An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Jun 20, 2014
06:48 AM
The Connecticut Table

Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot's Primary Food & Drink, Greenwich, Closes

Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot's Primary Food & Drink, Greenwich, Closes

Salmon at Primary Food & Drink.

Editor's note: Graham Elliot just released this statement on the closing of Primary Food & Drink in Greenwich:
“The owners of Primary Food & Drink brought Merlin Verrier and I in to replicate what we do in Chicago, and while it was well-received, it ultimately did not transfer to the Greenwich market. They eventually decided to take the space into a different direction; one Merlin and I didn’t feel was the right fit for the Graham Elliot brand. I’m back in Chicago, taking time to focus on Graham Elliot Bistro, as well as Lollapalooza, training for the Chicago Marathon and writing my first cookbook.”

The new Greenwich restaurant of celebrity chef Graham Elliot (below right) appears to be toast, as they say, after a run of just six months on Greenwich Avenue.

According to a story published by the Greenwich Patch, Primary Food & Drink’s manager learned in a text Thursday morning that Primary was closed.

There was no mention of the closing on the Twitter account of Primary Food & Drink, or Elliot’s Twitter account. The Facebook page for the restaurant also has no official notice, though someone else wrote “…and then it closed!”

In our March 2014 Connecticut Magazine review, Elise Maclay gave Primary two-and-a-half stars [Very Good-Superior] and opened with:

When Chicago chef Graham Elliot, restaurateur, entrepreneur and media darling, decided to take on Connecticut, he knew exactly what he wanted to do and where he wanted to do it. He chose Greenwich for the same reason the infamous safe cracker Willie Sutton gave when asked why he robbed banks: because that’s where the money is.

Later, she wrote:

Graham Elliot doesn’t care if his cooking doesn’t sound scintillating and sexy because he knows it is. It’s also full of surprises. Spoiler: Primary’s deconstructed Caesar salad consists of Twinkie-sized rectangles of brioche dough baked with cheese inside, and loosely wrapped leaves of romaine lettuce and a tiny Spanish anchovy on top. A delectable little package if ever there was one.
Pricewise, Primary Food & Drink is an unabashedly über-upscale establishment. Albeit coddled with crème fraîche, black trumpet mushrooms and sinfully lush truffle coulis, a tiny “filet mignon stroganoff” set us back $42. Salmon cost $35, but it was Scottish salmon, which is farmed so meticulously it often tastes wild. Unfortunately, ours was overcooked. When we mentioned the fact, it was quickly whisked away and replaced with another piece, medium-rare, rosy-hued and silky, garnished with tasty slices of d’Anjou pear.

And still later:

Primary Food & Drink is not the place to go if you’re feeling famished or frugal. The wine list is not shy about aggressive markups, and double-digit small plates, darling as they are, can add up to sticker shock rather quickly. 

As most perceive, Greenwich is once place “where the money is” in Connecticut, but, given that Patch said Primary wasn’t busy, perhaps even well-heeled folks weren’t prepared to part with the amount of money being asked for dishes that Maclay described as the equivalent of small-bites.

If we learn more about Primary’s closing, we’ll let you know.

 

 

Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot's Primary Food & Drink, Greenwich, Closes

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