Estia’s American is a restaurant offering a wide selection of American cuisine. The menu at this establishment features various breakfast and lunch options, including omelets, pancakes, breakfast platters, fruit, sandwiches, salads and tacos. Dinner options include pasta, meat and seafood dishes. Estia’s American is located in Darien and has been awarded by Darien Patch for the best place to grab a weekend breakfast. Estia’s American offers bot eat-in and take-out. Founded in April 2012 Estia’s American is proudly one of the best places to get a delicious delightful meal in Darien. Estia’s American is located at 1020 Post Rd Darien, CT 06820 where you can stop by anytime for a great meal.
The poll votes have been tallied and Estia’s American has been named a Readers’ Choice Nominee for Darien Patch. This honor has been made possible by the Patch readers in the Darien community who have taken the time to vote for their favorite local businesses. Estia’s American is considered to be the best of the best and they have been recognized for the following:
✓ Best Weekend Breakfast In Darien
This signals that the quality of your services are highly regarded by your customers. You are considered to be outstanding in your field.
Recipe Courtesy of
COLIN AMBROSE, OWNER AND EXECUTIVE CHEF
Pan Roasted Long Island Duck Breast with Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger Peach Chutney
INSTRUCTIONS (FOR THE GRAINS):
- Start by heating 3 sauté pans over high flame, then add the 3 grains, one to each pan. Toast the grains until they begin to smoke, then add ½ cup water to each and reduce flame by half. Keep feeding the grains with water ¼ cup at a time and stir until they begin to soften (kasha will soften first). Once al dente remove from heat and place in a bowl, mix the grains together and place in the fridge holding cold for service.
FOR THE DUCK:
- Preheat the oven to 450° F and place 2 sauté pans on high flame on the stovetop. Place 2 seasoned duck breasts in each pan, skin side down, and allow the fat to render for 5 minutes. Then drain off the rendered fat and flip the breasts over in the hot pans, place in the oven and roast for 5 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
FOR THE CHUTNEY:
- To make the Wakaya Perfection Peach Chutney place a sauté pan on medium flame, combine the duck fat and the mirepoix (celery, onion, carrots), stir for 1 minute, then add the peaches, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Simmer over medium flame for 5 minutes.
- In another pan on medium flame bring the mirepoix to heat with butter for 1 minute, then add the 3-grain mixture, add parsley, salt and pepper and stir until heated through. Once the 3-grain mixture is warm, add ¼ cup of chicken stock and hold warm until you’re ready to serve.
- Remove the duck breasts from the oven and allow them to rest for a few minutes prior to slicing. Plate the 3-grain pilaf on to each of 4 plates, then top with sliced duck breast and finally finish each plate with the Wakaya Perfection Ginger Peach Chutney.
Estia’s American breakfast featured in
August 17, 2012
By PATRICIA BROOKS
Connecticut Dining | Breakfast
When Bacon Beckons Far From Home
Estia’s American is new to Darien and is the chef-owner Colin Ambrose’s first venture in Connecticut; he prides himself on serving local and natural foods. The small space, which seats 38, looks a little bland inside, with Formica tabletops and a few Americana artifacts. Outside, on the brick-lined patio that seats 18, big umbrellas shield tables from the morning sun.
The menu is unusual. It offers generous portions, some with a Mexican touch: Nacho Mamma’s (jalapeño, chorizo, potatoes, Jack cheese, peppers, onions and corn tortillas, for $12.50), Robbie’s Gringo Hash (red beans, rice, two eggs and corn tortillas, $14.50) and Happy Jack’s breakfast burritos (toasted flour tortillas with two scrambled eggs, andouille sausage, corn, peppers and onions, $13.50).
Not all is south-of-the-border here; customers can choose from eight customized omelets, accompanied by toast and home fries, a Cajun omelet (with andouille, tomato, onion and peppers, $13.50); or Whittie’s Delight (oatmeal with apples, two poached eggs and a sausage patty, $12.50). Three thick, double-size blueberry buttermilk pancakes had lots of fresh berries and came with a creamer brimming with Vermont maple syrup (also available with bananas, apples or chocolate chips, $8.50 to $11.50).
Andrew Sullivan for The New York Times
The menu at Estia’s American restaurant, new to Darien, is unusual.
Darien Patch Video
When Chef and restaurateur Colin Ambrose opened the doors of Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor, Long Island some two decades ago, he blessed the people of the region with delicious locally sourced food. Now it appears he’s in the ‘blessing’ business once again. Estia’s American made its debut in Darien, CT just over a month ago and from the looks of it, the town’s landscape has just experienced a fresh culinary facelift.
