Have you ever had an oyster slider? Your answer is probably no, but if this unique take on a staple bar dish piques your interest, read on.
Once again restaurateurs are at it again offering diners creative and inventive meals served in a setting lifted straight from a movie set. This time, next to their popular Mexican street food eatery , opens the Waterhouse Oyster Bar & Bistro, a nautical-themed restaurant serving artistically prepared seafood dishes alongside traditional raw bar offerings. This space at 1209 Main St., was most recently , the Franco-Camacho's wine bar and . Setting itself apart from other seafood restaurants in town, Waterhouse will not be serving traditional shoreline fried seafood fare but instead, will be delivering plates crafted by who brings to the table.
This week marks their first full-menu service and we couldn’t wait to share the details about the new space with you. We spoke with Suzette to give you a taste of what’s happening down at the new digs. If you dine there this weekend, be sure to check back with Patch and comment on this story about how you liked it!
Patch: When was the official opening of the Waterhouse?
Suzette: We had a "soft opening" of the bar and raw bar over the weekend on Friday. Tuesday (Aug. 21) was the first night of the full menu and dining room.
Patch: What are your hours?
Suzette: To begin, we will be open Tuesday through Saturday evening. The Watering Hole (the bar room) will open at 4:30 p.m. for a daily happy hour. The dining room will open at 5 p.m. We will seat for full dinner until 8:30p.m. (Tues/Wed), 9 p.m. (Thur.) and 9:30 p.m. (Fri/Sat). The bar and raw bar will be open later.
Patch: Reservations required?
Suzette: We will begin taking reservations for our main dining room (today on our website and Facebook; reservations are strongly suggested due to our small size. The Watering Hole with be able to accommodate a large number of walk-in guests.
Patch: Do you have a full menu now?
Suzette: Yes, full menu is up and running. (online)
Patch: Is Arturo the head chef? Will diners still see him over at Tacuba?
Suzette: Yes, Arturo is the Executive Chef and his station remains "on the line" of the open-Tacuba-kitchen where he will be able to oversee and execute both menus.
Patch: What dish should diners not miss?
Suzette: The Steamed Clams White Beans and Chorizo are to die for. The Roasted Scallops with Pureed Cauliflower and Golden Raisin Ragouot amazes. The oyster selection is awesome. There is something for everyone including those wanting a steak or a variety of fresh, simply grilled fish with haricot vert.
In addition to our large selection of New England Beers (), our cocktail list highlights the best of Branford. PO Punch anyone? How about a Creeker Cooler or and Indian Neck Nectar? We love Branford, and thought it would be fun to feature many of our fabulous, one-of-kind neighborhoods.
Patch: I read on Facebook that the name of the restaurant comes from your late grandmother. What was the inspiration behind this?
Suzette: Waterhouse is my Mom's maiden name and yes, my Nana June Waterhouse. I grew up on the beach in Milford, and fishing, and digging for clams and mussels was a big family activity. My grandpa Phil Waterhouse loved the Ocean, and loved creating ship models by hand and painting clipper ships. I spent most childhood weekends with them, and they were very important in my life. I wanted to find some way to honor them and felt the name Waterhouse perfectly captured the spirit of the restaurant. Unfortunately, this was the first restaurant we have opened that my nana didn't get to see, but she was very excited about having a restaurant named after her.
Patch: What will diners like about Waterhouse and how will this seafood compare to other offerings in town?
Suzette: First would be our huge raw bar and the variety of daily offerings, and oysters from near and far. Fresh, iced seafood with amazing sauces. We also have given a lot of thought to pairing our oysters. We have a great beer selection that goes well with oysters and raw bar cuisine, and are pouring interesting wines like cava, vinho verde and muscadet by the glass so everything together is really tasty.
I would then say that Branford has an amazing variety of restaurants featuring classic fried seafood, but that will not be our focus here. The freshest seafood is in the experienced hands of Franco; I think our dishes will offer very unique options in comfortable, casual, bistro setting. Our menu will feature classics like Mussels and Frites, to Halibut with Corn and Shitake Mushrooms with Arugula Pesto. And for those craving simplicity of just fresh fish and veggies, we will have that too.
Patch: How many seats do you have at your bar and do you have a happy hour?
Suzette: The bar itself has 10 seats, but the Watering Hole (the name we use for the bar room ) has another 20 seats at high top tables, always available for walk-in diners. Yes, we have a daily happy hours which will be posted on our website and Facebook each day from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the bar. The specials will range from $1 oysters, to $4 and $5 wine specials; Beer and cocktail specials and raw bar tastings, oyster sliders, wine and cheese samplers, and much more. We hope to possibly have a late night happy hour in the coming weeks if the demand is there.
Patch: Will you have outdoor dining?
Suzette: We hope to work with the town and if all goes well, hope to offer outdoor seating next season. In the meantime, we are fortunate to have huge glass doors that open to the street in the dining room, so the inside has the benefit of being covered, but getting the sights and sounds of the street.
Patch: Anything unique about the decor that readers' should know about? Did you and Arturo design and build everything for this space as usual?
Suzette: Yes, it has always been our approach to work on out spaces collaboratively with me designing and Arturo building. The whole concept from food, to branding, to design has to be integrated and the shared vision be both have. Some of our favorite things are the custom lights throughout, the reclaimed woodwork, and the simplicity of the beach inspired space. We hope everyone feels at home.
Patch: How can diners keep up-to-date with what you are doing?
Suzette: Daily Facebook updates is the best way to be current. Also we will be Tweeting and our website which is: www.waterhouseoysterbar.com
If You Go...
1209 Main St.; www.waterhouseoysterbar.com
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, the bar opens at 4:30 p.m.; dining room at 5 p.m. Diners will be sat for full dinner unitl 8:30 p.m. (Tues/Wed), 9 p.m. (Thur.) and 9:30 p.m. (Fri/Sat). The bar and raw bar will be open later.
Reservations: Reccomended (you can do so online); walk-ins welcome in the dining room as space is available and in the Watering Hole.