by Valerie Schroth
Dec 26, 2012
10:21 AMTable Hopping
The Spread: An Exciting Newcomer in Sono
T-O-N-G-U-E. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen tongue on a menu. Come to think of it, except at delis, I've never seen tongue on a menu, but there it was, under Table Plates, at The Spread. And that’s not the only unusual/unheard-of menu item at this exciting new hotspot in South Norwalk . . .
But wait, let’s rewind for a moment. Open since October, The Spread is the brainchild—and labor of love—of Barcelona Restaurant vets Chris Hickey, Christopher Rasile, Andrey Cortes and Shawn Longyear. The place is more bar than restaurant—it's all one big room and there are deejays later on—but that doesn’t mean food gets second billing here. Far from it. The partners signaled that at the outset, when they hired Chef Arik Bensimon, of Napa & Co. fame (he’s also done stints at NYC’s Le Cirque, Picholine and Cercle Rouge, and at La Panatière in Rye), and pretty much gave him free rein to create a menu based on his French-Moroccan heritage and other global influences.
So, back to the menu. Along with the tongue under Table Plates (really more like appetizers or small plates), are dishes as various as steak tartare with French fries; littleneck clams; a heavenly foie gras torchon with Armagnac-soaked prunes; and duck terrine. Bar food, it’s not. Elsewhere on the menu, you’ll find Octopus Tandoori, Roasted Skate and Griddled Pork Belly with French lentils—but there are also more familiar dishes like spaghetti carbonara and hanger steak, and cheese and charcuterie platters. (When they run out of something, it’s stamped on the menu with a big red “86’ed”.)
My husband and I sampled the Nantucket Bay Scallops with lentils and guanciale, Harrisa Mussels, Moroccan Carrots and the aforementioned foie gras. All were delicious. Next time for the tongue! (I think.)
A couple of caveats: I wish there were a corner or two where you could escape the glare of the two enormous flat-screen TV’s over the bar (if I wanted to watch TV, I’d stay home), the logo type looks an awful lot like Home Depot’s, and then there’s that name (The Spread?) . . .
But what’s in a name? This artful, original newcomer is a solid hit right out of the gate and has all the markings of a long-running favorite.
The Spread, 70 N. Main Street, South Norwalk. 203/939-1111, thespreadsono.com.The Spread: An Exciting Newcomer in Sono