Ambrose was talking the talk and walking the walk of sustainability long before it was fashionable. For years, his Estia’s Little Kitchen rode on the substantial back of the bounty of its own garden as well as that of local farmers, giving it the reputation as the place to go for fresh, nutritious fare that was, above all, simply delicious. Now, with the incarnation of Estia’s American, Ambrose continues the tradition of wholesome, fresh and, yes, sustainable cuisine.
Estia’s American seats 45 and you’ll generally find those 45 spots, including the 6 seats at the bar, occupied. (There’s also a wonderful little outdoor patio that seats 25, in case you want to dine al fresco when the weather is agreeable). And it is no wonder with the delectable menus, which include breakfast, lunch and, a new venture recently added to the Estia’s line-up, dinner.
And now for the food, from which there is plenty to choose.
The Turtle Rolls, which can be found on the lunch and dinner menus, are tortilla wraps made with avocado, napa cabbage and turtle beans—more commonly found in South America—and is a delectable all veggie bite infused with a touch of heat that creeps up on your taste buds, thanks to the Serrano chili.
The salmon selection off the lunch menu was a Salmon Wrap featuring Coho salmon from the Great Lakes. With an enticing blend of white bean puree, salsa mojo, tomatoes and arugula, the wrap was big on flavor and light on the tummy. For a latin swing, try the roast pork, cheese and pickle delight that is Pablo’s Cubano. It’s succulent and moist, and the bread is out of this world.
There’s an interesting array of items on the breakfast menu. The four Breakfast Bowls seem to be popular, with A’s Pop—filled with chicken, organic red quinoa, egg whites, vegetables and avocado—garnering thumbs up from many patrons. However, a solid winner is the slightly fiery Red Flannel Hash. Looks can be deceiving as this bowl of cubed chorizo, potatoes, peppers, onions and two eggs prepared your way doesn’t appear to be as filling as it really is. Not just filling but satisfyingly so.
And speaking of food that fills your belly, you simply cannot go wrong with any one of the overstuffed breakfast platters such as Happy Jack’s Breakfast Burrito. This jumbo burrito is swollen with the goodness of andouille sausage, scrambled eggs, peppers, onions and cheese with a taste to match its colossal size. Served with a side of home fries, salsa, avocado and a vinegary-infused slaw.
People typically don’t indulge in sweet dessert treats post-breakfast, but perhaps they find themselves deserving after a hearty lunch and, most assuredly, after a relaxing dinner. Estia’s dessert selections are enough to make anyone start the meal off by satiating their sweet tooth. From a smooth and creamy lemon cheesecake topped with sliced blueberries and the butteriest graham cracker crust ever to cross a human’s lips to a comforting old-fashioned strawberry parfait to an inventive “Bullet Bourbon” tiramisu, these desserts are hard to miss and even more difficult to resist.
The most difficult part about going to Estia’s American is going to be making a decision about what to order. Between the three menus, there’s so much to choose from that trying to list them all here would be doing them an injustice. For dinner, you may want to consider the fixed price $28 three course meal from 5:00p to 6:30p (Mon-Sat). Take your time; peruse the menus carefully; choose wisely. The best advice is to dine with a group of people—that way you can dine from your plate and sample from others!
Estia’s American, 1020 Post Road, Darien / 203-202-7051
When restaurateur Colin Ambrose decided to follow his wife and three daughters and return to Fairfield County from the eastern end of Long Island, he brought a reputation for delivering creative farm to table cuisine. As the former owner/chef of Estia’s in Amagansett and the current owner of Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor, Ambrose is celebrating his Darien homecoming by opening his latest restaurant, Estia’s American. After Ambrose settled on the location that formerly housed Ole Mole, he immediately set to create a rustic Americana décor that included American flags created from book spines, relaxing beach paintings and his personal collection of cookbooks and novels, including several by his uncle Stephen Ambrose.
Estia’s American will locally source many of the featured items capitalizing on the twenty years that Ambrose has worked in developing relationships with nearby farms and farmers. When I first met Ambrose, he was unloading a carload of local vegetables from a recent trip to Sag Harbor and the chalkboard on the rear wall mentions the local vendors and the farms, affectionately referred to as “Partners on the Plate,” from where many of the menu’s ingredients are sourced.
