Although there is certainly no shortage of great restaurants to experience in Stamford, there is no place quite like the new Cask Republic that opened on Summer Street.  For those people familiar with Cask Republic in New Haven and the Ginger Man locations in SoNo and Greenwich, this new spot is courtesy of the same owner.

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Walking in, there is that same warmth fostered by the beautiful wood detailing and golden lighting.  That warmth is also amplified by the two, yes two, fireplaces in the restaurant.  It is deceivingly large while still maintaining that comfortable atmosphere.

With our senses feeling ready for a relaxing evening, we headed for our table which was in close proximity to one of the fireplaces.  Soon after, the drinks and food started rolling out.  We were not disappointed…

The meal was kicked off with the C-R Mint Julep, a new twist on a classic.  Made with Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye Whiskey, lemons, fresh muddled mint and ginger ale, this has a distinct aroma of orange peel and honey from the whiskey.  A great choice for any whiskey lover…

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At the same time we had the pleasure of sampling a deluge of appetizers, one better than the next.  First came the Braised Rib Meatballs, which melt in your mouth.  They were a great medley of meat and sauce, simple and succulent.  Then came the Chicken & Bacon Flatbread which featured a beer cheese sauce and wood-fired onions.  It certainly was just as delicious as it sounds.

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For the bacon enthusiasts, Cask Republic has something we haven’t seen anywhere else – Bacon Popcorn.  Yes indeed, it is your traditional popcorn cooked with bacon fat and bits of bacon mixed in.  If only movie theaters served this…I would go much more often!

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Sticking with the comfort food theme, the last appetizer that came out was the trifecta of french fries.  There were three flavors to choose from: Asian-Ginger, Salt & Vinegar, and Spicy Tomato & Truffle.  Our recommendation is to try all of them!  They are all so different and equally well executed,  it was impossible to pick a winner.

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Feeling pretty content already, our next course and drink pairing came roaring out of the kitchen.  How does a 15 year old Scotch and Pan Seared Foie Gras sound?  We are not big Scotch drinkers but this Gordon & Macphail Linkwood 15 was very enjoyable.  This Scotch is aged in Sherry casks, which give it a well balanced sweetness with some nutty influences.  This paired very well with the foie gras which was served with a tangy cranberry marmalade and culatello on top of toasted sourdough.  The cranberry marmalade really made this dish.

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Warmed by the Scotch and the fireplace, our next pairing was another welcome sight.  Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Saison and Slow Roasted Canadian Salmon were a great complement to each other.  The rustic farmhouse ale made with Mandarin oranges grown in California played well the salmon over a black bean cassoulet and red pepper sofrito.  There was neither beer nor salmon left on anyone’s plate at the conclusion of this course!

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Moving swiftly into darker beer and darker meat, we had the privilege of tasting our next course.  This pairing brought together Heavy Seas Siren Noire and a Deli Spiced Filet Mignon.  The Noire was the type of beer that makes me happy even when it’s cold and nasty outside.  This is an imperial chocolate stout aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans! They actually use three pounds of Belgian cocoa nibs in each barrel.  With all that chocolate one might expect it to be overly sweet but it turns out to be exceptionally well balanced.  I could certainly drink a few of these and be content.  Now for that lovely piece of meat.  The filet was served with sweet potato hash, braised kale and a peppercorn demi-glace.  The spice of the peppercorn combined with the sweetness of the hash came together very nicely.  The steak was cooked just right and melted in your mouth.  This would definitely be something we would order again!

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To cap off the meal, why not have another whiskey? So out came an Ashville Distilling Co.,Troy & Sons Blond whiskey.  This exceptionally smooth whiskey has a base of heirloom Turkey Red Wheat and White Corn, grown in Western North Carolina.  With notes of vanilla and caramel, this is a definite must try for any whiskey aficionado.  The whiskey was paired with a Bucheron Cheese tart topped with preserved shallots and Asian pear chips.  We both are not big fans of this genre of cheese, however, all of our friends at the table enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Full of great drinks and excellent we vowed to make our way back to Cask Republic very soon.  There is something divine about a warm atmosphere with spectacular food and innovative drinks.  Head over soon to get a welcome break from a long winter!

-Jeff

Cask Republic Stamford

Website: www.caskrepublic.com

Address: 191 Summer Street, Stamford, CT 06901

Phone: (203) 348-2275

Price: $$$

Do they take reservations? Yes, Open Table

Attire?  Casual

Vibe?  Warm & Upbeat

Hours: Monday – Wed 11:45 AM-10:00 PM, Bar 1:00 AM

Thursday – Sat 11:45 AM-11:00 PM, Bar 2:00 AM

Sunday 11:45 AM-9:00 PM, Bar 1:00 AM