Bailey’s Backyard offers a unique Farm to Table dining experience, refined food in a casual, warm setting.
Recently, I was invited to sample the Market Tastings Menu at Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield, CT, a picturesque 300-year old community. Tucked away on a side street in downtown Ridgefield, Bailey’s Backyard is a hidden gem.
Re-launched as a “True American Farm To Table” restaurant earlier this year, Bailey’s Backyard expanded its original mission to not only offer refined, New American cuisine in a polished, relaxed atmosphere, but to also serve a tantalizing menu based on the freshest and finest local food sources.
Together, owner, Sal Bagliavio, and Executive Chef Forrest Pasternack, embraced their passion for fresh, seasonal, local ingredients, prepared in a manner that is honest, vibrant ad uncomplicated. Bailey’s fresh meats, and produce come from local farms that are committed to sustainable and green practices, and their fresh seafood comes from waters off Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and the Chesapeake Bay.
Executive Chef, Forrest Pasternack, who graduated with high honors from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, has worked with many of the best modern chefs at some of New York’s finest restaurants. When you first meet Forrest, he might seem kind of shy, but start asking him about where he gets his fresh local produce, and his eyes light up. You can hear the excitement and passion in his voice, and feel the deep rooted passion he feels about all the amazing local foods he is able to source. Forrest is thinking about growing herbs in a roof top garden next year so he can use fresh herbs as soon as they’re picked.
Owner, Sal Bagliavio, who was the primary chef at Bailey’s Backyard from the day he opened the restaurant in 1999 until he hired Forrest to help him transform the restaurant to a true farm-to-table restaurant, is just as low-key a guy. However, don’t be fooled. The food at Bailey’s Backyard is no ordinary cuisine. Bailey’s Backyard seeks to elevate the freshest possible ingredients by marrying classical and modern cooking techniques, including modern molecular gastronomy.
Each dish we were presented with was not only plated beautifully, but decadently delicious. It was evident the amount of care and attention that went into preparing each and every component and layer. As each course came out, Forrest appeared by our table side to share the intimate details of each dish – highlighting the local produce used (including Spanish black radishes and heirloom varieties such as Gilfeather Turnip which tastes similar to rutabaga), and pointing out little details of each dish (the beautiful hibiscus petals in the Roasted “Ida Red” Apple Salad), leaving no doubt that every single ingredient in each dish was selected for a very precise reason.
Here are highlights from the evening:
Butternut Squash Soup (Veronica’s Garden, Ridgefield)/Toasted Pumpkin Seeds/Local Honey/Creme Fraiche
Slow Roasted Berkshire Pork Belly/Baby Pink Shrimp/Artisanal Grits/Roasted Baby Bell Peppers (Veronica’s Garden, Ridgefield)
Roasted ‘Ida Red’ Apple Salad (Averill Farms, Washington Depot, CT)/Cinnamon Carrots/Belgian Endive/Black Currants/Fresh Dill/Buttermilk Dressing
Citrus Marinated Swordfish/Sauteed Romano Beans/Rosemary & Finnish Potato Puree (Marble Valley Farms, Kent, CT)/Saffron Mousseline
A special surprise from the Chef ~ Herbed Ricotta Gnocchi with White Truffle Powder on top, one of the best small bites I have ever eaten.
Balsamic Glazed Boneless Short Ribs/Spanish Black Radish/Gilfeather Turnip Puree (Coch Farms, VT)/Chick Peas/Smoked Paprika
Nutella Mousse/Whipped Cream (Arethusa Farms, Litchfield, CT)/Chocolate Crumble
Pumpkin Cloud 9/Brioche “Pain Perdu”/Whipped Pumpkin Custard (Jansal Valley Farms, Westport, MA)
Check out their Sample Brunch Menu:
and their Sample Dinner Menu:
If you’re ever in Ridgefield, be sure to stop by:
Twenty-Three Bailey Avenue
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Note: I asked about food allergies such as gluten, and was told that since everything at Bailey’s Backyard is made fresh, they are able to accommodate food allergies.