Overseeing the kitchen is Ambrose’s long-time friend and associate Chef Carissa Waechter, a graduate of the Art Institute of New York City’s culinary arts program. Chef Waechter’s resume includes many of the great New York restaurants and pastry shops including Mondrian Pastry, David Burke, Donatella and Beacon NYC, and she subsequently joined the pastry team at the Dinex Group under Chef Daniel Boulud. While operating the Amagansett Farmers Market she met Ambrose and their professional friendship started. Like Ambrose, she is a loyal follower of the farm to table movement as witnessed in her line of baked goods, Carissa’s Breads, which is produced with locally grown and harvested ingredients.
The food at Estia’s is characterized by fresh flavors and unique combinations. During the initial six weeks, Ambrose concentrated on the breakfast and lunch menus with the traditional breakfast items available at both services. In mid-May, Estias expanded the hours to offer dinner.
My favorite dish was the Red Flannel Hash that included two eggs prepared to the guest’s preference sitting atop chorizo, potatoes, corn, peppers and onions. Since I am a big fan of oozing yolks I ordered two soft poached eggs. The chorizo was bold in flavor, had a nice medium spice and the vegetables maintained their crunchiness. The corn brought sweetness to the dish and the choice of sweet potatoes versus traditional white potatoes perfectly balanced the flavors of the other vegetables. Overall I liked the bold and sweet flavors of this dish and next time I would order the eggs sunny side up to increase the yolky goodness.
The table shared an order of the Turtle Rolls as a pre-appetizer sampling. This all-vegetarian dish included avocados, onions, black bean puree and Napa cabbage encased in a flour tortilla. The combination had a good variety of flavors with just a little spice and a touch cilantro. I thought this was a good introduction to Estia’s flavors and I recommend this dish to start the meal.
I have been searching for a good Cubano sandwich in Fairfield County and the Pablos Cubano prepared at Estia’s is a step in the right direction. Chef Waechter’s house-made bread was delicious and I enjoyed the Reynold’s Family Farm pulled pork and the perfectly melted cheese, plus the pickle added the correct level of acidity; although the sliced ham could have been more flavorful to match the other ingredients. Overall Estia’s Pablos Cubano was very good and I now need to search for other good Fairfield County Cubano sandwiches.
The Silvera’s Salmon Wrap included grilled salmon, arugula, salsa, mojo, bean puree, plus tomatoes all wrapped in a flour tortilla. For those who would like a less spicy entree for lunch, this is a good choice. The mild salmon was moist and flavorful and I enjoyed the addition of the arugula, which added a peppery flavor component and complemented the black beans and tomatoes.
There were two sauces that require a special shout-out and each added delicious flavor to the dishes. The red sauce is comprised of guajillo chili, onion, garlic and tomatoes, while the green sauce includes mint, parsley, garlic, jalapeño peppers and lime. Both were delicious and added a decent level of heat and flavor to the dishes.
After two months, Estia’s has refined the offerings and the dishes that I sampled were flavorful and I look forward to returning and enjoying many more.
Estia’s American – 1020 Post Road, Brick Walkway, Darien, CT – (203) 202-7051
Patricia A. Hines, Correspondent
May 6, 2012
Surveying the ambiance of his newly opened Estia’s American, chef/owner Colin Ambrose believes his grandmother, a Daughter of the American Revolution, would find comfort in his home-style restaurant.
The successful restaurateur, in the business for more than 20 years, brings his expertise of farm-to-table dining to his old stomping grounds of Darien. The owner of Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor, N.Y., in the Hamptons, Ambrose, whose father was a Darien commuter, is no stranger to Fairfield County, where he earned his chops in a number of restaurants gleaning the dos and don’ts to running a successful eatery.
Ambrose, who opened his first store — a small coffee shop — with an $8,000 investment — has worked in or owned six restaurants. The first Estia’s was in Amagansett, between the Hamptons and Montauk, but he sold it after two years. In 1998, he opened Estia’s Little Kitchen. “I didn’t sleep for four months,” he said. One of the hallmarks of Estia’s Little Kitchen is the restaurant’s garden, where Ambrose grows and harvests fruits and vegetables for the menu selections. He boasts that he was one of the first in the sustainable food movement, which now, he said, is the trend in restaurants.
“I was ahead of the trend. My grandfather taught me how to do it. He always had a big garden,” he said. At Estia’s Little Kitchen, Ambrose developed the Two-Hour Salad, the fixings for which are harvested from his garden and well received by customers.
