Washington Prime recently opened at the entrance to the SONO “Ironworks” on the corner of Washington and North Water Streets and is already garnering positive feedback and enormous crowds each night. I recently visited for a private tasting with the chef and the owners and then returned with friends a few nights later for a full dinner. The vibe on that Saturday night was alive, hip with great music filling the space. Couches outside were filled and every table inside was occupied.
The menu is divided into several sections. In the "SOUPS / SALADS" I highly recommend the N.E. CLAM CHOWDER. The creamy base was smoky and filled with Little Neck Clams, sweet corn and small diced potatoes, a great combination. I was less pleased with the two salads. The PRIME WEDGE had great flavors but the inclusion of red pepper flakes made certain bites too spicy. I loved the idea of the poached egg oozing when sliced on the GRILLED CAESAR but the cheese overwhelmed the other milder components. The BEETS were marinated and pickled and were too sour for my taste.
Two of the “SMALL PLATES” were delicious. The OCTOPUS was my favorite. It was incredibly tender and the addition of duck fat roasted potatoes, sliced pickled onions, and halved cherry peppers was great. I also loved the POUTINE, crispy French fries, topped with the oxtail ragu, and finished with scallions and foie gras powder. The fries were crispy on the exterior and soft on the inside, and balanced the texture of the braised oxtail. The DEVILED EGGS had a lot of ingredients, and I really liked the other options.
The Large Plates brought my two favorite dishes. The 18 OZ RIBEYE was incredible, simply seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked under a 900-degree broiler. The result was a perfectly seared, crusted exterior, while the interior was brought to the requested medium-rare. The PRIME BURGER was topped with melted two-year old Vermont Cheddar cheese, a slice of mildly pickled Lucky Real Tomatoes, and shredded smoked lettuce, sitting atop an Umami Bomb sauce and encased in a brioche bun. It was fantastic and probably one of the top 10 in Fairfield County. For a milder option, the LOCAL BASS was a pleasant combination of mild Mediterranean flavors, served with a salad comprised of pear, celery, tomatoes and cucumbers. A swath of Tzatziki sauce finished the presentation. The filet was cooked superbly (a little more salt when finished is my preference) and the diced fruit and vegetable salad delivered a bright and light complement.
Service could stand a little improvement. Our server was a little aggressive on upselling, somewhat inattentive and could use a deeper knowledge of the menu.
Overall, Washington Prime is another great addition to the culinary landscape in SONO.
To see a full review of my private tasting and dinner please go to:
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