Back to Bailey’s Backyard

It’s a summer menu sequel!
Last summer, along with a group of bloggers (they’re all friends at this point), I was invited to Bailey’s Backyard for a seasonal menu tasting. Since then I’ve been back many times for either a quick drink, a burger(really great, btw), or for dinner, and I have NEVER been let down.
When the summer of 2015 was in full swing, the same bunch of us opened an email from Bailey’s owner, Sal Bagliavio to inform us that Executive Chef Forest Pasternack was set to put on another summer menu smorgasbord and pass it up I would not! 
It’s never bad to see a chalkboard with a list of local farms where a restaurant gets their ingredients from 🙂
What I liked about Bailey’s Backyard then, I still like now; the use of ingredients from local farms, seasonal menus, Chef Forest’s creative approach to New American cuisine, a cocktail menu featuring infused spirits, and it draws a crowd (always a good sign).
I’m not here to reiterate my past two posts on Bailey’s, but rather to boast about their summer menu and to let you all know what the deal is 😉
For the Table + Greens
This may be the first time in Food Dudes history where I’ll start by raving about a salad. Yeah, stranger things have been known to happen, I suppose. But for real, for real, the Shaved Holbrook Farms Cucumber & Red Endive Salad surprised me with its mash-up of flavor profiles; the endive was bitter, the cucumber “slaw” was mellow and calmed that bitterness, there are garlicky elements in the croutons, a bit of tart from the lemony dressing, and the sweet juiciness of the champagne melon. It’s almost a shame this salad is seasonal and not year-round. 

Alongside the salad was another veggie dish! Two veggie dishes? We’re breaking our own records here at Food Dudes 😛 That dish was the Zucchini & Corn Fritters with deep fried squash blossoms. We received a similar veggie plate last year and this one stacked up to its predecessor. Forest’s tempura batter is extremely light and crispy, and c’mon, who doesn’t love deep fried vegetables?!
Starters + Mains
The starters started with a freaking bang. Maine Lobster Roll…topped with Foie Gras. This was a tiny sandwich to be excited about and rightfully so. The lobster meat was tender in this mayo-based version, and the foie was thinly sliced and added a little rich fattiness. I was delighted to see (for the first time ever) a pat of fried mayo on the plate that I tried both with a fork and by swirling the sandwich in. Fried mayo needs to be a thing. 
The next course was a spicy one, and a welcomed one, in the form of a Chile Relleno; a crunchy, battered and deep fried poblano stuffed with chipotle goat cheese, topped with a sweet tart wild lingonberry jam to calm down the heat. 
I may not be a “scallop guy” but you still needed to see it. Plating is always on point here.

My favorite of the mains (because the ONE thing I can’t eat are scallops) was the Sugar Hill Berkshire Pork Loin; a tender piece of pork, cooked medium, served with an array of fresh vegetables in true Bailey’s Backyard fashion. I plan on ordering this rustic pork dish on a return visit this summer. 
I like dessert, but it’s not a highlight everywhere. At BB, it is. We were first served a dessert duo of a slightly savory, slightly sweet, but very creamy goat cheese cheesecake on top of carrot cake with candied kumquats and on the other side, Chef Forest’s play on those Hostess pies, a fried rhubarb and strawberry version that was definitely sweet but way more elevated than the convenience store version, of course. 
Caught the smoke in the photo! Boom shakalaka!
Our final dessert was something I begged for that night and have had on a previous visit, a play on s’mores. I couldn’t tell you exactly how Chef Forest makes this magical dessert, I just know I love it. This gooey, dense batter-like piece of chocolate is topped with graham cracker dust and is plated up alongside toasted marshmallow, but first they bring out some smoke, trapped under a glass and release it to ignite your senses. It’s a spectacle, and people will see it, and most likely mimic your order once they do, and they’ll be glad they did. To me, this is not only delicious, but it’s so damn cool! How much do I love it? I ate most of the one on my side of the table and whatever was left on the other side of the table, well, I ate the rest of that one too. 
The B’s Knees sittin pretty.
I mentioned before that Bailey’s Backyard has a pretty solid cocktail menu. Infused liquors and homemade syrups can usually win me over. My favorite sips of the night came from three cocktails. One is dubbed “Our Escape” (house infused coconut rum, coconut foam, pineapple, dark rum float) and it’s not pictured because I guzzled it. It reminded me of a boozy version of the coconut ice cream my grandmother used to make when I was a kid. Nostalgia = Guzzle Factor. 
Dark. Dangerous. Delicious.

Caught my homie FC Foodie in the act! Kidding. She posed for this one.
Another goodie is The B’s Knees (Glenbrook Plum Gin, blackberry/lavender syrup, lime juice, fresh berries), a sweet, light drink that’s perfect for our East Coast summers. For something on the stronger side go with the Black Beauty Manhattan (Woodford Reserve, ruby port, orange bitters, black cherry). Sip this one or else you’ll stumble when you get up. I like a good, strong whiskey drink, if you think along those lines too you won’t be disappointed.

Final Thoughts
Bailey’s Backyard still rocks, son.
Bailey’s Backyard
23 Bailey Avenue
Ridgefield, CT 06877
(203) 431-0796
Instagram: @baileysbackyard

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