The father of three girls decided it was time to bring the success of Estia’s Little Kitchen to Fairfield County, renovating a former restaurant space at 1020 Post Road, Brick Walkway, in the heart of downtown into a general store-themed place. Housed in a brick building, Estia’s American is decorated in soothing colors, with original artwork on the walls, many of them by his good friend Jim Gingerich. Craftsman Evan Thomas was integral in developing the design of the restaurant, which is filled with books on shelves. “Books to me add color and dimension to a room. They add the opportunity to grab sound, which to me was a big goal. I knew that this room required some sensitivity to sound,” Ambrose said.
Fourteen employees work in the front and back of the house, including chef Carissa Waechter, a graduate of the Art Institute of New York City’s culinary arts program. She began her career under Michel Willaume at Mondrian Pastry in New York. She worked as head pastry chef at both David Burke and Donatella Restaurant, as well as Beacon NYC, before joining the pastry team at the Dinex Group under chef Daniel Boulud for several years. She then went to Amagansett and developed close relationships with local farmers while operating the Amagansett Farmers Market. Waechter is co-founder of the Amagansett Food Institute and responsible for launching food programs with the East Hampton School District. Carissa’s Breads, her line of baked goods, is produced with locally grown and harvested ingredients, including wheat she mills herself.
Estia’s American, which opened in early April for breakfast and lunch, will launch a dinner service once it is fully staffed with about 25, Ambrose said. The restaurant can seat up to 38 people, and another 16 when the patio opens. “People like small spaces,” he said.
The menu mirrors that of Estia’s Little Kitchen, except for the names of a few items, which honor notable people and locals. The made-from-scratch menu items feature fresh ingredients that Ambrose said he is proud to say he can source their origins. He regularly buys hormone-free beef from a farm in Pennsylvania, which has Darien connections, for his grass-fed burger offerings, as well as pork and lamb from Pine Plains, N.Y. While he has yet to work out arrangements with local growers for Estia’s American, Ambrose is providing much of his stock from farmers with whom he deals for Estia’s Little Kitchen.
“I feel a commitment to the people who come to me to provide them with the best-quality food that I can,” he said, adding that the full bar in Darien includes beer from two local breweries and wine from Long Island. All of Estia’s American’s hot sauces are made on the premises.
Ambrose has crafted the down-home comfort-food menu with his own twist. Many of the items have a Mexican flair, including Happy Harold’s Breakfast Burrito — which is made with andouille sausage, eggs, onions, pepper and jack cheese — or grilled fish tacos with tequila sunrise salsa. The menu also includes a juice bar, featuring the blend of the day.
While Ambrose admits that his menu may not be entirely different from that of other restaurants, he said, “I do hear from time to time that there are flavors here that people don’t find elsewhere. That’s the goal. We want to be that variety and we want to have a menu that’s big enough so that someone who chooses to come here three times a week doesn’t have the same kind of thing every time they come.”
Contemplating the good reception Estia’s American has received thus far and looking toward expanding into a dinner service, Ambrose thinks back to a philosophy he learned from Michel Roux, a French-born chef and restaurateur.
“The restaurant business has a lot less to do with food than most people think. The restaurant business is really theater. What happens is the kitchen is essentially the stage crew. The bartender and the waiters are the stars of the show. The owner is the producer. The manager is the director. We are in dress rehearsal right now and we are choreographing this room and we are establishing a dance and we are working on our lines and trying to prepare for the main event,” he said.
May 3, 2012
A few weeks ago we told you about Colin Ambrose and Carissa Waechter starting up Estia’s American in Darien, an offshoot of Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor, NY. One of the best parts about Estia’s American is their focus on fresh, local food from farms. You notice this almost immediately when you walk in and see a chalkboard listing where they get some of their food. Expect this to change with the season and especially as they make more connections with local farms, butchers, and shops. Very exciting!
We came during lunch time, but we had that “we need breakfast food badly” kind of feeling going on. The kitchen staff was able to work with us, so we could to satisfy our bellies with breakfast. Coming in, Kristien already knew what she wanted: The Red Flannel Hash. I struggled with my choice because everything looked so good, especially on the lunch menu. I decided, though, to stick with Robbie’s Gringo Hash.
We had two coffees that our waitress filled up whenever we were close to empty. Don’t you love that? I don’t think our coffee was ever empty. That’s how breakfast should be! Kristien also ordered a nice raspberry and mango cup of wake-you-up-fresh-goodness from the juice bar. They have daily specials in addition to the standard choices and you can even make your own combos.
