If you've been peering through the windows of the immense space that used to house Westport’s Historical Post Office, wondering what the new POST 154 Restaurant would hold, we've got some info for you. Mind you, this intel comes straight from the press peeps, so stay tuned for additional coverage from our CTbites team, but this will give you an idea of what's to come.
“Best Chef of America” Honoree, Chef Alex Rosado prepares to open his Restaurant and Bar in Westport’s Historical Post Office building
This is POST 154, a restaurant, bar and gathering place with a fresh outlook on our modern day food culture. The space is grand, the Chef is fearless, and the concept is a simple one; Exceptional food and drink with a setting to match.
It begins with 154 Post Road, Westport’s historical post office building which was built circa 1935 by the New Deal, an economic program enacted in the United States in the 1930’s in response to the great depression. It was designed by Lansing Holden, a decorated World War I US Air Force hero. Today, the limestone and brick façade remain, as does the daily reminder of a town’s legacy and its evolution. Boston / Greenwich based design team, Niemitz Design Group, and Trinity Construction, while respecting the integrity of the building, has enhanced the exterior of the dwelling with an attractive landscape foundation, accented with hanging boulevard lanterns, mustard gold awnings and outdoor dining areas befitting that of a European café replete with plush wicker furnishings adorned with colorful textiles.
The expansive interior has been thoughtfully designed to maintain the drama of the original high-vaulted structure. The u-shaped bar is a strategic central element with a theatrical back bar adorned with a massive vintage framed mirror, a beautiful Carrera marble top bar, and a five-foot long chrome beer tower which makes quite a statement. Adding to the energy of the room is an open-display kitchen and communal Chef’s Table, the focal point of the dining room where both the chef and the guests are an integral part of the overall vibe of the restaurant. A central stairway leads to the lower level wine cellar and more intimate dining rooms for meetings and private events. The entire space accommodates over 250 guests.
POST 154’s design model
features contemporary elements while paying homage to the building’s historical roots. Handsome dark wood wall paneling is inspired by the great dining hall at Oxford. The room’s oak wood and stone flooring is surrounded by large windows draped in flowing fabrics. The space is illuminated by custom coach lanterns and natural sunlight. Comfortable high-back chairs and barstools are upholstered with lush camel, black and saddle red leather and the banquettes are covered in English Chesterfield, deep button-tufted upholstery. Large wall murals and prints throughout the space are from the United States Congress’ Work Projects Administration (WPA) movement (1936-1943) and celebrate both the story of the Postal service and the period of the building.
The dynamic POST 154 space is home to an equally fervent Executive Chef / Managing Director. Alex Rosado hails from Puerto Rico and brings with him an impressive culinary lineage. Alex graduated from Atlanta’s School of Culinary Arts in 1996. He began honing his skills cooking in some of the city’s most popular restaurants, including Bill Swearingen and Philippe Haddad's The Abbey and Philippe’s Bistro. This up and coming chef would then go on to cook at such prestigious hotels as the Ritz Carlton in San Juan, Puerto Rico as the Chef de Cuisine for The Caribbean Grill, and then on to The Biltmore Hotel in Miami, Florida where he was fortunate enough to have worked closely under Executive Chef de Cuisine Philippe Ruiz. It was ultimately his position as the Executive Chef of Little Palm Island in Little Torch Key, Florida from 2009-2012 that would thrust this young chef’s career into high gear, and where he accumulated numerous accolades and awards, including a Best Chefs of America honor bestowed to him by his fellow chefs.
The menu at POST 154 is bold and vibrant featuring an eclectic repertoire which incorporates Chef Rosado’s sphere of influences from his travels and mentors. The land and sea menu concept is global, often playful, occasionally more refined, and always flavorful and contrasting. The ingredients are sourced locally and from afar, wherever it makes sense while keeping seasonality and quality at the forefront.
Chef Rosado’s seafood offerings are wonderfully offbeat creations which are perfectly illustrated by the B.L.T. Maki Roll comprised of rock shrimp, pancetta, watercress, tomato escabeche, onion crunch and mojo rojo, in addition to Crab Tater Tots with tangy lemon verbena ketchup. There’s no denying Chef’s Florida roots as tasted in his already famous Lobster Quesadillas layered with queso chihuahua and huitlacoche (Mexican truffle), and The Bowl of Mussels infused with saffron, chorizo and harrissa. Fresh fish preparations are unfussy, yet intriguing. Ahi tuna is brushed with a soy black pepper glaze and accompanied by seasonal vegetables and plump apricots, and fresh Atlantic Halibut is taken to new heights with roasted garlic, creamed celery and a creole shrimp fondue.
Creativity and comfort are of the meaty variety and are deliciously demonstrated in such dishes as; The Hamburger Experience comprised of Krystal Caves cheddar, pork belly, avocado and picante enchilada sauce, Chicken & Dumplings with creamed white cheddar and mushrooms, and the Veal Short Ribs laced with chile bbq and served with liquid black beans and mango slaw. Steakhouse faves include Kobe Beef Churrasco with Argentinean chimichurri and Adobo Grilled Veal Chop prepared with a sofrito demi glaze.
The “Veg & Leaf” portion of the menu is a wondrous array of vegetarian options speckled with decadence. Young Heirloom Tomatoes are enhanced with cilantro, onions, jalapeños, fresh lime and avocado. The Farmhouse Spinach Salad gets a tasty boost from artichokes, endive, truffle cheese and lemon vinaigrette. And both the Tofu “Midnight” Sandwich with smoked aioli, black bean “ham”, cucumber escabeche and gruyere, and the The Cheezy Mac are late night - POST cocktail gotta-have dishes.
The beverage program at POST 154 is just as impressive and innovative as its culinary platform, both of which set the tone for a truly unique dining experience. The global wine list consists of both familiar and smaller boutique wineries and grape varietals, and a selection of craft beers from throughout the northeast share cooler space with an impressive collection of foreign ales, stouts and lagers. Cocktails are anything but typical and are made using fresh fruit juices and purees, aromatics, top shelf spirits and well developed recipes. The adventurous can take part in flights of martinis, mojitos and margaritas, and pitchers of freshly made sangria are sure to add to the convivial social scene at this new Westport restaurant and gathering place.
POST 154 is looking forward to an August 2013 opening. In addition to providing exceptional service, food and libations in a county where the culinary bar has been set extremely high, Chef Rosado and his entire team are dedicated to creating a restaurant that adds to the social landscape of this charming neighborhood and one that Westport can be proud of.
154 Post Road, Westport, CT