The Essex

4.7
205 reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
Modern American Dining inspired by global flavors with 3 month pop up concepts.

Current Menu: A study of Brazil
(Except for Our Valentine's Menu running February 14th-16th).

The Essex provides an intimate 30 seat dining experience built around our double sided open fireplaces. Focused on our locally sourced products from the New England Family Farms, Fishermen, and our partner farms along the shore, we provide an elegant environment with an upscale experience geared towards a 3 course prix fixe for $55 and various tasting menu options. Our cuisine plays with the flavor profiles and techniques from around the world while staying rooted in classic concepts.
January-March Brazil
April-June Japan
July-September Peru
October-December French Occupation of India

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Sun 5:00PM - 6:30PM
Wed - Thu 5:00PM - 6:30PM

What 205 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.8
service
4.7
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Quiet
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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PG
New York Area
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Innovative food in nice atmosphere. Waitress was great actually listened!
Wine good but a little steep
Not cheap but worth it

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PS
London
19 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time at The Essex and it was wonderful. The prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu was delicious and just the right amount of food, beautifully presented. Our servers were attentive and well-versed.

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C
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This review is based on a Valentine's Day prix fixe dinner. Our waiter suggested my wife and I order everything to share between the multiple courses, which each had two options. Great suggestion, as we both loved almost everything served. And when we *both* didn't love a dish, at least *one* of us did. It was an imaginative, perfectly prepared meal, with two main themes - land, mostly meats, and sea, fish and lobster. The service was attentive, but not intrusive. The timing of the courses was very good, with only one noticeable delay between each. And the wine pairing were spot on. Kudos to chef Colt Taylor, for not only his menu design, but who personally served some plates, checked on us during the meal, and warmly thanked all his patrons as they left.

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CG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The cozy atmosphere was wonderful on Valentines Day! The food was AMAZING!!! Every bite of the five-course meal was delicious and the perfect amount of food! The owner introduced himself to all of the guests, which added to our experience. We can’t wait to go back!

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R
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Would have rated the ambiance higher but we were stuck in an awkward corner table next to the fire, very disappointing for my first time and it being Valentine's dinner, however the food was interesting and very good

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BT
New York Area
25 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

we had a lovely dinner..besides the exceptional menu orders that we placed the chef delivered an arugula salad and two tasty between course treats..a wonderful dining experience!

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SW
New York Area
22 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We decided to try the fabulous tasting menu. What a treat! The chef changes the menu several times a year. When we went, it was Brazilian cuisine. It was so much fun to try the variety of foods and ingredients. I think we had about 8 different small plates ranging from fish to meats to sweets. The chef or our waiter explained each dish. It was truly an event, not just dinner out.

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OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely incredible, all around. From the service to the cocktails and food. The friendly waitstaff and chef explained each dish as it came out. Even more, as we were a bit unsure of some of the items on the menu, the chef came over with a tasting of a few of the items on the menu we did not order. My one critique is that I wish the waitstaff did a better job of explaining the menu before we ordered as we were left with no insight into the unusual Brazilian items on there, and as a result did not order many things we wish we had after tasting them from the chef.

Will definitely be back for the Japanese themed menu starting in April.

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GP
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hands down one of the best spots in CT. I can’t say enough about this food. We ordered the Omakase which is Japanese for “your choice or you decide” and WOW. If you are a fan of amazing culinary achievements this is a must visit!

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ME
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The meal was very nice- we did not have the tasting menu but I would like to go back and experience that. We had three different steaks, they were all delicious and cooked to perfection- had the scallop and oyster app also very nice. Service was top notch. overall a very nice evening

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TS
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

Limited Menu, poor service but cozy on a cold winter night

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SG
New England
5 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went to The Essex last Sat. night to celebrate our anniversary. Had a great table with Peter our waiter.

We have gone there several times and met other waiters and their suggestions are really helpful and they

really know their food and beverages Colt Taylor was the chef and he comes over and makes

sure that everything is perfect. It's a lovely restaurant with a quiet side and then a little more rambunctious

Mexican side ......which have yet to try. We will very soon. Thank you to The Essex for another memorable evening.

Susan and Michael Gula
Niantic, Ct

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 5

Expected more from this restaurant - our first experience dining at The Essex and it was a little underwhelming. Food was only so-so, service uneven. Glad we went during restaurant week and did not splurge on their more expensive menus.

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O
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing experience from beginning to end. Service was wonderful and our dinner was outstanding. I loved that the attention to detail was not spared in any aspect.

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JG
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I went for the taste of Middlesex Week Jan 2019. It was an incredible meal, and an outstanding value. I love how they change the menu every few months and prepare food based on a specific area of the world. They featured Brazil during our visit and it was really spectacular.

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BS
New England
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Probably the most enjoyable dinner we have had in the last couple of years! Delicious food, well thought out menu, great service and good wine at reasonable prices. We're making it one of our new "go-to" restaurants!

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WR
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 5

We understand what the chef is trying to do with the “concept meals” but it just missed the mark. This restaurant is for diners who are looking to enjoy experimental meals. No lettuce or potatoes on this menu. The one vegetarian dish was squash. Dried out, over cooked with puffed wheat, had no flavor. Steak frites was cold. Best part was the bread and desert.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Over all amazing experience both Chef and Sous chef came to our table and welcomed us and talked to us about their concept on their food. They were more than generous and very passionate about everything they’re doing. As a Chef I know when something is done with passion and love and their FOOD you can definitely taste the LOVE and FEEl the PASSION!!

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m
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The 3 course dinner was awesome with some very nice additions that were quite flavorable. This is not your usual restaurant!

