1 The chalkboard sign at the entrance to The Whelk, located at 575 Riverside Avenue, near the Westport Train Station.
2 By day, sunlight floods this sparsely decorated handsome space. The long benches beneath the windows are reminiscent of old park benches. Everything in the restaurant was made in the USA.
3 The long bar is topped with white marble and the walls are lined with white subway tile. The room has a nice clean look that's sort of like a cross between the South of France and Maine.
4 The ever-changing menu features many savory choices and a few sweet ones for meal's end.
5 Owner and Chef Bill Taibe was found busy at work in his sun-lit kitchen, filleting that day's sustainable catch to prepare for that night's dinner menu.
6 Dinner seating is Tuesday - Saturday 5-9:30PM. The restaurant was packed.
7 The Whelk seats fifty-four and, unless you get there early, reservations are advisable.
8 The dinner menu features sustainable seafood from local and regional sources. Bill enjoys getting to know and understand each and every one of his purveyors.
9 The extensive and interesting wine list comes from all parts of the world, but are all sourced from sustainable wineries that are farmer grown and produced.
10 The napkins are nice soft bar cloths.
11 Dan, Sophie, and Charlie
12 Laura and Randy
13 We started off by sharing some Jonah Crab Cocktail Claws with Maryland Mayo and Slaw.
14 The crab claws were very meaty and the Maryland Mayo had just the right amount of zest.
15 Also, Smoked Trout Dip, Roe, Fried Crispy Skin, served with Crackers and Parker House Rolls
16 And the Warm Crab Fondue, Grits, Sea Urchin, Tobiko, and Fried Onions
17 The Crab Fondue is also served with crackers.
18 Of course, Shucked Oysters - Big Rock, Island Creek, Wellfleet, Peter's Point
19 These boat-to-table oysters were excellent and tasted of the sweet, briny sea.
20 It was Charlie's first time eating oysters and he loved them!
21 Smile Sophie!
22 Smile Dan!
24 Massimo Tulio is the co-owner and General Manager of The Whelk.
25 Massimo Tulio, a wine expert, designed an extensive list of hand-crafted wines for The Whelk.
26 He made excellent suggestions for our enjoyment, like this Austrian Grüner Veltliner Nikolaihof Wachau Hefeabzug. This crisp white wine had very pleasant citrus aromas and was slightly briny on the tongue - perfect for seafood.
27 Owner Taibe says that Tullio 'has a fun, young approach to wine that’s not at all stuffy.'
28 I sampled the Brown Butter Shad Roe, Beets, Capers, Bacon and Onion Pickles.
29 This is the Local Whelk and Shiitake Middlins, Risotto Style.
30 Bill came out of his very busy kitchen to say hello.
31 Dan enjoyed the Fried Chicken Sandwich, Pimento Cheese, B & B Pickles, and Fries
32 Randy ordered the Lamb Burger - Ryan Fibiger, at Saugatuck Craft Butchery, just across the plaza and featured recently on my blog, provides Bill with the lamb for these very succulent burgers. http://craftbutchery.com/
33 Sophie ordered the Oyster Loaf Sandwich on Allie's Brioche, Served with Tartar Sauce and Slaw.
34 Charlie enjoyed Roasted Cobia, Potato Puree, Brussels, Porky-Chicken Jus.
35 This is the Blackened Sea Bass, Quinoa, Black Olive, Blood Orange Butter.
36 Laura loved this plate of Roasted Sea Scallops from Maine, Seaweed Potato Puree, Caviar and Buttermilk.
37 Another great wine - Tanatis from the South of France - Served with dessert, this is a dark fruit bouquet with blackcurrant and plum notes - A very elegant wine.
38 We tried the Magic Bars, with Butterscotch and Sea Salt.
39 And the Whoopie Pies
40 And the Vanilla Panna Cotta with Blood Orange - So delicious and pretty!
41 Artisan Cheeses with Joe Froggers (a spiced molasses cookie), and Cherries
42 Meyer Lemon Posset with Cornmeal Cookies
43 After our excellent meal, I popped into Bill's gleaming and sizable new kitchen to wish him well.