Taproot opened a year ago in Bethel, CT and I’d been wanting to go for about a year, too. Chef Jeff Taibe was already very well respected in the world of Fairfield County dining - we’d previously enjoyed his food while he was Executive Chef at Kawa Ni in Westport and Oak + Almond in Norwalk. Alas, we live about an hour from Bethel, so getting to Taproot had not been so easy for us. Luckily, my husband’s birthday recently needed celebrating, and we committed to making the drive. It was well worth it.
Co-owned by Chef Taibe and Steph Sweeney (who's managing front of the house), Taproot is a true family affair. The owners are life partners raising their family in Bethel. Their dedication and passion to the place they opened together shows the moment you walk into Taproot. The room is charming, the service is warm and easy going and the cocktails are on point. The menu at Taproot focuses on simple, fresh food - seasonal vegetables and farm raised proteins - done really well. Chef Taibe has the skills and the commitment to quality ingredients to actually make Taproot a true "farm to table" spot.
While the menu is ever-changing, its structure is always well suited for sharing: there’s a “for the table” section (do not skip the pimento cheese dip with country ham jam), a small plates section (always get the burrata), and then a big plates section of items that either make for single entrees or larger share plates.
Taproot is open for dinner (Tues-Sat) and lunch (Fri-Sat), and while it leans toward a quiet, adult ambiance, it is still casual enough for a weeknight meal (and I did see some older kids there dining with their parents at our 6pm reservation time).
Now back to Taproot's location. It’s not always easy to find the time or motivation to drive an hour or more for a meal, especially when you’re on the clock paying a babysitter. But I believe that, at least once in awhile, it’s worth spending an extra bit of time in your car to be able to try a place that’s different, and perhaps better, than the "same old" spots.
And in the case of Taproot, there's another incentive to make the drive: Taproot just happens to be attached to (i.e. shares a bathroom with) the Bethel Cinema, an adorable indie movie theater specializing in “independent American and foreign films.”
A great dinner and an artsy movie - is there a better way to spend a night without kids?!