New menu additions and a new executive chef still make The Spread the place to be.
|Chef Carlos Baez poses for a photo.|
I was at a press dinner at a place that will not be named. That particular event is not what I’m talking about here but the whispers I heard THERE have to be addressed.
So what was said?
Funny enough, what I heard was about one of my favorite restaurants in Fairfield County, The Spread.
You see, The Spread started out with some serious cred because of the four partners, Christopher Rasile, Shawn Longyear, Andrey Cortes, and Chris Hickey, and their combined years of experience behind the bar and in the industry. When they added hot shot Chef Arik Bensimon to the mix, The Spread was a force to be reckoned with.
Fast forward to a little before mid-year 2013, Bensimon left The Spread for Le Farm and all the bloggers and writers at the dinner I attended were saying some stuff, yo! Crazy talk like, “I won’t go back because their head chef left.”
|From 4:30-7, Monday- Saturday, Happy Hour! Just sayin!|
|An old classic!|
|Cornbread to kick off the meal is always a good thing 🙂|
|Veal and ricotta meatballs with Anson Mills polenta, tomato sauce and Fontina fondue|
|One of my new favorites: crispy pork belly with some sweetness from the maple syrup, spice from the chili flakes, and pickled rhubarb for some tart.|
For me, yeah, I thought they were nuts. Why? Well, the guy that stepped into the executive chef role is certainly no slouch, and my post-Arik meals were fantastic. The menu mainstays are still exactly like they were when the restaurant opened and the new additions were ambitious and delicious.
Meet Chef Carlos Baez.
Baez has been at the Spread since the beginning and worked under Bensimon there and at Napa & Co. in Stamford, a partnership that lasted five years. With nearly 20 years of apprenticeships, Baez worked in restaurants in this area and in Westchester but his cooking roots go back to his home country of Mexico where his mom always cooked and his dad operated a taqueria where the Baez would work after school. And before coming to the U.S., he even worked at a sushi restaurant…in Mexico City.
|Thin, tender beef tongue with arugula, homemade truffle aioli, crispy bread. This is a must try!|
|The Spread loves to stick to seasonal ingredients. This is a refreshing endive salad with green apple, feta, and aged white balsamic.|
|Scallop crudo with cucumber and jalapeno juice|
|A perfect marriage: Grilled octopus, chorizo and crispy fingerling potatoes.|
|Chef Carlos’ braised lamb breast creation with salsa verde and French lentils with ham hock. Can you say “tender?!”|
His journey and hard work paid off as he now has his first executive chef title at The Spread where the owners fully support him in his decisions. One of the partners, Chris Hickey, complimented Baez on his creativity, skill, ambition, and his desire to work hard. What is important is that Chef Baez has the trust of the owners when it comes to adding new items to the menu. Baez said he occasionally will think up a dish driving home from work, try it out, and see if it works, much like the crispy lobster rolls; in simpler terms, the best lobster roll you’ve ever had, in egg roll form. Some of his other ideas even come from when he’s cooking for himself, and if it’s good and he thinks the dish will sell, chances are it will make the menu.
|Ending the meal right with apple fritter bites and vanilla gelato with caramel sauce. Dipping is encouraged.|
|An awesome coffee setup.|
I could rave and give you another review. I could tell you that the lamb breast is so tender that it barely needs much effort from a knife, or a knife at all for that matter. I could bring up an old customer favorite like the beef tongue and tell you that it is just as good as when The Spread first started serving it. What YOU should do is experience it for yourself, for the first time or again. The Spread is still killing it on the restaurant scene.
70 North Main Street
South Norwalk, CT 06854
Check out my two previous posts on The Spread: