Never forget what’s in your own backyard. In Ridgefield, that’s Bailey’s Backyard, a cozy restaurant that’s been preparing farm to table for 20 years. Bailey’s is the kind of place where you can get a sandwich (pickled peach and ham grilled cheese, pressed Caprese, or a classic New England tuna melt) or contemporary, sophisticated starters and main. Max Ex, the restaurant marketing group, recently invited me to join a group of food enthusiasts, instagrammers, bloggers, and magazine editors for lunch at Bailey’s Backyard.
Farm Greens, with peas and favas, dressed in fermented grape vinaigrette, and topped with paper-thin, crisp apple rounds. I really liked the apple crisps, sweet, tart and appley.
Starter of scallops in rich lemon cream and caper sauce with shitakes, topped with a ruffled crisp of prosciutto. I loved the thinly sliced, yet meaty mushrooms, and the rich sauce, with just the right amount of lemon. Apparently there were sea beans in this dish too; executive chef Zachariah Campion was appropriately judicious.
Spanish octopus served over a brush stroke of squid ink, with pickled onions, chorizo marmalade, daikon, and salsa verde. This dish had a lot going on, and it all worked with the lightly charred, softly chewy octopus. This is a staff favorite. And mine too.
Trout served over fava and white beans, almonds and watercress, served with “charred” orange buerre blanc.
Tender rib eye, with rich, creamy potatoes, crisp onion rings, and, according to the menu though I didn’t notice, cauliflower rice. Blue cheese fondue, drizzled over the meat, added a sharp rich note. Deep purple-blue Borage flowers garnished the plate. It’s a terrific dish.
We also sampled brunch dishes.
Shakshuka was my favorite, eggs cooked in a spicy, cuminy tomato sauce, with toast to dip into the egg yolks, and scoop up the sauce.
To drink, I enjoyed a Radler Snake, Jack’s Abby Blood Orange Radler, spiked with tequila and mezcal, sweetened with agave, and spiked with chile. The Patio Punch—rye, lemon, Lillet, black current liqueur—is grounded by black tea. Bailey’s also has a good beer list.
I’m keeping Bailey’s Backyard on my list.