Dear beloved OmNomivores,
When’s the last time that you wrote a letter to a friend, folded it up into an envelope, slapped a stamp on it, then mailed it out? If you’re anything like us, you can probably count on your hands the number of things you’ve mailed in the last few years. We bet you don’t even know where your closest mailbox is. So, it’s no surprise to see post offices close down across Connecticut and the rest of America. And, the fate of these (often-times) architecturally amazing and ornate buildings is either to be knocked down (sad), to stay put, unoccupied (bad for the neighborhood), or to be repurposed for another great thing (awesomeness).
This is where Post 154 of Westport comes in. Opened just two months ago in the old Westport Post Office building, you can still see traces of the post office inside, but you also see an astonishingly beautiful open kitchen, a large, welcoming bar, and cozy booths and tables throughout. After gawking at the interior, we were quickly seated. Now, it’s important to point out that we called ahead and asked about reservations. Unfortunately, like many new restaurants in the area, they only take reservations for large groups, so we asked when there is no wait. The host said if you come before 6:30pm or after 9:00pm you’re golden, so we came at 9:30pm, because if we eat at 6:00pm, well, we’d need a 4th meal by 11:00pm. Yeah, that’s how we roll.
Let’s start with drinks. There were some nice wines on the list, the prices were a bit high even for a nice restaurant, a few beers on tap, but sadly no local beers, and a handful of fun cocktails. If you know us at all, you know we can’t turn down a drink with jalapeno in it, so we went with the Amante Picante, which had 1800 Silver Tequilla, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, fresh lime, agave, and celery bitters. The drink was most definitely strong, which might turn some of you on, but with fancy cocktails we prefer to taste the flavors of the drink vs. just the liquor. It did have a nice burn from jalapeños, but only a slight cucumber and lime taste. We would’ve liked more punch from those cool, refreshing ingredients.
Next up were some small plates. On a side note, the menu is set up a little funky as compared to other restaurants. They organize it by Seafood, Veg & Leaf, Soup, Meat, Fish, Steak and Sides, then simply put an asterisk by the dishes that are considered entrée portions vs. small plates. It took us a few minutes to catch that, but once we did it was easy.
Dan went with the Portuguese Octopus (you KNOW he loves his octopus): avocado, red chile sauce, EVOO.
The chile sauce added an acidic brightness to the nicely charred octopus, and the avocado added a rich creaminess. Some pieces of the octopus were delicate, but unfortunately some were a bit chewy/overcooked.
Kristien opted for the Golden corn bisque: grilled corn, crème fraîche, chives.
This was not overly sweet like some corn bisques can be. There was a great grilled corn taste and the crème fraîche brought a tartness that balances out the starchy sweetness of the corn. A very nice bisque!
We shared the Plantain “Aranitas” with aioli criollo. Mmmmm plantains are one of our favorite things on this planet!
These nuggets of goodness were crispy fried on the outside, and two of the three were super moist and slightly tart/sweet on inside, but unfortunately one was very dry. It was nicely salted with sea salt and came with a southwestern like sauce that seemed a little too TGIFridays dipping sauce for our taste, but wasn’t bad.
For a main course, Dan had The Burger Experience: pork belly, Krystal Caves Cheddar, avocado, and enchilada sauce.
The burger itself was pretty delicious! There was a nice grilled flavor explosion with the first bite. The meat was very fresh and the pork belly was a great addition, adding a fatty juiciness and savoriness. The avocado added a nice smooth, rich texture to complement the beef, and the enchilada sauce was awesome, just perfectly balanced. And, finally the cheddar was just right, not too sharp but with enough kick to taste it. Add the pickled onions that were on the side to give a nice cut of tartness and we’ve got a contender for one of our favorite burgers, but we do wish it was served medium rare as asked rather than medium-well.
Kristien couldn’t resist the Lobster + Grits: lobster, leeks, garlic, Tasso ham, Cajun BBQ, Yuca chips, and cheese grits.
This very unique dish has a ton of potential. The grits were very creamy and rich, the way they should be. The Tasso was super smoky and delicious, which brought a great contrast to all the over elements in the dish. The lobster, surprisingly, worked well with all the rich ingredients, and was nicely cooked. The issue, though, was that the BBQ sauce was INCREDIBLY overpowering and there was just way too much of it. Everything was seriously swimming in a pool of it. This would be a great, unique dish if the BBQ sauce was more of a highlight, rather than overpowering.
Rounding out the night, we shared some Apple Empanadas for dessert.
A bit heavy on the dough, but they had a nice gooey apple pie filling. The dipping sauces were okay, but needed much more flavor and kick. Also, we weren’t sure what they were (one was white, one was red) because we were never given a dessert menu, and our waiter had never mentioned what the sauces were.
Overall, we think Post 154 has a lot of potential. The dishes all had some major highlights, but each one also had an issue, which kept us from giving them the higher noms they might be capable of. The ambiance is wonderful, the service was ok (but we expect it will get better with time like most new restaurants), and the drinks were a bit expensive (we ARE in Westport after all). Right now they are only open for dinner, but plan to open for lunch soon once they feel that service will go smoothly. So with that, we close our letter to you, our beloved readers.
Dan & Kristien
Address: 154 Post Road East
Westport, CT 068880