The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood values customer loyalty as much as the freshness of their seafood, and both have contributed to it's recent success. The shellfish is about as local as it gets–the executive chef sources the eatery's lobster, clams, and mussels from the Rowayton Seafood Market right next door. This freshness is crafted into a seasonal menu, paired with the scent of salty coastal air, assails the senses in the sunlit, harbor-side dining room, where diners warm themselves by the fireplace or gaze out onto Five Mile River.
The chef's inspired dishes, which won Connecticut magazine's 2013 award for best seafood, draw on American and international recipes. The grilled domestic swordfish keeps things simple with accents of roasted asparagus and truffled onions, and the blackened mahi-mahi samples more tropical climates with coconut-jasmine rice and pineapple salsa. More than 120 international and domestic wines suggest endless pairings–from appetizers of fried calamari to desserts of housemade pie and seasonal crème brûlée. Free valet parking is available, and guests can also dock their boat at the restaurant by reservation.
Combining their freshly caught fish with ecologically sound practices, the Restaurant has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Seafood Watch Program to serve sustainable seafood and help protect the balance of marine life.
The Beach Burger’s chef, Marc Anthony Bynum, a champion on the Food Network’s Chopped, unites all-natural, grass-fed, Angus-beef patties with an array of inventive ingredients, including fresh seafood, homemade sauces, and local produce. The eatery’s beefy options run the gamut from the burger-purist-pleasing Classic burger, adorned with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pickle ($5), to the spiciness of the Taco burger, topped with guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, and lettuce ($6.50). The Surf and Turf bridges the gap between land and sea, binding together Angus beef and fried oysters, then topping the combination with arugula, lemon-chive aioli, and optional hot sauce ($9). Meat-less options include the Falafel, a veggie burger served atop an open-faced pita with hummus, cucumber, tomato, and Greek yogurt ($7), which, like any burger, can be accompanied into your mouth by a side of homespun fries (additional $1.50 for making a meal a combo) or a hand-scooped milkshake such as the Sandy Beach—coffee ice cream, Oreos, and chocolate syrup ($5).
For the two years he lived in Alaska, Alan Pagano sold wild Alaskan salmon that he bought directly from fishing boats. This experience has led to a lifetime of cultivating relationships with top seafood suppliers, which he takes full advantage of at his fish market, Pagano's Seafood. From markets in New York, Massachusetts, and Florida, Alan and his team hand select each batch of wholesale seafood from around the world including red snapper from the Caribbean and naturally raised Scottish salmon. He also sells individual orders of jumbo shrimp, Pacific cod, and caviar. Each order is accompanied by complementary cooking instructions and, in the case of lobster, tips for cleaning, cooking, and cracking them, and then properly mourning their passing.
Chosen by Zagat as one of the best steak houses in Westchester County, The Willett House quells discerning appetites with scrumptious steaks and seafood. On the prix fixe dinner menu, starters such as lobster bisque and gorgonzola salad prime bellies for entrees such as chicken francese and a 10-ounce filet mignon au poivre coated in a peppercorn cream sauce. After lulling anyone who eats it into a content, satiated slumber, the 2-pound lobster (an additional $5) infiltrates diners’ dreams and pinches them awake again. As they finish off the table’s shared bottle of wine, each patron can choose from a tray of fresh, house-made desserts and wash down the treat with a cup of coffee or tea. Surrounding the main dining room, a pressed-tin ceiling and exposed-brick walls augment the 90-square-foot mural depicting life in turn-of-the-century Port Chester, when the seaside town still led the world in exports of soda jerks’ red-striped hats.