The Essex

4.5
130 reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
Top Tags:
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Worth the Drive
  • Special Occasion
Wrapped around our fully open kitchens, The Essex is a world of action. Focused on our locally sourced products from the New England Family Farms, Fishermen, and our partner farm in Old Lyme Long River Farm, we provide an energetic environment with an upscale casual a la carte style cuisine that plays with the flavor profiles and techniques from around the world while staying rooted in classic concepts. Eat, drink and be merry!
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
American, Gastro Pub, Contemporary American
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Hours of operation
Brunch
Sun 11:00 am–3:00 pm
Lunch
Tue–Sat 11:00 am–3:00 pm
Happy Hour
Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–7:00 pm
Fri, Sat 4:00 pm–6:00 pm
Dinner
Tue–Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
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Phone number
(860) 237-4189
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Colt Taylor
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Essex Steam Train
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Parking details
Parking in Rear
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Specials

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Tue - Fri 5:00PM - 6:00PM 8:00PM - 9:00PM
Sat 5:00PM - 6:00PM

Reviews from verified diners
130 reviews
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Outstanding
70%
Very Good
17%
Good
6%
Fair
6%
Poor
1%
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined a day ago

Perfect evening in every way imaginable. All I can say is that if you haven’t been, go now. If you have, go again. The fish is the freshest and best I’ve had in the state by far. Absolutely love the pizza and meatball shop they just opened. They are doing so much to try and bring life to a stuck up closed minded community... and their level of delivery is unparalleled by anything in the area! Fluke and salmon to die for

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4.0Dined 5 days ago

We want The Essex to be great. The remodeling and decor are well done. The food, both times we’ve been there, was great. The menu is different, lots of apps, Pizza, drinks, but limited main courses - great, but limited. However, the service has room for improvement. This visit, I ordered a salad and a pizza, my wife ordered the fluke. The waitress told us that they came from different parts of the kitchen so she could not control when they came out - Really? She was right. I hadn’t finished my salad (and I was sharing it with my wife) and my Pizza arrived. They didn’t clean the salad plates. We shared half my Pizza before my wife received her fish. She ordered another glass of wine then but it hadn’t come yet when we were done eating. We will give it another chance because of the food, but I hope they work out the service issues.

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1.0Dined 5 days ago

Great service but... they were out of oysters, out of shrimp, all 4 dinners were lukewarm, all 4 dinners were just meh, some flavors were “off”, value was poor for $225 a couple. Disappointing evening.

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3.0Dined 5 days ago

We had heard about the Essex and wanted to try it. The food was uneven - some very tasty, some just ok. For example, the pork and lobster bisque had a very tasty soup base, but I expected more than one tiny piece of each in the soup. The bread pudding for dessert was a big hit, though.

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Great food and a great space.
Ambitious and varied menu to incent you to return for try something different
Excellent bar program.

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5.0Dined 6 days ago

Ever changing unique and delicious menu, fantastic mixologist Mykayla for unique and delicious cocktails. A great environment with an open concept. Colt owner and chef is personable and fantastic. What more can you ask for?

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5.0Dined 6 days ago

We live in Mystic and frequent some great restaurants in our area. We stumbled upon The Essex for a simple happy hour sign we drove by on the way to the ivoryton playhouse, and little did we know that we would be swept away in a world of food that bested Oyster Club, by a long shot. We are so excited to have discovered this hidden gem, and will be bringing many friends back!i

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5.0Dined 7 days ago

Dinner with son and daughter-in-law from Chicago

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5.0Dined on July 11, 2018

Wow! Wow!!! The only other place that I have had the priveledge of eating Ora King Salmon was at Restaurant Daniel in NYC! Such a simple and refreshing concept that was perfectly accentuating the rich fatty deliciousness of the fish. I love The Essex for everything that they do. The prices are so far below where they should be for the sourcing, quality and execution. And now there’s outdoor seating and a band! Love love love, highly recommend!

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3.0Dined on July 10, 2018

We had a gift certificate and we used it for our 20th wedding anniversary. The restaurant wasn’t quite what we had expected. Portions were small and everything seemed a bit overpriced. We can appreciate that everything was homemade but we’re not quite sure the food was worth the money. Our server was delightful, but the service was a little slow. She talked us into ordering gazpacho which was delicious but it literally was a thin layer just covering the bottom of a small bowl. The french fries were overcooked and room temperature at best. I ordered the salmon and it was the smallest piece of salmon I’ve ever been served. Again, everything was delicious but just a bit overpriced. I don’t think we will be rushing back.

