I have a real appreciation for chefs who can bridge the gap between food that tastes good and food that is just plain fun. Knot Norms bills itself as a "fast casual New England seafood eatery," and has recently opened in East Norwalk next to Mr. Frosty's at East Norwalk at 10 First Avenue. The menu reads like a classic New England summer playlist, with greatest hits including: Lobsters Rolls, a Fried Chicken Roll, Roasted Oysters and a Crab Salad Roll...just to name a few. This casual spot may have a "just strolled off the beach" feel to it, but don't be fooled, Knot Norms is far from your average seafood shack.
Owner/Chef Jay LeBlanc has been in kitchens and behind the bar for most of his life. LeBlanc runs the successful Knot Norms Wood Fired Catering Co., graduated from New York's ICC, and has been cooking since the age of sixteen. In fact, his first restaurant job was just around the corner at East Norwalk's, Partners, and prior to opening his catering business, he spent some time in a little restaurant in Westport, called The Whelk.
The team at Knot Norms has created a menu with locally sourced seafood and unique flavors you likely won't find at your neighborhood eatery. Even better, almost everything at Knot Norms is served on a buttered New England style hot dog roll, or as LeBlanc says, a "New England Taco."
The Brisket Sandwich is slow roasted and features an unexpected and delicious Korean Ssam sauce. The butter accompanying the warm Lobster roll has been reduced with lobster shells giving it a deep rich lobster flavor, and the Fried Chicken sandwich boasts moist boneless skin on thighs and a perfect fry, without a hint of greasiness.
The parmesan crusted wood fired Roasted Oysters, and the perfectly corn meal breaded and fried oysters nestled in the Copps Island Oyster Roll, come straight from the CT waters via Norm Bloom's Copp's Island oyster farm. While the Fish Tacos, one of my favorite dishes, features fresh panko breaded snapper alongside grilled pineapple, white cabbage and Togarashi mayo.
There are a few salads on the menu with proteins including soy ginger beef and agave Sriracha shrimp. Guests will also be pleased to find an Acai Bowl if you're feeling like something lighter.
Go forth and eat hungry readers.
Knot Norms10 First Avenue, Norwalk