Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Kid on The Block: Brick + Wood in Fairfield, Connecticut

Downtown Fairfield is a charming strip of shops and eateries that all too often gets forgotten in the midst of Westport and South Norwalk's well publicized hot spots, but it also makes for a great evening out on the town. Much to my excitement, it seems more and more restaurateurs have realized that Fairfield is a great location for opening up shop.

I had the pleasure of checking out one of Fairfield's newest restaurants, Brick + Wood, and if you're a fan of great wine, upscale Italian comfort food, and wood fired pizzas, you're in luck. 

As the name implies, the restaurant is outfitted in a mix of rustic wood and exposed brick, with a large brick pizza oven. A cozy bar and a large, open dining room and pizza bar where you can watch the chefs in action make for a comfortably casual atmosphere that's nice enough for date night.

Brick + Wood offers something that sets them apart from other brick oven pizza spots: wines on tap. Yep. How cool is that? Several years ago, I experienced Chardonnay on tap at City Winery in NYC, and loved the novelty as well as the taste. Finally Fairfield County has caught on! We enjoyed wine flights served in mini stemless glasses on wooden boards - a nice touch. In addition to wines, there is a rotating selection of cocktails on tap (plus a regular cocktail menu). I tried the Fig Martini and Pomegranate Martini, and both were fruity, sweet, and went down smooth; I knew I'd be back for the bar even if the food turned out to be average. 

Of course, one cannot live on cocktails alone, and we migrated to the dining room, where an impressive array of appetizers began to fill the table. First, Loaded Baked Potato Crochette, which looked like fat mozzerella sticks but instead of cheese, were the insides of a loaded baked potato, deep fried. Yes, they were as good as they sound. Certainly a great choice for adults and kids alike. Next, Fritto Misto with calamari and shrimp, served with a smoky chipotle aioli that I would buy by the bottle if I could. Continuing the fried food extravaganza, we tried 4 Cheese Arancini with Vodka Sauce, which were standard.

In addition to their unique "wine on tap" feature, Brick + Wood offers another treat: fresh burrata, made in house. We tried two versions: their classic served with meat and vegetables and their truffle burrata with prosciutto and arugula. I personally do not love burrata, but the truffle-y creamy goodness was absolutely delicious. These two dishes were met with pleased murmurs from the whole table. We also sampled Girelli, thin layers of fresh mozzarella layered with eggplant, prosciutto, and roasted peppers. We enjoyed a mixed green salad, which was dressed in the owner's own signature balsamic dressing, which was noticeably superior to many others I've tried.

Of course, I was waiting with bated breath to try the cornerstone of Brick + Wood's cuisine: the wood fired pizzas! Three kinds arrived to the table, and I attacked them heartily. First, the Diavola with spicy soppressata, garlic, jalapenos, and oregano. It had a nice spicy kick but wasn't overwhelmingly spicy, and the crust (which can make or break a pie, whether the topping are good or not) was nice and chewy with the smoky charred spots that characterize a wood fire baked pizza. My favorite pie was a special that evening with shrimp, corn, and pancetta; a somewhat unusual combination, but completely delicious. The delicate shrimp paired with sweet tender corn and smoky, meaty pancetta is a magical trio of flavors. Lastly, I found room for a slice of classic Margherita pizza and sank into a happy food coma.

Brick + Wood is absolutely worth a visit, as is the town of Fairfield in general. Small shops, many restaurants, and a more relaxed vibe than in neighboring Westport make for a pleasant experience. Bring the family for a Main Street stroll, or wait until nightfall for a romantic evening out.

Brick + Wood is located at 1275 Post Rd #7, Fairfield, CT 06824
Follow them on Facebook & Instagram

Photos by Jason Varga

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