South End Uncorked: A Speakeasy Vibe With The Ultimate Bar Burger

So there’s this place called South End Uncorked. It’s very New York City—ish. It’s small, but chic. They serve superb cocktails, wine and beer, and a compact menu with plenty of terrific choices. It reminds me of bars I frequent in Greenwich Village.

It’s in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The idea came from Chef/Owner Nick Martschenko, (a CIA grad with serious food world cred, including a stint as executive sous chef under Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern) whose flagship restaurant, South End, is just around the corner. When the former space that was Picador became available, the concept of a Snacks & Taps place was a no-brainer, and something different for a town in need of a late-night casual haunt.

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“One”: apple cider, mint jalapeno, lemon, mezcal

“Four”: bourbon, cranberry, grapefruit

First-time visitors may be fooled by a front door that doesn’t open, forcing you to go around the building’s left side to enter. It has that speakeasy vibe, a feeling of exclusivity. There’s no standing room and you may have to wait in line to enter on weekend nights. Once inside you can grab a bar stool or high top and if you’re lucky you’ll get a seat at the bar to watch the bartenders do their mixology thing or you’ll get one of the four seats right at the busy kitchen. Both make for a good show.

Drinks are an integral part of your Uncorked experience, so let’s start there.

The hamachi nachos come with grapefruit, cilantro, a bit of Serrano pepper, plus crispy yucca chips

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The ever-changing cocktail menu is solid and they cut no corners creating each one. They fresh squeeze the juices, syrups are homemade, and so on. Each mixed drink goes by a number (1-5) instead of a name. “One” (apple cider, mint jalapeno, lemon, mezcal) is a multi-layered cocktail showcasing sweet, some minor spiciness, and a cooling finish from the mint. For lovers of stronger drinks “Three” (apple pie moonshine, Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale) and “Four” (bourbon, cranberry, grapefruit) will get the job done. The “Shots” section is noteworthy for its creativity; sure there’s a classic Jamo shot with beer chaser but it’s worth trying a fun one like the Deconstructed Mojito; the mint Jell-O cube goes in your mouth, followed by the chilled rum, then you suck on the lime. Uncorked’s boozy menu rounds out with around 10 wines on tap for uniform taste and temperature, and four beers on draft with more in bottles and cans.

While the drinks are not to be missed, the food at Uncorked is a must. The snacks are great for sharing. Fans of sushi should not miss the freshness and sweet heat of the hamachi nachos. The steamed pork buns (pickled zucchini and carrots, house kimchee) are the best I’ve had in the area and I loved that they finished the pork belly on the flattop for some char and texture. The crispy and lightly battered fried cheese curds are best not shared and enjoyed with a good pilsner or lager.

 

 

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One of the larger plates to try and devour is the perfectly medium-rare yellowfin tuna with white beans, baby kale, chorizo, and clam butter. The sausage and butter give the light fish some added and appreciated fattiness. If there’s something you must order make it the Double Double, a juicy, secret meat blend double cheeseburger with SE Burger Sauce (similar to, but better than Special Sauce), homemade ketchup, and zucchini pickles and it’s served with a side of hand cut fries dusted with fresh grated Parmesan. It’s the ultimate bar burger and one I’ll have a hard time passing up during every future visit.

There’s plenty more I could’ve bragged about but I’ll leave some mystery for your own exploration.

South End Uncorked is already one of my favorite bars in Fairfield County after one visit. I’m betting that after a visit, you’ll agree. 

South End Uncorked
15 Elm St 
New Canaan, CT
(203) 920-1212
www.seuncorked.com

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