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Sunday
Nov032013

Post 154 Opens in Westport in Old Post Office Building

CTbites recently attended a press dinner at Post 154 in Westport to sample numerous selections from its award winning Chef Alex Rosado's introductory menu. Overall the dishes were visually artistic in their construct and many presented delicious flavors.

All reviews of Post 154 must include a little history of the building. The 1935 cornerstone outside the entrance commemorates the site’s original purpose as the Westport Post Office, constructed under The New Deal during the Great Depression. Architect Lansing Colton Holden Jr., a World War I flying ace who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, designed the building upon his return from battle. The building’s new ownership redesigned the spacious interior with a combination of wood paneling, flowing drapes and relics from the early 1900’s surrounding the tables. A large U-Shaped bar, with over 250 seats, occupies the entire left side and leads to an inviting patio that allows for al fresco dining in warmer weather.

Overseeing the kitchen is Chef Alex Rosado. After graduating from The Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta, Chef Alex worked at several outstanding Atlanta and Florida restaurants. Most recently, he was the Executive Chef at The Dining Room at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, winning numerous accolades from Zagat’s and fellow chefs. Chef Alex’s opening menu at Post 154 is reflective of his Puerto Rican roots, and expands on the chef’s boldness in fusing flavors and ingredients from other regions.

The event started with three “Small Plates;” the “Portuguese Octopus” with avocado, red chili sauce and EVOO, “The Bowl of Mussels” with Chorizo, shallots, roasted garlic in a saffron wine broth, and “Lobster Quesadillas” with huitlacoche, Queso Chihuahua, salsa and avocado. The octopus was outstanding. Chef Alex braised the octopus for four hours before marinating in a key lime vinaigrette. The texture of the octopus was soft and delicate, a major accomplishment, and the red chili sauce added a touch of spice. I also enjoyed the mussels, which were large and served in a slightly spiced broth. The lobster quesadilla was not to my liking. The lobster was overwhelmed by the bold flavors of the other ingredients.

Shortly thereafter, the table received the “Eggplant Meatball Parmesan,” the “Duck Confit Taquitos” and a portion of “St. Louis Style Ribs.” The eggplant meatballs and the duck taquitos were outstanding. The meatballs were served in tomato gravy with three cheeses, truffles and herbs. They were soft and luscious and were delicious when combined with the tomato gravy and melted cheeses. The duck taquitos were rolled tortillas filled with a slow roasted duck, lightly deep fried and served with roasted tomato salsa, guacamole, and Cojita cheese sitting atop tomato salsa. The duck filling was rich in flavor and the guacamole and fried tortillas provided delightful textural differences. The ribs were paired with Chili BBQ sauce, liquid black beans and mango stew. The meat was very tender and moist but somewhat tasteless, while the Chili BBQ sauce provided excellent flavor.

The meal continued at a good pace with the arrival of the “Golden Corn Bisque” with grilled corn, crème fraiche and chives. This was one of the best bisques I have eaten. Chef Alex prepared the stock from the corn cobs, added the cooked kernels and pureed for thickness. He finished the soup with a few grilled kernels and a dollop of crème fraiche. The bisque was delicious, and the crème fraiche added the correct amount of tang to the soup.

At this point the service slowed to a painful crawl. While the first three courses arrived within 90 minutes the three entrees arrived intermittently over the next 90 minutes. The first entrees that arrived were the “Scallops & Grits” and the “Salmon.” The “Scallops & Grits” was served with spinach, smoked ham jus, and topped with Tabasco Crisps, and delivered some delightful flavors. The scallop was sweet and perfectly seared, and the course-ground grits and ham jus were very good. I liked the flavors of each of the ingredients but I was not as fond of their combination. The “Salmon“ was paired with pickled fennel, smoked tomato coulis, and maple lime butter. The combination of flavors did not work. The sweet maple butter was too sweet and the pickled fennel did not complement the salmon.

After another extended wait the “Guava BBQ Pork Tenderloin” with a black bean stew and the “C.A.B. Churrasco Steak” with Argentinian Chimichurri arrived with a few side dishes. The pork tenderloin was delicious. The exterior of the pork loin was rubbed with a spicy blend and cooked perfectly to medium. The black bean stew complemented the spiciness of the pork. I was not fond of the steak, which was very fatty, and sat in too much oil from the Chimichurri, which was more onion and oil versus the traditional vinegar based sauce.

The menu also contains numerous sweet desserts to end the meal. They include “Apple Empanadas” with a red hot cinnamon dip and liquid cream cheese, a “Chocolate Flan” with Tuaca fired oranges, and a Tres Leches with wild berry stew. 

Overall many of the creative dishes that Chef Alex prepared were outstanding, and the Post 154’s extensive menu of nearly thirty-five different choices of small plates, soups, salads and entrees allows each guest to construct a meal to satisfy any appetite. On a Thursday night the restaurant and bar were both packed and the vibe was fantastic. If you carefully select from Chef Alex’s bold creations you will have a memorable meal, but the kitchen needs to work on the pace of the courses leaving the kitchen.

