If you say, “Beer and BBQ,” you have me hooked. Throw in some handcrafted cocktails and I’m a goner. Walrus + Carpenter is THAT place. Sure, take three things I love and lure me in. When I went to my new reason, one of my only reasons to now hang out in Fairfield, I was completely blown away.
The name “Walrus + Carpenter” comes from the Lewis Carroll poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” some of you may know it from “Alice in Wonderland.” The pop culture reference is cool and many of you already know about my nerdiness but the thing about Walrus + Carpenter that swept me off my feet was the wood-smoked BBQ and everything that surrounded my pile of meat.
|The liquor menu, complete with oysters and snacks, and craft beer 😉|
|Hand crafted cocktails are a must. This is the strong, delicious, El Antiguo; Tapatio Blanco, orange cream bitter, pineapple.|
|The Brooklyn Fizz: Greenhook Gin, Beach Plum Liqueur, citrus, egg white.|
|Braised pork belly. Trust me here, people.|
My meat extravaganza started with some civility and I actually used a fork and knife for the braised pork belly with roasted peaches, thin apple slices, pecans, and fennel salad. The pork belly was extremely tender and paired well with the sweetness from the apples and grilled peaches. Unfortunately I wanted more. Not because the appetizer isn’t enough, but because on my visit I treated my grandmother to dinner. Sharing is caring is complete B.S., even when it involves family. Love you, grandma 🙂
When the entrées came out, I knew the silverware may have been better off not on my table. I decided to go with the maple-bourbon baby back ribs with bourbon BBQ sauce, purple cabbage slaw, and pickles, and Southern fried chicken with a black pepper biscuit and honey-siracha sauce. I even added on two of Walrus + Carpenter’s side dishes; roasted carrots + anchovy aioli and smoked potato salad.
I ripped through this meal like it was my last meal on death row. Eating with your hands rocks and I’m not even embarrassed about it. I’m certain as I ripped off pieces of fried chicken and slathered both the chicken and ribs in the provided sauces, that I scared the hell out of nearby diners and my waitress who I found to be quite attractive, was probably mortified at my caveman like eating abilities. It is a superpower, people, you know it is.
My beast-like manners aside, that fried chicken was the best I’ve had in the area in quite a while. The crust stayed on and was properly seasoned, the chicken was cooked through, but juicy and that honey-siracha sauce was that perfect blend of sweet and spicy. I would be hard pressed not to order this on my second visit. The bourbon ribs were off the charts. I have been pleased with ribs from a few different places but Walrus + Carpenter’s were the smokiest ribs I’ve come across; the smoke is seemingly infused into the meat and I liked this sweeter rib more than I thought I would. I am curious to try their coffee rubbed version with vanilla whiskey sauce on a future visit.
The side dishes I mentioned were in a league by themselves. The roasted carrots were something different, partially charred with a bit of sweetness, and I wanted to mop up all the anchovy aioli and hey, I even got a purple carrot! My favorite side dish (sorry carrots, I still love you) was the smoked potato salad. The potatoes were well dressed with a hint of mustard and that smoky flavor. My only problem with them was the small portion. I wanted to eat more even after I was full!
After all that, I wanted to keep the meal going so I decided on the strawberry crisp for dessert. A friend of mine had it a week before and she raved about it so it seemed logical. And it was. The warm strawberries mixed with the crunchy granola topping paired well and was even better if you got the perfect spoonful of strawberries, granola, and the melting vanilla ice cream.
Now that I tried a bunch of stuff at Walrus + Carpenter, I still feel like I have unfinished business here. Pulled pork, wings, brisket, the other type of ribs and the burger. I read about those things on the menu and saw a few when the wait staff cruised past me with those same dishes. Next time my manners and civility will probably be the same, if not worse. Walrus + Carpenter could place the tray on the floor and I’d have no shame getting on all fours and crossing another line that separates man and beast.
Walrus + Carpenter
2895 Fairfield Avenue
Black Rock, CT 06605
Walrus + Carpenter on Facebook