I had the opportunity to talk with Matt Storch from Match Restaurant. Match is Community Plates’ first food donor and very instrumental and invaluable in opening the door to other businesses CP receives donations from today. However, I didn’t want to talk to Matt about the donations he makes, but wanted to know more about more about the person and restaurant behind all the generosity.
As a Norwalk native, I’ve always considered Match a solid mainstay in the Fairfield County food scene since it opened in 1999. Originally opened with 4 partners, Match has been considered as the place to go to have a great late night upscale pizza after a few cocktails. As Match’s popularity grew, its partnership and kitchen changed. Matt was enticed to leave Miramar (a Todd English restaurant in Westport) and run the kitchen at Match. Shortly after coming over, he re-designed the kitchen and menu, but kept some of the classics Match patrons had grown to love. Today, Match is owned by Matt and Scott Beck.
Matt shared with me his childhood travels, cooking internships starting at 13, education at the Culinary Institute of America and working with Todd English at many of his restaurants. I also learned how his favorite food is anything “fresh and made with passion and love”. Ultimately, he has created a menu at Match which is reflective of his background and beliefs: fresh and innovative. In addition to updating his menu 5 times a year, he mixes up his menu several nights a week offering patrons ½ priced bottles of wine on Sunday evenings, burger night on Thursdays and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays a special themed menu reflecting foods from the places he’s traveled to, or restaurants he enjoys. This week, Matt featured a menu from Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant in Miami Beach. Next week he’ll be featuring an indulgent, yet playful menu for Valentine’s Day with items such as foie gras, caviar and using beet juice for coloring. After the holiday, Matt plans to bring a taste of Costa Rico, Ecuador, Spain, and Vietnam on these themed weeknights. Check out his website (http://www.matchsono.com) for the night’s specials or upcoming theme nights.
He also told me how he enjoys being out in the dining room the evenings he’s working. He gets feedback from patrons and often the feedback ends up being on his menu. Remember how burgers became the craze several years ago? Well, customers would ask Matt when was he planning on adding a burger to the menu. He listened, and now, on Thursday evenings, he creates the freshest burgers and word-of-mouth has him selling out.
After talking with Matt, I reached out to friends for their opinion and the resounding response I kept getting over-and-over was “YUMMMMM” (one friend even sent me a picture of a dish she ordered recently). I could hear his passion for food during our conversation. Combine the passion with how food has been such an integral part of his life since childhood, and you know Matt could only create dishes people continually come back for.
Match is located at 98 Washington Street, South Norwalk, CT, (203) 852-1088 and reservations can be made online at http://www.matchsono.com.