 

Post 154, 154 Post Road East, Westport, CT, 06880 - (203) 454-0154

Really Liked

  • Portuguese Octopus
  • Eggplant Meatball Parmesan
  • Duck Confit Taquitos
  • Golden Corn Bisque
  • Guava BBQ Pork Tenderloin

Liked

  • The Bowl of Mussels

Did Not Like 

  • Lobster Quesadillas
  • St. Louis Style Ribs
  • Scallops & Grits
  • Salmon
  • C.A.B. Churrasco Steak

 [Photography Courtesy of Tom McGovern]

Post 154 on Urbanspoon

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    Response: coral fashion
    Post 154 Opens in Westport in Old Post Office Building - CT Bites - Restaurants, Recipes, Food, Fairfield County, CT

Reader Comments (8)

Great review JFOOD.

What about the lamb chops? Those are lamb chops in the upper left photo, no? They look yummy, as does that potato-ball alongside them. Clue us in Daddy-O.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrealguy

Thanks realguy.

The simple answer is that the lamb chops were not served as one of the entrees during our dinner, which included the Scallop and Grits, the Salmon, the C.A.B. Churrasco Steak and the Guava BBQ Pork Tenderloin.

Ciao

November 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterJeff "jfood" Schlesinger

I wish you'd noted earlier in the article and harped on it more that the service is HORRENDOUS! It's downright PAINFUL. During our visit we told the server we had to be out in an hour. Two hours later after only ordering two entrees, we were livid! The waiter disappeared. We told him the four times we saw him we had to get our food and drinks and asked three times for water. He kept disappearing and we never got the water. We asked a different waiter for water and he said he'd tell our waiter! This is the SAME problem 323 Grill has had since opening and judging from the dwindling crowd over there, they will probably close soon. Both these restaurants look great, but have overly ambitious food selections that don't live up to the descriptions and terrible service. Simpler dishes and better food will help these new restaurants. One other note, the noise was deafening, I would not go there if I wanted to hear my table companions!

@ Another disappointed customer

Servers are lotteries. I have been in many places on consecutive nights where the server was great one night and a different server the following night was horrible. In fact, this happened with the exact same server on two consecutive weekends. On the night we attended 154 our server was outstanding. She knew everything cold.

The timing and most of the courses until the entrees were excellent. Then "At this point the service slowed to a painful crawl." My seat had a full view of the kitchen and the large clock in the dining area. There was a twenty-seven minute period, with a full restaurant, where nothing left the kitchen; then a few dishes emerged and then another extended period where nothing left. As far as the courses themselves, almost all of the early courses were excellent; if you note my ratings, three of the four entrees garnered a "Did Not Like."

November 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterJeff "jfood" Schlesinger

Sounds like it could be good, but I really hope the numerical naming scheme trend dies fast and hard.

November 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRK

Have been a few times with mixed results. However, we had lunch there yesterday and we both had the salmon. It was outstanding- the smoked tomato couloirs and maple glaze absolutely does work, sorry Jeff. We ordered it med-rare and it was perfect. I returned my spinach side as it was swimming in salt. The arugala salad was very good. Our server was efficient. When we asked about the apparent lack of a less expensive lunch menu, they said they were in the process of formulating, I would say this will be key, as the place was nearly empty for a Sunday afternoon at 100 pm. As we live nearby, we'll be happy to return soon.. NYT gave then a great review yesterday.

November 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSueiseman

Hey Sueiseman

I am glad you enjoyed the meal and the salmon. Looks like you and Brooks both received portions that were properly prepared, she stated the same positive about this course in her review. I am just not as big a sweet versus a savory fan with salmon, and I especially like a good red wine sauce.

With respect to the prices for lunch, I have made this same comment to restaurant owners throughout Fairfield County....they need to downsize both the portion and the price for lunch. Different part of the day, different expectations from the guest, different economics from a seat-time in the chair. We shall see.

Brooks had a lot of good things to say about the restaurant, but when I see the word "inedible" and "seriously oversalted" I struggle when I see the final score as their second highest tier, "Worth It." Over the last several years the NYT, on an annual basis, gave less than a handful of ratings in CT other than "Worth It" so I sorta view that rating as their down the middle from what I see.

BTW - I REALLY liked your comment on the taco truck..perfect. I guess everyone should be in a position to understand which meat is which. I will remember that for the future...great baseline. Thanks

November 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterJeff "jfood" Schlesinger

Amazing transformation. Visited Post 154 in its early days and was less than satisfied and vowed never to return (we could not decide which was worse, the food or the service). Due to unforeseen events we would up at Post last night, expecting the worst. It was one of the BEST dining experiences we have had in a long time. The new management team has done a fabulous job, from training the staff (kudos to Avery) to narrowing the focus of the menu. The chef is able to concentrate on his kitchen now and it shows in every dish. Tried 3 appetizers (tots, empanadas,lobster rolls), each was a stand out. Sampled 3 entrees (steak, branzino, pasta with shrimp) and 2 desserts (tres leches,bread pudding). Still thinking about the sauce on the fish - I wanted to lick the plate! Portions are generous and priced well. Was lucky enough to grab a table on the patio so it was a perfect night for us. The vibe of the place is very different too, less of a "scene". (For me, it is the little touches that show how well management does its job. The hostess was quick to move a too loud outdoor speaker that was too close to our table without us pointing it out to her.) Job well done guys - reviewers take note - you have to re-visit Post 154. (Maybe they should have changed the name too to erase all the negative mojo surrounding the old Post 154.) We are thrilled to add this place to our list of go to spots!

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterekg

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