishing off, the Israeli salad has tomato, red cabbage, cucumbers, parsley, olive oil, and lemon in it, coming together to make you cry out oy vey.

I usually stick with the chicken schntizel platter (juicy breaded chicken cutlet with lemon) but I wanted to branch out and try new things.  I got the beef kabob platter with sides of megadarra and Israeli salad.  Unless you feel brave, I’d save their french fries for eating at the restaurant–they get soggy by the time you get the food delivered.  To start, the beef kabobs had nice chunks of meat that were nicely seasoned, finished off with a strong dose of clove at the end.  That touch at the end might have been a bit too strong for some, but it didn’t ruin the dish.  The peppers and onions were grilled to perfection and added great flavor to the entire dish.  The beef was a bit well for my taste, but was still tasty nonetheless.  Kristien had the chicken shawarma, which isn’t even on the menu (they always have either lamb or chicken shawarma so just ask for it).  Being a big fan of the delicious combination of tahini, hummus, lemon, garlic and a plethora of spices, Kristien thoroughly enjoyed her dish with no complaints.

We finished off our meal two hours later with the baklava.  You know that you’ve had some bad baklava when the phyllo dough crushes into your teeth and stays there for the next month, tormenting you.  But not this sweet, delicately layered dessert with a beautiful honey-sweet sauce dripping through, and had just the right amount of filling and walnuts.  This has to be added to the list of must haves because we proclaim this the best baklava that we’ve ever had.  Oh, it’s been certified by a Rabbi near where I teach.  It’s legit.

We’ll end this review with a statement that is likely to get us some hate comments: Based on the moist, delicious falafel, nicely cooked and spiced meats, amazing megadarra and the best baklava ever, Tabouli Grill, at a total of 3.5 noms, is hands-down better than Laylas Falafel.

B’taya Von!

Note:  delivery fee of $2 with a minimum order of $15.

Wine suggestions: To round out the spices, try a dry rosé, soft red like a grenache, or medium bodied white like an avellino.  We mistakenly had a slightly sweet, but spicy rosé and the sweetness didn’t work well with the lemon and caramelized onions.

Noms:  3.5

Cost:  $$

Tabouli Grill
Address:  59 High Ridge Road (Bull’s Head)
Stamford, CT 06905
Phone:  (203) 504-8888
Site:  http://tabouligrill.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tabouli-Grill/182978816688#%21/pages/Tabouli-Grill/182978816688

Tabouli Grill on Urbanspoon

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