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5.0Dined on July 8, 2018

High quality ingredients, interesting drinks with expert bar tender and innovative menu. Always a good evening. The new patio will be a nice addition.

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4.0Dined on July 7, 2018

The food was eclectic but excellent overall. Described it as fancy pub food. The open kitchen was a nice touch. There was a little hitch with entrees being served at the same time as the appetizers and utensils being taking away and then returned. Probably new waiting staff. Chef was attentive and went around asking is our meals were very good. Market had some good items. Fresh fish on ice but was pricey - as the Chef had warned us about. Had the curry mussels which went well with the pretzel bread side order. Truffle fries was a hit with the kids. The steak entree was good. The beignet dessert was TDF. Would return.

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2.0Dined on July 7, 2018

We dine out frequently and this was our first time at The Essex. We found the food to be average—under-seasoned and uninspired. In addition, appetizers and entrees were overpriced. Service was inattentive. Cafe Routier, Fresh Salt, or Aspen offer better experiences. Would not recommend.

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5.0Dined on July 7, 2018

Great atmosphere. Great food. Very different. Love the use of seasonal / local items
I like the open kitchen and that chef makes the rounds to chat with us.

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5.0Dined on July 6, 2018

We had an amazing anniversary dinner filled with laughs and fun and amazing food and drinks. There is nothing else like this in the state of Connecticut and we wish we lived closer so we may frequent more than once a month! Kudos to the staff and owner Chef Colt! It was so nice speaking with him and realizing how passionate he is!

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5.0Dined on July 5, 2018

Between taco and tequila on thursdays and burger night on tuesdays, and the pizza and meatball menu The Essex is doing so much for this small town to give them both what we want and not sacrifice quality with the regular upscale menu! We are so grateful to have these continued wonderful dinners in our backyard! Highly recommend!

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5.0Dined on July 1, 2018

Must try the Lobster Katsu!!! It’s amazing! Friendly table side visit by Sous Chef Bryan Ramirez! Also for dessert a new White Chocolate mousse topped with a Kaffir Lime & tequila sauce by Pastry Chef Meredith Sowell makes you feel like you’ve stepped right into summer!!!

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5.0Dined on June 26, 2018

Always a great meal! The dishes are expertly put together and never disappoints.

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5.0Dined on June 23, 2018

My wife and I enjoy traveling around Connecticut experiencing new Restaurant openings and highly rated ones we have yet to try, the latter are usually over- rated. We decided to go back to the Essex area, where we had not been for a while. Fortunately for us we landed at Essex, the restaurant. We could not have had a better time. The ambiance was upbeat, and the restaurant is laid out very well, the noise level varies from one section to another. We ate by the fireplace, one of the areas to the front of the building. We were able to converse and enjoy our meal with out having to say "what" at all. Service was on point, both servers were very friendly, attentive and helpful navigating the menu, which was not overwhelming. The food was Great! that's all I can say. Both of our meals were prepared to perfection and presented beautifully, I can't stress enough what a pleasure the Dining experience was. After dinner we went to the bar to have a after dinner drink where we met McKayla who is more much than a fine Mixologist. She was more than accommodating and entertaining, more than exceeding are expectations! We will be back with many of our friends.

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2.0Dined on June 23, 2018

The Essex is beautiful. The ambiance was terrific until someone turned on the overhead lights.
The service was also terrific. The menu is small and the selections were prepared in an unfamiliar way. Four of the five of us had strip steak and all of it was luke warm and one 7 oz service was half fat, so it was replaced. The chef came out and told us that the meat is prepared to "temperature" so a medium rare preparation would not be hot. I had a Caesar salad and it was small and disappointing. However, another serving of the green salad was abundant, and the bread was awesome. The steak was served with mac and cheese with a fancy name. It would be great to see a baked potato on the menu and some familiar green vegetables. We were told that the menus change weekly, so we would like to try it again. Maybe check the menu first.

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5.0Dined on June 23, 2018

Wow !Four of us dined at The Essex for the first time Saturday evening, We chose the Omakase Tasting Menu . All of the food was way above expectation. We had numerous savory courses which included Walu sashimi, Kona Kompachi, Salmon Tartare, Beef Tartare, Pork and Lobster ramen , Morels, and a Lobster tail over risotto. As each course arrived, we were delighted in the presentation and complexity of the flavors and textures. The desserts were equally as impressive with a Nutella /chocolate torte with homemade gelato, a berry and beignet medley and an interesting riff on cheesecake all provided by pastry chef Meredith.
Chef Colt greeted us at the start of the meal and then again near the end. Quite an approachable and skilled culinary artist. And thank you to Sous chef Brian.
The night was topped off by our very fine waiter Peter who provided witty running commentary and was spot on with the wine recommendations .