Well, onto the food. Kristien had been salivating over the Red Flannel Hash ever since we found out about Estia’s American. It all goes back to a similar dish that changed her world in a little bistro up in the Berkshires. The dish served here has chorizo, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, corn, and two poached eggs. Carissa and Colin recommend having your egg poached and you’ll be so glad you followed their advice. The eggs were cooked perfectly and just oozed out all over the hash. Ahh, don’t you just love to dip into the yolk? As for the hash itself, there was lots going on, but it all worked well. Kristien said that perhaps she could’ve done without the sweet potatoes because it took away from the savoriness of the dish, but overall she really liked it. If you’re feeling a bit daring or want to try new combos of tastes, try the Mojo and Rosito sauces with your meal. The Rosito is a red sauce made with Guajillo pepper and onion and is a bit spicy. The Mojo is a green sauce with mint, parsley, garlic, jalapeno, and lime juice. It was bright, yummy, and seemed to have more of a kick than The Rosito.
I had a similar hash, though mine had more of a Mexican twist. Robbie’s Gringo Hash has red beans, rice, spicy chorizo, eggs, two eggs, avocado, and flour tortillas. Again, I went with the chefs and got my poached eggs. You can really see and taste the difference between store bought and local eggs. The eggs at Estia’s American seem brighter and more flavorful. The star of this dish, to me, was the chorizo. It was cooked nicely, getting the crispy skin on the outside. There was a nice gentle heat to it, too. Take advantage of the tortillas that come with this dish and make up your own little burritos. Overall, a good dish, but I would have liked a bit more spice and flavor to really make this dish knock it out of the park.
After all of this, we were treated to an awesome dessert of a lemon banana beignet. The beignet itself was crispy on the outside, while still doughy on the inside. Oh, but where was the inside? Carissa had hollowed it out and pumped in an amazing spiced banana puree. My favorite part of the dessert was actually the candied lemon. It was so sweet, so bright, and just broke away into bits when I chomped down. I had no problem eating my slice and the rest of Kristien’s, rind and all. Really, an awesome way to end the meal.
Although we went for breakfast, we’ll have to return for lunch, and then return for dinner when they begin service sometime around May. The food was fresh, prepared well, and our waitress worked hard to make sure we had a great breakfast. We even had a chance to meet the man himself, Colin. He was very nice and thankful for us coming out. In fact, he was talking to everybody in the restaurant. We love the theme of Estia’s American, we love the fun play on Mexican food, and we love the use of local ingredients. Expect Estia’s American to open for dinner sometime in May. We’ll keep you posted, of course. Two green thumbs up!
May 2, 2012
DARIEN, Conn. – Estia’s American, the newest restaurant in Darien, has a menu that truly takes after its name. Like America, its food is a vibrant mix of cultures, blending classics with original creations to produce something unique.
Many of the breakfast dishes feature a Mexican twist, while also offering old favorites such as blueberry pancakes. For lunch, there are sandwiches, salads with chicken chili for an extra kick, as well as omelets and tacos. Dinner offers pastas, seafood or meat and potatoes.
Owner Colin Ambrose opened the restaurant for breakfast and lunch last week and said it will be open for dinner starting in May. A former Darien resident who lives on Long Island, Ambrose returns to town after running two successful restaurants in Amagansett and Sag Harbor, N.Y.
Along the way, Ambrose said he developed relationships with his customers, which can be seen in the new Darien location. Old friends who have been dining at his restaurants for years created several pieces of art on the walls. One prominent piece is a large American flag created by artist Ross Watts. There are also several paintings of Gibson Beach in South Hampton by artist Jim Gingerich.
“It’s very important to me to support the community that has supported me for so many years,” Ambrose said.
Estia’s American will use as many fresh and healthy ingredients as possible. Using ingredients from local sources is important to Ambrose. As Estia’s reputation grows and becomes more established, Ambrose is hoping to use more locally sourced materials.
Those who are vegetarians or on cleansing diets won’t be left in the cold. A juice bar will offer berry and fruit smoothies, an all-green concoction called the Equinizer, and plenty of juices made from ingredients such as apples, lemons, pears, beets and ginger.
Ambrose also plans themed nights early in the week. Monday will be a burger night, with such offerings as steak burgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers and lamb burgers. Taco Tuesdays will feature traditional and unique choices including duck, roasted pork or lobster. There will also be half-price margaritas. On Wednesdays, Estia will specialize in shellfish dishes.