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J
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

New menu was terrific. I had the black cod app and venison entree. Wife had the salmon and the short rib app. Everything was top notch. One of the best meals I have had in CT in over 20 years. I love this restaurant!

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AM
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a party of eight, one person with dietary restrictions, and the waiter was attentive, knowledgeable about the menu, the food was outstanding, the cocktails were excellent, the ambiance was lovely. I can't say enough good things about this experience. I look forward to going back.

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TR
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Creative, fun, unique menu. Food was excellent in wonderful environment. Server was knowledgeable and we had a very nice conversation with the owner/chef. An excellent additional reason to come to Essex, which is already one of our favorite Connecticut towns.

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MS
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful! Will go back for their tasting menu with wine pairing. Next time we’ll take our foodie friends

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OT
Key West
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food that was presently exquisitely! There were a few nice surprises from the Chef, like the beet, carrot, or garlic butter. The Chef also took time to visit guests at the table to describe the preparation of our meals.

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BM
Chicago
24 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 4

Portions were very small especially the salmon and the menu was confusing.

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DO
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We celebrated our anniversary at the Essex this week and it couldn’ Have been better. The food brought to our table by the chef was exquisite and creative While we ordered the three course fixed price we received three surprise additions, each showing off the chef’s substantial ability. The service was attentive and professional. The wine list had many good values. We’ll go back as often as possible

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

7 Course chef's tasting was catered to our liking as the courses progressed. Service was outstanding.

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LF
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great innovative dishes that take advantage of locally sourced food.

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L
New York Area
39 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love this restaurant for its innovation and sophisticated menu...I also enjoy the friendly, attentive service that lets me know that I am special and appreciated......the food is delicious! The menu changes frequently, to keep in tune with Colt, the executive chef who is an “ artist extraordinaire”...he has apprenticed under some of the finest chefs in many major cities across the US...google him...The fois gras is the best I have ever tasted..better than Daniels, the famous NY C restaurant. I look forward to trying the Mexican restaurant that shares space with The Essex.

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p
New York Area
15 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very high quality gourmet food. I loved my food selections, my husband not so much. But I think that's because he didn't understand the menu descriptions. Example, First course selection of mousse puree was sweet (not expected) even though honey was mentioned on the menu. Second course of short ribs was wrapped in dough (not expected). So my recommendation would be to ask the server lots of questions before ordering. Very attentive service. Nice casual modern atmosphere.

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JC
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Very creative menu and eclectic selections. Excellent attentive service. Options for prix fixe selection from the full menu and two omakase levels are somewhat unique. While not our go every week kind of place, we will come back again, especially as the menu evolves with the chef's creations.

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F
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Essex has never disappointed. Their inventive menu, coupled with a thought out wine list, makes for a memorable event. Go with confidence!

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s
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We dine frequently around SE Ct, and for some reason hadn't been to Essex before. We also travel extensively in Europe and elsewhere. Our meal far surpassed that of any restaurant we have visited anywhere in CT, and, really, anywhere in the world! The 3 course price fix was very fairly priced, particularly considering that we received some 5-7 small, surprise items between each course with a wide range of imaginative flavors. My Halibut was cooked what was called in the style of Japan, steamed. Very fresh, moist and tender. The wines were also fairly priced. A good selection by the glass. The atmosphere was terrific too. All tables surrounding a fireplace in the center of the dining room. I marked down one star for ambience only because several of the tables involved couches that were not comfortable. (They graciously found a table with chairs for us). The servers were terrific. I dropped a star for service only because they were so busy with delivering the added items between courses that everything felt a little rushed, and they didn't have time to really talk with you. Perhaps adding a server would help.

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PC
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Excellent place for dinner with unusual and somewhat limited menu selection owing to emphasis on local and sustainable. Comfortable, uncrowded and unrushed. Great place for a night out. Prices a little higher than other restaurants in area but you get what you pay for.

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l
New York Area
28 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

well done! we are thrilled with all the changes with the restaurant. Peter our waiter is the best!

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JR
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Wonderful dining experience. Very creative cuisine.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Amazing food with plenty of small plate surprises. The quality and consistency that comes from this kitchen is amazing.

They hit every note and made the meal feel like an adventure. It’s a great reminder that food can be so much more.

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JB
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Connecticut more inventive restaurants like this one in the state. Rarely do you find this level of attention to detail with the cuisine in addition to the service.

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AC
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were delighted to be seated right next to a burning fireplace, and the tables were spaced so that we didn't feel crowded. All 4 of us ordered the 3-course tasting dinner for $55 per person. There were, in fact, several mini courses added to the 3 courses, each and every one mouth wateringly delicious and inventive. The food was scrumptious and beautifully presented. Service was fabulous, and though we sat for 3 1/2 hours catching up with old friends, we never felt rushed. The owner came out to chat about the menu and check up on how we were doing a couple of times, which was great. All in all, we loved it. A bit expensive for every day, but worth every penny!

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just a charming, pleasant experience all around. The food was better than you'd expect to find in rural Connecticut but a welcome surprise. My girlfriend and I visited with another couple we're friends with and we all had a wonderful time. The service was attentive, professional, and very friendly and the chef came out to visit us on numerous occasions.

The ambiance is laid back, semi-formal but comfortable, and kind of a modern rustic vibe. There's a fireplace in the middle of the room and a soft buzz from the bar in another area of the restaurant humming through the walls. It was quiet the weekday night we went in but it's a small dining room so I can imagine it fills up on busy nights and might not be as quiet then.

The food was great, I'd guess locally sourced but not 100% sure on that and even the dishes we didn't expect to love were fantastic.

It's priced to fine dining but that's apparent up front so you won't have any surprises going into it, it was well worth it in my opinion. Four of us had three course meals with drinks and spent around $300 including tip.

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