The ever-growing "farm-to-table" movement in Fairfield County is more popular than ever. Many new restaurants in the region are sourcing locally-grown, organic ingredients for their menus, with chefs developing strong relationships with farmers while guaranteeing diners the freshest meals possible. For Robert Ubaldo, owner, chef, and creator of Farmer's Table in New Canaan, the relationship with his main supplier has already been cemented.
"My brother John owns a farm in Pound Ridge," Ubaldo said. "Almost all of the main ingredients for the entrees on today's menu come from him."
Ubaldo's dedication to fresh, all-natural food is evident in every corner of Farmer's Table, which can best be described as a restaurant and veritable indoor, year-round farmer's market. Located at 21 Forest St., at the former site of the Lindner Cycle Shop, it features fresh-baked breads, farm eggs, local produce, prepared soups and sauces, artisanal cheeses, organic meats, smoked fish and poultry for customers to either take home and cook, or have Ubaldo prep for them himself. This unique concept harkens back to a bygone era, when families would bring home dinner by venturing to the local butcher, bakery, and fruit and vegetable stand. Farmer's Table attempts to provide all of this under one roof.
The restaurant menu will change regularly, as Ubaldo will only use products that are available that day. In addition to the fresh eggs, chicken, pork, and grass-fed beef products that come from John Boy's Farm, Ubaldo's emporium also features organic produce grown by Ubaldo himself.
Menu highlights for opening weekend include a rich and flavorful Butternut Squash Soup ($4.95/cup, $6.95/bowl). The Grilled Shrimp Salad ($11.95) is served over a bed of mixed greens, grilled hearts of palm, tomatoes, and a fresh-squeezed lime dressing. Ubaldo's Grilled Organic Pork Chop ($13.95) comes with sautéed onions, market greens and hand-cut French fries. And John Boy's Roast Chicken ($11.95) is a dry rub-seasoned half-chicken, served with sautéed spinach, goat cheese, and pine nuts.
With no reservations, and seating for only 12 people at a time, securing a table at Farmer's Table might be a crapshoot. But turning away potential business does not concern the low-key Ubaldo, who is no stranger to what has become New Canaan's "Restaurant Row," having previously worn the chef toque at Tequila Mockingbird.
"There are so many great choices on Forest St.," he said. "At some point they'll be back."
On Saturday, Pound Ridge resident Joel Surnamer wandered in to Farmer's Table looking for a 2-inch cut of steak to take home for dinner.
Word of mouth seems to be spreading fast.