Feb 16, 2012
01:25 PM
Café Connecticut

A Winner in Darien


Darien Social, brand-new in Darien, looks like a solid hit. At a press dinner there last night, a scant two weeks after it opened, we found the bar (lots of wood and exposed brick) packed with happy campers, and just a few tables unoccupied (not for long) in the dining room.

It’s not hard to see why the place has caught on so fast. For one thing, it's directly across the street from the railroad station, making it an awfully tempting stop-in for evening commuters. Plus, it’s a warm, inviting, totally unpretentious place headed by a team of seasoned restaurant professionals; there are 31 beers on tap (“Flights available!,” the menu blares); and the crowd-pleasing menu features creative renditions of comfort-food favorites. 

There are lots of interesting snacks and small plates (Dry Rub Wings with house-made blue cheese and hot sauce, delicious pork belly sliders with slow-cooked tomato aioli, pork spareribs with chipotle glaze); excellent crackly-crusted pizzas (wild mushroom, artichoke, bbq. short rib); and intriguing sounding burgers (the signature burger has slow-cooked onion and black pepper truffle mayo). Entrées include roast chicken, fish-and-chips and New York strip.

The chef is Nick Bilello (formerly of Tenero and Burger Bar & Bistro in Norwalk), a dependable hand in the kitchen, and the place is open seven days a week from 11:30 till the wee hours.

A quote on the menu attributed to Ben Franklin sort of sums up the feel of the place for me: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Darien Social, 10 Center St., Darien, 203/614-8183, dariensocialct.com.




A Winner in Darien

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