Eastend is the latest addition to Z Hospitality’s expanding portfolio of quality restaurants in Fairfield and Westchester Counties, joining Sole, Mediterraneo, Terra, Aqua and Aurora. Located at the bottom of Greenwich Avenue in the space formerly occupied by Primary Restaurant, it recently opened, 25 years to the week after Mediterraneo up the avenue.
Overseeing the menu is Executive Chef Albert DeAngelis. Chef Albert joined Z Hospitality Group as Executive Chef in 1989 and has been the creative vision behind the group’s Mediterranean-style bistros. Joining him in the kitchen is Chef Matt McNerny, a graduate of the CIA and formerly the chef du cuisine at Aurora in Rye and Sole in New Canaan.
The overall feel of Eastend is relaxed, an escape from the hustle and bustle immediately outside. The bar is located to the right of the entrance with eight hemp backed stools and four high top tables. The four beers on tap include Half Full, Captain Lawrence IPA, Allagash White and Founders Breakfast Stout with seven additional labels in bottles. The main, recently redecorated, dining room overlooks the open kitchen and offers 50-55 leather back or banquette seats. With soft lighting, large mirrors adorning one wall and sepia toned farm scenes on the other, the room is upscale, yet soft and cozy.
Unlike its sister restaurants with a contemporary Mediterranean focus, Eastend’s cuisine highlights modernized American classics. During its opening week, Z Hospitality invited CTbites to sample several items on Chef Albert’s new menu.
Two of the “Starters” were fantastic. The first was the “Wild Mushroom Arancini, Black Truffle Butter, Parmesan Cheese.” Five ping-pong ball sized orbs were served with slices of Parmesan Cheese sitting in drizzles of Black Truffle Butter. The arancini were crispy on the exterior while maintaining a soft consistency throughout and when combined with the wild mushrooms, celery root and rice offered a wonderful earthiness, further enhanced by the truffle butter. The Parmesan added nuttiness to the dish.
The other outstanding starter was the Pork Belly. A moist Bourbon glazed section of belly was nestled in a mound of popcorn grits and topped with thinly sliced pickled onions. The popcorn grits were prepared by cooking popcorn in milk and butter and strained to remove the tough kernels. It delivered toasty back notes of corn which complemented the rich meat and the sweetness of the bourbon. The pickled onions were a delightful offset to the other ingredients.
For a lighter option, choose the Scallop Crudo. Thinly sliced scallops were paired with juliennes of radish, orange segments, saltwort and finished with a citrus brown butter. The scallops were the focus of the presentation with differing tastes from the accompanying ingredients. The interplay between the sweet oranges, bitter radish and the saltwort created a wonderful balance that was complemented by the nuttiness of the brown butter.
I was not as fond of the Spa Salad. The salad contained chick peas, avocado, edamame and finished with a yogurt herb dressing. There were varying textures, and I found the combination a bit off-putting, and the ingredients were not as flavorful as I would have expected.
My least favorite of the Starters was the C.A.B. Hand Cut Steak Tartare. The tartare contained capers, shallots, Worcestershire sauce, and chives, and was topped with thinly sliced shallots marinated in Cabernet, honey and raspberry vinaigrette. The Worcestershire sauce overwhelmed the beef, and fought with the sliced shallots.
There were three entrées that I thought were outstanding; the Bronzino Filets, the Braised Duck Tacos and the Amish Chicken Breast.
Two Bronzino filets (pictured at the top) were served atop smoked chorizo, potatoes and drizzles of parsley-lemon sauce. The filets were perfectly grilled with a mildly crisp exterior while maintaining a moistness throughout. The sweetness of the Mediterranean fish was wonderfully complemented by the spiciness of the chorizo and elevated with the acidity of the parsley-citrus sauce. This was a delightfully balanced and composed dish.
The Duck tacos included two single tortilla topped with a mound of chipotle braised duck, thinly sliced red onions and cilantro. It was accompanied with Pico de Gallo, a traditional green sauce plus a bowl of rice and black beans. The braised duck delivered a medium level of spiciness, with a slight pungency from the onions. Add some of the green sauce for a delicious combination. The rice and beans were excellent.
The other outstanding dish was the Amish Chicken Breast. It was served over a medley of barley, smoked pork shank and chanterelle mushrooms, nestled in a natural chicken jus. The combination of the fragrant chicken, rich pork shank and deep jus was fantastic and then the chanterelles kicked in with their deep, rich flavor. The portion size was a little scant and I would prefer either a larger breast or a half-chicken similar to those served at its sister restaurants. (I was told that they are looking to source a slightly larger bird in the near future).
I also enjoyed the Seafood Cioppino. This traditional San Franciscan fish stew contained a large portion of king crab, shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari and snapper all swimming in a mild tomato-based broth, accented with fennel. All of the fish was perfectly prepared, soft, moist and full of flavor. The broth was a little under-seasoned and if there was a little more zip to the dish it would have been excellent.
As we sat and discussed the various courses, the chef brought a Banana Split for us to share. Three scoops of vanilla ice cream were drizzled with caramel, chocolate and strawberry sauces, respectively and served alongside bruléed bananas and dusted peanuts. The ice cream was luscious and when combined with the other sweet treats made for a great ending to the meal.
Overall, Eastend is a wonderful addition to lower Greenwich Avenue, which has exploded with new restaurants over the last few years. With this newest restaurant only one week old when we visited, the food was excellent and I look forward to returning and enjoying many more meals under Chef Albert and Matt.
- Pork Belly ($12)
- Wild Mushroom Arancini ($12)
- Bronzino ($27)
- Duck Tacos ($19)
- Chicken Breast ($24)
- Banana Split
- Scallop Crudo ($14)
- Seafood Cioppino ($27)
Did Not Like
- Steak Tartare ($15)
- Spa Salad ($11)
409 Greenwich Ave. – Greenwich – CT 06830