Carlson's Landing -Quintessential New England
New Waterside Restaurant and Gathering Place Prepares to Make a Splash in Downtown Essex
Spearheaded by seasoned restaurateur Robert Rabine, the founder of the perennial favorite Cafe Routier in Westbrook, CT, Rabine worked his way through college at San Diego State University in the restaurant business learning foodservice operations from the ground up. After twenty years of fine dining experience in California, Rabine headed east, landing in New Haven, CT at Robert Henry's Restaurant with the great Jo McKenzie and John Pierre Vuillermet. He opened the original Café Routier in Old Saybrook in 1997 and moved the operation to Westbrook in 2003, ultimately selling in 2005. He is the former Food and Beverage writer for The Shoreline Times, among other publications, with over 300 published recipes and restaurant reviews.
Overlooking the Connecticut River and the River Museum, the new structure exudes quintessential New England charm. Its stately façade gives way to a fresh, open, and tastefully articulated interior. The restaurant’s gray and white canvas is punctuated by its custom mahogany tables and bar by local cabinet maker Bruce Therott. Spectacular oceanic artwork by local artist Melissa Barbieri, widely known for her meditations on things related to the sea, has adorned the space with large scale oil paintings of nautical abstracts and sea creatures. Wrapped in Brazilian mahogany decking, with custom stainless rigging by Greyson Metalworks, outdoor seating is available in season. The intimate dining room seats 30, plus added seating at the bar for 20.
The menu is executed by Johnson & Wales alum Chef Kyle Bledsoe whose kitchen cred includes classical training under Chef Pascal Barbot of Astrance in Paris, France, as Chef de Cuisine at Arrive Hotel in Palm Springs, CA and the Head Chef at The Danforth Inn in Portland, ME. Embracing both land and sea, the all-day menu is seasonally and geographically inspired. Menu highlights include; local oysters; Mexican styled scallop aguachilie with lime and pickled jalapeno; massaged kale salad with candied walnuts, celery, apple, and buttermilk green goddess dressing; and Mediterranean fish soup prepared with salt cod, rice, tomato, basil, and EVOO. Off the grill customers can look forward to a flavorful swordfish BLT with local tomatoes and caper aioli; tender octopus with fingerling potatoes, roasted tomato, garlic, olives, and parsley; and juicy burgers and steaks.
Fish house favorites include a classic fishwich, deviled crab fritters, fried calamari with pickled sweet peppers and chipotle aioli, a buttery lobster roll, and market-fresh fish. Chef is also steaming little neck clams in ham broth and charred leeks and making a unique dish of tuna meatballs with pomodoro sauce and grilled crostini.
The beverage program compliments the restaurant’s menu – combining the old with the new. Classic martinis, premium spirits, creative cocktails, craft beer, and an all-American curated wine list can be enjoyed throughout the day, after a day on the boat, and late night with friends.
Soft Opening October 9. All-day Bar Menu to Start. Full menu to follow.
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 11:30 AM-9 PM (Closed Tuesdays)
Friday & Saturday 11:30 AM-10:00 PM
Sunday 3:00-9:00 PM
63 Main Street, Essex, CT 06426