Fairfield has a pretty solid food scene and we, as a blog, are guilty that we haven’t written many Fairfield-based reviews. Personally, I’m even more shocked that I’ve never been to The Chelsea. It’s over three years old, so I definitely had time for a visit or two (at least), but what’s even more criminal is that I’m a fan of Chef/Owner Matt Storch’s food and I’ve been a customer at his other restaurant, Match, for a while now. So what’s my excuse? I don’t really have one. When the invite came up for a tasting prepared by Chef Storch, Chef de Cuisine Eric Felitto, and staff at The Chelsea, I jumped on it immediately.
|Chef Matt Storch (left) & Chef Eric Felitto (right) are all smiles after feeding the hungry bloggers.|
The Chelsea is located in a busy section of Fairfield, but right off the Post Road and in close proximity to the Fairfield Metro-North Station. At night, you can especially find plenty of parking nearby or across the street at closed businesses, but The Chelsea does have its own lot if you can find a place.
|The cocktails were pretty badass too. For me, the Chelsea Old Fashioned, made with bourbon and rye with the addition of house made spices and raisin mash, was the go-to. Sweeter than a typical Old Fashioned but I dug it.|
Inside, you’ll find a hip, casual vibe that’s good for date night, families, or even just kicking it at the bar with your crew. In other words, it’s unpretentious, and great for any occasion. When you go, bring a serious appetite, there’s a LOT of terrific food to be had.
|A light and refreshing amuse. Tuna Crudo: slivered raw tuna macerated in soy-yuzu-truffle, jalapeño, rice crackers, cukes & avocado blocks|
|Can’t ever go wrong ordering bacon. Believe dat!|
The menu shows flashes from different cuisines but I like to call it “American with influences.” Either way, it’s creative and flat-out fantastic. In a few dishes I saw similarities between those at The Chelsea and those at Storch’s other previously mentioned South Norwalk hotspot. Similar but different, and I thought it made for a fun game of comparison. One of those reminiscent items is the Bacon (thick cut steakhouse style bacon, roasted grape & SPICY cherry pepper-molasses glaze), at Match it’s a bit spicier and served with fresh mozzarella to cool it down, and the version at The Chelsea is a bit on the sweeter side because of the combo of the molasses and the grapes. I always get up for bacon and this salty/sweet dish is a winner every time, at both places.
|Burger Porn like whoa.|
The Chelsea Burger (Craft Butchery ground beef, brioche, cheddar dip, sweet-sour onions, bacon bits, fries & pickles) is another one, but it’s the exact burger you can get at Match (Thursday for Burger Night, offered as a special on Fridays). I could essentially give the burger its own post, I love it THAT much. It’s everything a burger should be; juicy, cooked medium rare, the bun holds up, and it’s a good mix of sweet from the onions and saltiness from the bacon and cheddar. The Match, errrrrrrrr, I mean, Chelsea Burger still holds a top spot in my Fairfield County rankings. If you’re wondering if there’s a special burger night, there’s not, it’s available at The Chelsea EVERY SINGLE DAY.
|Row of duck buns|
|Single duck bun. Not pictured: Duck bun all up in my mouth. Gone in seconds though.|
|In bed, late, you + China ribs, gettin all sloppy. That’s a good night!|
What you’ll also see on the menu are Asian influences. I know for a fact that Chef Storch always brings a little Asian flavor to the table but so does Chef Felitto who told us he has a background in Asian cuisine. We got to experience that very thing in the Duck Buns (hoisin glazed confit leg of duck, scallions, cilantro, sprouts, toasted sesame seeds) and in the sweet, sticky, fall-off-the-bone tender China Ribs, from what Chef Felitto joked is an “Ancient secret recipe.”
|Burrata: roasted kabocha squash, warm fall squash sauce, spiced honey, pumpkin seeds & kabocha doughnut.|
|Pasta duo! The gnocchi and butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sage.|
|Muscle. Muscles. Mussel. Mussels. Doesn’t matter. All good.|
|Chicken Scarp for days.|
While everything was extremely brag-worthy, I was partial to the light, ricotta gnocchi in a well-salted Bolognese-like sauce made with pomegranate braised short ribs and I was pleasantly surprised by the “bucket” of mussels in a coconut, saffron, kaffir lime, smoky mescal broth. Mussels aren’t usually my thing but I could’ve eaten the whole bowl. My big winner was the Chicken Scarpiello, yeah, a classic dish, and sometimes pretty ordinary but this was the best version I can remember having anywhere. The pan roasted chicken was succulent and the skin was still crispy, the cherry peppers brought the heat and the addition of smashed and fried red bliss potatoes was an upgrade over just plain old boiled spuds. I have to order this on a future visit.
|Ending on a warm and sweet note. Gotta love a good apple crumble.|
Usually I’d have some nitpicky thing to say about some dish or elements of one but I honestly have no critiques this time. I liked everything. There’s no more real advice or convincing here, but if you decide to go, bring your appetite. You’ll need it.
12 Unquowa Place
Fairfield, CT 06824