An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Dec 13, 2013
11:03 AM
The Connecticut Table

Primary Food & Drink Opens in Greenwich

Primary Food & Drink Opens in Greenwich

Photo by Adam Macchia

Primary Food & Drink

The wait is over. Last night, famed Chicago chef/restaurateur Graham Elliot opened his first restaurant on the East Coast, Primary Food & Drink, in Greenwich.

Chef/owner of two eponymously named restaurants in Chicago, Elliot is well-known to fans of the Food Network. He narrowly lost to Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America in 2007, appeared on Top Chef Masters in 2009, and was a judge on MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay and Joe Bastianich in 2010. Now he’s a regular with Ramsay and Bastianich on MasterChef Junior.

The cuisine at Primary Food & Drink is a collaboration between Graham Elliot and Merlin Verrier, who is executive chef (and managing partner) at the new operation. The streamlined menu features updated spins on classic comfort food dishes. Starters include oysters on the half-shell, a deconstructed Caesar and toasted gnocchi with mushrooms and brown butter; the eight entrées, grouped under “Land” and “Sea” headings, include roast chicken (with parsnip purée, heirloom carrots, Tuscan kale and thyme jus), beef stroganoff (braised short rib with black trumpet mushrooms, crème fraîche and truffle coulis), and Berkshire pork chop (with artisan grits, collard greens and root beer bbq sauce).

(There’s also a spin on the typical warning at the bottom of the menu. It reads: “Consuming raw ingredients can lead to death . . .  so can crossing the road.”)

The handsome new restaurant on lower Greenwich Avenue has a vintage feel; there’s an entry parlor with marble-topped bar and blue-checked floors, and Mid-Century Modern inspired dining rooms with tan leather banquettes and tables of reclaimed wood.

Merlin Verrier has worked with Elliot for six years, most recently as director of operations for the Chicago restaurants. Prior to that he worked with Richard Sandoval at Modern Mexican and Jennifer Jasinski at Rioja in Denver, among others. Verrier says he and Elliot fell in love with Greenwich when they appeared at the Food & Wine Festival there last year.

“Being close to a seaboard and having access to ingredients you just can’t get in the Midwest was an exciting prospect,” says Verrier. “Once we connected with a Greenwich native as our partner, the pieces fell into place and Primary just made sense as a next step for the brand.”

Primary Food & Drink is open for 5 to 10 Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 11 Friday and Saturday.

409 Greenwich Ave. 203/861-2400, @PrimaryByGraham .


Primary Food & Drink Opens in Greenwich

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