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Through Rain, Hail, Sleet or Snow—Post 154 Delivers The Culinary Goods

Executive Chef Alex Rosado [Photo: Tom McGovern]

Executive Chef Alex Rosado
[Photo: Tom McGovern]

When you  make the decision to house a restaurant in a former post office building, you’d better make damn sure you can deliver. Executive Chef Alex Rosado took up residence in the historic building with the limestone and brick façade and in August 2013 opened Post 154, a restaurant with a focus on exceptional food and drink.

Post 154’s interior—featuring high vaulted ceilings, spacious, large murals, gorgeous oak wood and stone flooring, custom coach lanterns, and booths and banquettes with total seating for 268 throughout—is stunning to look at, but try as you might, you just can’t eat ambience. It’s a good thing the food at Post 154, self-described as “world class creative cuisine,” is mouthwatering and appetizing.

While not honing in on any specific type of cuisine with the moniker of world class creative, it would be easy to characterize Post 154 as being all over the culinary map. However, one should view the menu as an offering of cuisine that straddles international boundaries with ease and finesse. Dishes touch on regional flavors as well as having heavy Latin influences.

The Small Plates section of both lunch and dinner menus offer selections from land, air and sea. While I don’t like to play favorites, in this case I feel compelled to do just that. Chef Rosado’s Eggplant “Meatball” Parmesan was simply stunning. That this culinary creation was meatless made it that much more extraordinary. Had I not known, I never would have known. Bathed in a luscious tomato gravy with three cheeses, herbs and the intoxicating aroma of truffles permeating the dish, I practically begged Chef Rosado for the recipe. Having failed that, I can wax poetic, if only in my mind, at the thought of the tasty memory that lingers …

When I hear the phrase ‘tater tots,’ I am immediately thrust back into my childhood elementary school cafeteria where there were tots aplenty. As uncouth children, some tater tots we ate, others we used as exploding projectiles, still others were stashed in pockets for later use during recess as slingshot ammunition. The Crab Tater Tots at Post 154 fall into the Must Eat category. The crispy bites were tiny enough to be poppable and weren’t weighed down with a heavy fried feeling. Although light on crab meat, the bites were not lacking that wonderful crustacean flavor and, when dipped in the tangy lemon Verbena ketchup, the essence was amplified.

Another dish not to miss was the Duck Confit Taquitos, also a Small Plates selection. Confit in and of itself is wonderful; when it is duck confit, it crosses over into another realm of deliciousness … just as these taquitos did. This was finger food at its very best. Each dainty piece was topped with guacamole and a smattering of robust cotija cheese that punched in the mouth.

Duck Confit Taquitos

Duck Confit Taquitos

For mussel lovers, allow The Bowl of Mussels to work its way into your psyche and you’ll emerge on the other end with a smile on your face. That the dish is served in a bowl with a slice of crusty bread makes perfect sense—the natural mussel nectar, smoked chorizo, shallots, roasted garlic and saffron wine infused broth give a warm and hearty welcome to the PEI mussels. When the molluscs are gone, there’s that alluring smoky broth—which is so good you could pour it in a cup and sip lovingly on it—just waiting to be sopped up.

The Bowl of Mussels

The Bowl of Mussels

If ribs are your thing, don’t miss the 24-hour braised St. Louis Style Ribs with chile BBQ and liquid black beans. The phrase “fall off the bone” is often hurled about with reckless abandon, however, at the risk of sounding pedestrian, that is exactly what these ribs were. The full-bodied flavor went beyond the meat and penetrated into the bone. Mango slaw lent a slight tropical flair to the dish without stealing the thunder from the ribs. Once you’ve had these ribs, you’ll want a do-over.

Sometimes with the good comes the not so good. While there were definitely hits of the evening, there were also a few misses. The Plantain “Tostones,tiny medallions of fried plantains served with Aioli Criollo, were dry and robbed of their natural sweetness. The aioli helped, however, unfortunately not enough to give this dish a check mark in the win column.

While I appreciated Chef Rosado’s ode to the south with the Scallops & Grits (a spin on shrimp and grits), the grits faltered a bit with the addition of the smoked ham jus. Mind you, the flavor profile was brilliant; however, the jus rendered the grits too thin and runny. Conversely, the scallop was seared golden on the outside and the subtle sweet richness was allowed to take center stage.

Scallops & Grits

Scallops & Grits

Dinner at Post 154 was a veritable cornucopia of food, and I’ve only skimmed the surface of the many dishes that were sampled on this particular evening. Some of the signature dishes at Post 154 include Lobster Quesadillas; The Hamburger Experience with Krystal Caves cheddar, pork belly, avocado and enchilada sauce; Chicken & Mushrooms with risotto parmigiano and French peas, and more.

But what is a meal without dessert?

Post 154 rolled out a few decadent sweets to tempt the palate. Tres Leches has always been a favorite of mine, and resting in a tiny lake of wild berry stew, this was one of the better bites of tres leches that I’ve had in a spell.

Tres Leches [Photo: Tom McGovern}

Tres Leches
[Photo: Tom McGovern}

And while the Chocolate Flan gets kudos for its creamy, whipped texture that melted on the tongue, I raise my fork in salute to the extraordinary Apple Empanadas. It’s not just that the cinnamon crisp outside gave way to a luscious sweet filled inside; it’s not just that I could have swam in the goodness of the red hot cinnamon dip; it’s not just that the liquid cream cheese is the stuff of which dreams are made; it was that, and more. The half-moon shaped pastries ended the evening on a decidedly favorable note.

Apple Empanada  [Photo: Tom McGovern]

Apple Empanada
[Photo: Tom McGovern]

Post 154 is a recent addition to Westport. In the world of cuisine, restaurants come and go. Let’s hope that Post 154 remains on the scene for a long time to come.

Post 154

154 Post Road E
Westport, CT 06880
203-454-0154

Hours of operation:
Bar: Noon – “CT legal closing time”
Lunch: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Dinner: 5:30 pm – 12:00 am

Happy Hour: 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

— Valet parking is available evenings only —

DISCLOSURE: I have no material relationship to any brand(s) or person(s) mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this dining impressions article are my own. This was a complimentary promotional meal, and I received no further compensation from Post 154, their representatives or any related entities.

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