Walking into The Chelsea, Fairfield’s newest restaurant, feels like arriving at an incredible beach house. A cozy interior with muted décor sprinkled with pops of lime green opens directly onto a gorgeous patio, giving the restaurant a light and airy feel. Water served in recycled glass bottles and a minimalistic table setting add to the upscale-but-relaxed atmosphere. Unfortunately, while the prices at The Chelsea match this swanky decor, the food is simply not up to par.

The Chelsea features appetizers, salads and sandwiches starting at around $10, and entrees clocking in at around $20. However, with even simple items like a grilled cheese BLT priced at $12.95, this is definitely not the place to grab a cheap bite on a Saturday night. The restaurant, at first glance, held promise for Parents’ Weekend dinners and special occasions, but the disappointing food eliminated even that possibility.

The menu at The Chelsea is creative and well thought out, with items like “Scallops PB&J” that would take even the most experienced foodie by surprise. However, the food itself doesn’t hold up against the enticing descriptions.

An Asian-themed noodle bowl, for $20.95, promised “salt cured & hot smoked salmon, “shroom broth,” rice noodles, spiced tofu, and shaved cabbage.” This intriguing and creative combination, while great on paper, fell flat on the plate.

The dish was beautifully presented but was totally devoid of any interesting flavor– instead, the fish, tofu, vegetables and noodles all tasted like they had been soaked in soy sauce for hours. The overwhelming saltiness ruined the delicate flavor of the smoked salmon and overpowered the entire dish.

The Chelsea’s chance to redeem itself came at dessert, with a unique and modern take on the old-fashioned s’more for $7.95. The flavors were certainly stronger here than with the entree, but cold spots throughout the dessert gave the sense that it had been heated up in a microwave, which made for a less than ideal dessert experience. The bottom was also apparently burnt and difficult to eat – a disappointing ending to a disappointing meal.

Overall, The Chelsea has great potential to be a really incredible restaurant. With great service, a popular bar and a quintessential Fairfield style, this new spot has a lot going for it. However, if you’re on the hunt for expensive and overly salty food, you might as well just go to Barone. Hopefully, with time will come improvement – after all, The Chelsea has only been open for two short months. But until the food is more, well, edible, The Chelsea is not worth checking out.

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