Make a Quick Trip to Ridgefield to Try This Irresistible Eatery

Bailey’s Backyard gives farm-to-table dining an impressive upgrade.



Photos by Sandro de Carvalho Photography

Farm-to-table has become ubiquitous in the dining world. When done right, patrons can taste the difference. When done at Ridgefield’s Bailey’s Backyard, where each dish gets a delicious twist, the results are phenomenal.

The restaurant, which opened in 1999, took up the farm-to-table mantle in 2013. “We’ve seen consumers become more adventurous with their palates, and they enjoy fresh, local, clean food,” says owner Sal Bagliavio, noting that farm-to-table is a movement, not a trend. Chef Zach Campion came on board a year ago, bringing what Bagliavio calls “refinement and innovation to the menu.”

Those qualities were on full display recently. An excellent restaurant doesn’t miss a beat in any of its dishes, and that’s what Campion brought to the table, from the peach-tomato gazpacho with almonds and feta, to the lamb chops served over buttermilk and roasted cauliflower purée. There was cornbread with an out-of-this-world molasses butter, scallops served with crisp prosciutto and lemon cream, and a perfectly cooked lobster tail. We loved the smoky flavor of the Spanish octopus, which Campion says “is typically always on a menu of mine.” And the meal ended with two knockout desserts — banana bread pudding with chocolate ice cream and strawberry shortcake with biscuits.

Complementing the food is the drink menu from mixologist/sommelier par excellence Kyle Martinez, who gets creative with drinks like lychee white sangria and a vegan pisco sour made with aquafaba (chickpea-soaking water used as a replacement for egg whites). What’s so unique about the cocktails at Bailey’s Backyard is that there’s no bar in the restaurant. Martinez makes his own infusions, syrups and purées, with the drinks are made in a small space in the kitchen.

Bagliavio says with Campion’s addition, “the menu has been ramped up and we’re changing it 10-12 times a year.” The changes reflect Campion’s desire to entice customers to have a different experience at Bailey’s Backyard each time they dine there. “I recently cut the menu in half in order to change it more often,” Campion says, who offers a special tasting menu on Wednesday nights as a way to try out new dishes and solicit customer feedback. “Our regular guests are not shy about telling us what works and what they like about certain dishes,” he says. After dining at Bailey’s Backyard I think most of the comments are going to be favorable ones.

 

Bailey’s Backyard
23 Bailey Ave
Ridgefield, CT
203.431.0796

 

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