On of the best meals we have ever had in CT in 25 years !

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5.0Dined on June 22, 2018

Had a great time at The Essex! Our waiter was extraordinary- friendly,helpful, chatty, & helped describe the ordering options as it was our first time there. Pizza was delicious. I love how the kitchen is right there , all exposed, but you’d never know it was the kitchen right there !

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4.0Dined on June 21, 2018

Love the atmosphere of this place and have always had terrific service. Find the food can be terrific or just so so. On taco night tried three different kinds - beef, pork, and chicken. Were all a bit dry. Great cocktails. Had a fun dinner at the bar with delicious pizza and meatballs the week before.

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5.0Dined on June 20, 2018

Wait staff and service was superb!

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5.0Dined on June 17, 2018

$1 oysters on special, great cocktails and very imaginative main couses. We njoy the inventiveness of many of the dishes

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5.0Dined on June 17, 2018

Absolutely amazing experience for the sophisticated palate. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure that delivers, go see Chef Colt. He continually changes the menu, leads with passion, and got my husband to fall in love with raw fish with amazing product! This is our new go to once a week!

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5.0Dined on June 16, 2018

Frankie was the best

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4.0Dined on June 16, 2018

Warm and friendly greeting from our reception to the thank you as we left. The wait staff service was exceptional as well.
The food was outstanding and presented with flair. The Walu and the Salmon entrees were absolutely delicious as was the mushroom ragout appetizer.
After our desert the "Tasting of Chocolate which consisted of Dark & White Chocolate Mousse, Cocoa Bubbles, Milk Chocolate Shell" and coffee the owner stopped by to see how we enjoyed our meal.

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4.0Dined on June 15, 2018

Food excellent. Service subpar for type of restaurant. Felt like early season with new employees or understaffed evening.

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5.0Dined on June 15, 2018

The fact that this place exists, in Essex Connecticut, and does have a waiting list to fill every seat is astounding! The absolute best new restaurant, best restaurant, in Connecticut and in the running for James Beard IMO. We moved here 4 years ago from NYC, and nothing brings this level of passion, quality, and overall exceptional experience to the plate (pun intended)! We have been back 3 times since discovering and cannot get enough! AND now they launched a pizza meatball bar in the bathroom that takes me back to Roberta’s! I might just need a chair dedicated to me alongside a cot! Highly recommend and talk to the chef owner he is so knowledgeable and passionate!

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5.0Dined on June 12, 2018

Went for Burger nite. Excellent!

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5.0Dined on June 9, 2018

Creative and adventurous!

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5.0Dined on June 9, 2018

I’m not quite sure there is anywhere else in the state that even comes close to the creativity and execution of elevated cuisine as the Essex. All in all, this place delivers fine dining food and ambience and extremely casual prices With no dress code.It’s the perfect mix of two worlds and I highly recommend checking out the new pizza bar in making this place. Your go to dinner spot on the shore.

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5.0Dined on June 9, 2018

Inspired preparations, unusual fish and foraged ingredients, drink menu options are creative and tasty with out being cloying. Can observe to chefs at work. Best dinner rolls !!

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5.0Dined on June 9, 2018

The Essex was amazing. The food and kitchen staff knew what they were doing. The open kitchen concept works really well and they were a well oiled machine. I had a dietary restriction but Chef Taylor was happy to make the accommodation and the food was still tasty as ever! We got the omakase and it was well worth the value. Portions were huge, dessert was so delicious and you really were able to get a bit of everything. Very much enjoyed the meal and highly recommend. Loved that everything is locally sourced and made in-house. It makes a difference!

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5.0Dined on June 9, 2018

Our first time at The Essex for our anniversary and it was wonderful! Love the atmosphere and the food and drinks. We will be back!

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5.0Dined on June 8, 2018

First time to The Essex! A perfectly chilled “Rime” Vodka martini (bartender recommended recommended this smooth organic, locally made vodka). The freshly made brioche served warm with our perfectly pan roasted scallops with a corn & coconut chowder and the seared Walu with amazing asparagus were the best tasting food we have experienced in a very long time. Cannot wait to return!

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5.0Dined on June 3, 2018

We had a wonderful experience!! The food was outstanding and the service impeccable. The waitress was very kind and knowledgeable about the food. She helped us make great choices. The chef was personable and extremely friendly. I highly recommend this restaurant.

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5.0Dined on June 2, 2018

Great experience. Love the open kitchen. Staff were great. Definitely going back.

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2.0Dined on June 2, 2018

Mediocre food at inflated prices.

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