Stamford, CT - SKAL Restaurant Group, the team responsible for such highly revered Connecticut hot spots including The Ginger Man of Greenwich and Norwalk and the Cask Republic of New Haven, is completing a stunning renovation in downtown Stamford at 191 Summer Street (formerly Ferrante) to now house Cask Republic, A Communal Tavern. The concept is simple; exceptional food globally inspired, a world class beer program, extensive spirits and wines – all housed in an atmosphere befitting that of a sophisticated urban respite.
Owner Christian Burns artfully fuses the familiarity of an American-style tavern with the authenticity of European taverns of yesteryear. The Cask Republic’s floor to ceiling glass doors provide a panoramic view of the bustling Summer Street restaurant scene while inside, a spacious 30-foot bar, complete with high-back bar stools, overlooks 53+ draught beer taps, including one dedicated to pouring cask conditioned beers. The polished copper back bar softly reflects the light from the dining room’s fireplace, creating a relaxed environment, perfect for meeting up with friends to enjoy a pint or cocktail.
The space, warm and inviting, is enveloped by russet and tan colored walls. Edison bulbs glow from the chandeliers above to highlight an eclectic array of artwork which tells the story of brewing and distilling traditions from around the world. Collectibles from brew houses, cider mills, hop farms, master distillers, and some of the industry’s vintage, yet cutting edge ‘tongue n’ cheek’ promotional campaign posters accent the walls.
The front dining room has seating to meet all needs with solid walnut communal high-top tables for larger groups and dark maple tables for more intimate dining in front of the fireplace. The casual lounge area is furnished with kilim covered ottomans and plush sofas and chairs. The rear dining room houses its own copper framed fireplace as well as a private bar complete with draught handles. This room seats 55 and features floor to ceiling illuminated amber, mustard and ginger colored glass windows which were ‘recovered’ from the original building. The tweed and leather banquette seating and dark wood furnishings continue throughout both dining rooms.
The menu at the Cask Republic combines the old with the new and is presented by Executive Chef Carl Carrion. A graduate of the New York Restaurant School, Chef Carrion cut his teeth while cooking in some of New York’s finest kitchens, including Union Pacific under Chef Rocco DiSpirito, and at Patria with Chef Douglas Rodriguez. The move to Connecticut landed him the Chef De Cuisine position at Max Downtown in Hartford and Max Fish in Glastonbury before spearheading the kitchen of the Cask Republic in New Haven and ultimately to his current position as the Culinary Director for SKAL Restaurant Group.
Chef Carrion has designed a menu which elevates global tavern classics to a new level through his seasonal preparation of quality ingredients. Raw bar favorites include freshly shucked oysters with honey-lime mignonette and colossal whole shrimp with whole grain mustard remoulade and wasabi cocktail sauce. Lighter fare items are smoked slow roasted chicken soup with red potato and pumpkin and a kale salad of radicchio, cranberries, toasted walnuts and lentils tossed with creamy ginger vinaigrette.
Shared plates consist of house smoked short rib meatballs with IPA BBQ sauce and crumbles of Maytag bleu cheese, oxtail potato croquettes with watercress and pickled radish, classic baked soft pretzel with beer cheese, and slow roasted pork with crispy skin, black bean broth and green onion marmalade. Entrees include wood roasted organic free range chicken with pancetta, sunchokes, pimentón and charred onions and a honey-mustard glazed hangar steak with sweet potato risotto, creamed mustard greens and crispy parsnips. Also from the wood fired oven is an array of pizzas topped with intriguing flavor combinations such as duck confit with caramelized onions, balsamic roasted figs and goat cheese and a flavorful culatello pizza with basil pesto, smoked mozzarella, roasted Brussels sprouts and tomatoes.
In addition to Cask Republic’s award-winning beer program, which includes cask beers, vintage aged draught and bottles, and local craft and global offerings, an equally impressive selection of blended scotches, single malts, craft bourbons, and American whiskies are offered. A well-chosen wine list offers both popular and lesser known varietals, adding to the entire dining and beverage experience.
Cask Republic is set to open December of 2013. Seating capacity is 150 total with a private event room which seats up to 55. Reservations are accepted for large parties (6-25 a l a carte). Cask Republic will initially open 7 days a week for dinner with lunch and Sunday brunch to follow.