Updated 1:40 pm, Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The Farmer's Table chef and owner Robert Ubaldo and his fiancee Lucia, opened the doors to their dream restaurant and organic grocer last fall, and the duo continues to offer delicious soups, salads, entrees and desserts in their comfortable fourteen seat restaurant on Forest Street in New Canaan.
After many years in the kitchens of Tequila Mockingbird in New Canaan and Southwest Cafe in Ridgefield, Chef Robert oversees his personally built kitchen to showcase locally raised ingredients and his love of southwestern cuisine. The atmosphere is very relaxing; the conversations with dining companions are easy to hear and the ambience offers a different feel from the loud, hustle and bustle of many other New Canaan restaurants.
More InformationFact box
The ingredients at Farmer's Table are sourced from numerous local purveyors including John Ubaldo, the chef's brother and owner of the highly regarded John Boy's Farm in Cambridge NY. Many of the vegetables that are featured in the preparation are grown in the chef's organic garden at his home in neighboring Pound Ridge. In addition, all of the delectable breads are baked by Chef Robert and on several occasions I watched as he divided the dough into several loafs prior to baking.
The menu normally contains two soups that rotate among several choices, three salads, and a handful of entrees, plus each evening three to four special dinner entrees are added. To one side of the dining area, customers can purchase meats, vegetables and take-away containers of soups and other assorted prepared delicacies.
Over the past few weeks I have sampled each of the four current soup choices. Chef Robert's Mushroom Soup and his Seafood Chowder were outstanding and are my personal favorites. The Mushroom Soup transformed Cremini mushrooms, fresh vegetables, chicken stock, herbs and spices into a luscious and earthy soup. To attain the rich creamy texture, the chef pureed vegetables and added this mixture to the sliced mushrooms. It was one of the most delicious Mushroom Soups that I have tasted. The Seafood Chowder included clams, shrimp, scallops and vegetables all contained within a delightful and creamy bisque base. The large pieces of fish were perfectly prepared and a bowl of this selection paired with the house made bread would be a great lunch.
The other two soup choices included a Butternut Squash plus a Black Bean and Chorizo. Chef Robert enhanced the earthiness of the squash with brown sugar, honey, and assorted spices including a touch of pumpkin spice. At times the added spices tended to detract from the squash natural, rich flavor. Chef Robert's Black Bean soup combined smoked Chorizo with black beans and assorted vegetables to create this southwestern classic. The soup has been a bit inconsistent in the level of spiciness and smokiness from the Chorizo. It was fantastic on certain occasions, while on others the smokiness and spice overwhelmed the other ingredients.
In addition to a traditional mixed green salad, two delicious alternatives were offered; a Beet with Goat Cheese Salad and a Quinoa and Lentil Salad. I enjoyed the earthiness of the beets combined with the goat cheese and the lightly dressed salad. I was also fond of the quinoa with the addition of avocado, chopped tomatoes, all sitting atop mixed greens and finished with a balsamic vinaigrette. Both of these salads were great alternatives to a traditional mixed green salad and combined wonderful, clean flavors in the presentation.
Two entrees that I highly recommend are the Farmer's Table Cheeseburger and the Pork Taco.
The cheeseburger is one of the top choices available in Fairfield County. The patties were hand-made on the premises using meat from John Boy's Farm. The cheeseburger included two pieces of cheddar cheese plus a few thin slices of cornichon. The flavor of the meat was deep, rich and perfectly cooked to my requested medium-rare and I really enjoyed the tart flavor of the cornichon. Accompanying the hamburger were Farmer's Table French fries, which were hand cut and perfectly fried to achieve a moist interior and crispy exterior and then perfectly salted. The Pork Taco included two large tortillas filled with a mildly spicy pork, lettuce and tomato and then grilled for a slightly crispy exterior. I thought the spice level was perfect for my palate and the tomatoes and lettuce added a nice fresh addition.
Another offering I enjoyed was the Chicken Quesadilla, which combined organic chicken with a touch of mango, a little pesto plus a touch of Casa Fresca cheese. I enjoyed the addition of the mango that created a sweet complement to the Casa Fresca cheese. The quesadilla was perfectly pan sauteed and served with a side of guacamole plus a small salad topped with a mild lime dressing.
At dinner, Farmer's Table offers daily specials to supplement the regular menu.
On my recent visits, I thought the CT Lamb Chops, sourced from Peter Sepes Farm in Sandy Hook, CT were the best choice. The dish included three marinated bone-in chops that were first grilled and subsequently finished in the oven. They were delivered perfectly cooked (mine to medium rare) and sat atop a nicely prepared wild rice salad, with a side of grilled asparagus. The lamb was a mild in flavor and both the lamb and the asparagus were nicely complemented by the addition of Chimichurri sauce.
Another option, The Skirt Steak could have benefitted from a few hours in a marinade to lessen the natural toughness in this cut of meat. The meat was sourced from John Boy's Farm and served with a traditional Chimichurri sauce, French fries and grilled asparagus. The steak was perfectly prepared to my requested medium-rare and the size was ample for any appetite. Prior to placing the steak on the grill, Chef Robert brushed the meat with a combination of lime juice, soy sauce, Worchester sauce, and vinegar. I loved the flavor of the steak but found it to be a little tougher than others I have enjoyed.
I strongly suggest that you leave room for the Farmer's Table's desserts; three fantastic versions of old-time favorites. The flourless chocolate cake was absolutely superb. The texture was slightly less dense then many other flourless versions and the chocolate flavor was perfect. The New York style cheesecake was luscious with a whipped, mousse-like texture and a mild lemon background. The third choice was Key Lime pie. I enjoyed the tartness of the key lime filling that complemented the graham cracker crust. A small dollop of whipped cream and berry coulis accompanied all of the desserts. All three desserts were fantastic but thought the cheesecake and chocolate cake were memorable.
Farmer's Table's is now firmly established in the New Canaan restaurant scene. With the limited seating it is always advisable to call for a reservation. All of Chef Robert's offerings were delicious and I have enjoyed watching the restaurant mature and improve since it opened last year.
Farmer's Table is located at 21 Forest St., New Canaan. Call 203-594-7890.