Mill Street Bar & Table Exemplifies Seasonal American Dining
Mill Street Bar & Table celebrates seasonal American fine dining and warm hospitality in an elegantly appointed tavern-like setting in Greenwich, Connecticut. Under the leadership of Chef Geoff Lazlo, the restaurant’s sophisticated yet rustic dishes embrace the bounty of our local land, farm, and sea. Peak of season ingredients are sourced from a community of farms, fisheries and purveyors, most notably its own organic farm, Back 40 Farm in Washington, Connecticut.
Mill Street Bar & Table is located in a historic building in the center of Byram, a square-mile Greenwich, Connecticut hamlet bordered by the Long Island Sound and the Byram River. Its location is critical to the community experience that partners Geoff Lazlo and Bill King aspire to build. “I’m happy to be in this neighborhood because I hope to bring the positive influence of fresh food to the community we live and work in,” says Lazlo.
Executive Chef and Managing Partner Geoff Lazlo has crafted a menu filled with his favorite and familiar dishes anchored by the land of Back 40 Farm and Mill Street’s home along the water. Food memories are important to Lazlo, who strives to both embrace as well as challenge diners’ notion of what comfort food can be. “I want to challenge your palate without your knowing you are being challenged,” explains Lazlo. That intent and passion for the food, and awareness of what it invokes in others, shows in the breadth of offerings, and the way each meal feels like a studied comfort.
Small plates range from snacks of blistered shishito peppers and crackling duck ‘ribs,’ to raw bar offerings including grilled oysters, fried clams and clams on the half shell. Oysters are central to the Mill Street menu for both their natural perfection and expression of terroir. “They are one of nature’s perfect foods — hermetically sealed with an ideal balance of protein and fat”, explains Lazlo.
Salads and thin crust flatbreads echo the seasons and reinforce the kitchen’s connection to its farm. A whole head of roasted cauliflower served with pine nut butter preserve reveals a depth of flavor only a lengthy brine could manifest. The thin crust flatbreads are Lazlo’s version of a Greenwich-style pizza – crispy and thin, marrying inventive flavor combinations from both land and sea such as a fried oyster, kimchi puree and cabbage.
Handmade pastas and main dishes are at the heartier end of the Mill Street menu. These dishes range from homespun crowd pleasers, such as a slow-cooked bolognese, to a head-turning Caramelle pasta, filled with roasted beets and Bayley Hazen blue cheese (top photo). Whole roasted, pasture-raised chicken, roasted lamb shoulder with pickles, yogurt and pita; and a grilled trout with Swiss chard, bacon, basil, and preserved lemon show off the smoky charms of the kitchen’s wood-burning grill. Mill Street’s signature burger boasts pasture-raised beef, house-made mustard, Arethusa Dairy Farms’ “Europa” cheese, and a potato brioche bun.
Breads and desserts are made in house daily by pastry chef Caryn Stabinksy, including brioche buns and sourdough flat breads. Stabinsky, who is famous for her savory monkey bread, has created a can’t-miss Mill Street version that will be found on the daily breadboard: a cocoa monkey with sour cherries.
The restaurant’s casually elegant approach welcomes guests to enjoy a variety of dining experiences: a convivial bar, an elegant ten-seat oyster bar, a sophisticated dining room, an outdoor patio, and a nattily appointed private lounge for small gatherings.
Housed in a historic 1855-56 building, Mill Street Bar & Table worked with the town’s historic commission to restore the original façade. Lazlo and King worked closely with Tony Kaplanis (Western Connecticut Craftsmen) and Designer Marcia Tucker to create a custom-designed interior inspired by a contemporary take on the classic American tavern and in keeping with its location and history. A very subtle red, white, and blue theme emerged by making use of the original red brick, developing a signature Mill Street blue, and the generous use of off-white accents, such as Venetian plaster wall and Danby marble. Photographs, art, and objects emphasize the building’s history, location and the restaurant’s close agrarian connections; topographical maps of Byram and its waterways, American antique objects, farm-inspired chalk drawings, and vintage restaurant menus can be found throughout the dining spaces.
Geoff Lazlo is the managing partner and executive chef of Mill Street Bar & Table. Lazlo is heavily influenced by his close relationships with farmers and a decade spent working alongside celebrated chefs in their world-class restaurants – Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, Dan Barber at Stone Barns and Blue Hill, and Michael Anthony at Gramercy Tavern. “Coming home to build Mill Street is a dream come true” said Lazlo. “I love living here and I wouldn’t be as excited to do this project somewhere else,” said Lazlo.
ABOUT BACK 40 FARM GROUP
The Back 40 Group started as most great things do, on the farm. The Back 40 Farm is a family-owned, 85-acre organic farm in Washington, CT that has since expanded to include Back 40 Mercantile, a modern take on an old-fashioned general store, Back 40 Kitchen in Greenwich, and Mill Street Bar & Table in Greenwich.