An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Aug 2, 2013
02:00 PMThe Connecticut Table
Splash Restaurant & Bar in Westport: The Ultimate Summer Spot
The Splash Patio Bar is open every day at 2 p.m., and features live music every Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m., followed by DJ Spirit from 8 to 10, according to the Splash website
It’s summertime and the living is easy, especially at Splash Bar & Restaurant, the area’s ultimate location for outdoor dining and incredible views of sparkling Long Island Sound.
Fairfield County Life (a sister publication of Connecticut Magazine) caught up Sonja Saric, corporate officer manager and personal assistant to the owner, to land the story about this Westport shorefront jewel and its mouth-watering menu.
Splash was launched in 1995 by the De Caro family, led by Angelo De Caro, a former partner of Goldman Sachs. “He wanted to change his lifestyle and spend more time with family through a family business,” said Saric.
The family first opened Baang (meaning ‘tie together’ in Chinese) Café & Bar, an Asian fusion restaurant on the Post Road in Greenwich, followed by Splash in Westport and several other dining enterprises. Other restaurants had preceded Splash at the Longshore site, but didn’t carry as solid a concept, that being a seafood establishment with a New England feel, along with excellent steaks.
To really make a visual splash, the De Caro family hired famous Architect David Rockwell, who created the Planet Hollywood and Mohegan Sun environments, to renovate the interior. Design flourishes included a wave-like mosaic interior wall and similar accents throughout, complementing the seaside locale. The building itself has historic value and is owned and protected by the Town of Westport.
The De Caro’s created the original Splash menu, including food offerings drawn from their extensive worldwide travels. Many of these dishes are still a part of today’s lineup. Seasonally, however, new items are added to infuse exciting flavor expressions. These items are first explored with longtime patrons, as their feedback is highly valued, in informal tastings. Winning candidates join the menu.
The executive chef is David Repp, who joined Splash in 2000. He had been at the De Caro’s Pacifica Seafood Brasserie in Aspen, Colorado. “They offered me the spot here – I missed New England and it was an opportunity to get back,” he said. “I was also excited by the location and to work with seafood creations. I have a New England style with Asian flairs.”
As to the menu, during the summer season, there are eight Starters, priced $10-$16. Each is unique with flavorful sauces and savory ingredients. Two favorites are the Lettuce Wraps, with minced chicken, hot sauce, cucumber, cilantro, basil and peanuts you wrap in bibb lettuce leaves, and Angry Mussels, with chorizo, onions, peppers, navy beans and scallions in a jalapeno broth.
A Raw Bar offers several excellent seafood varietals, ranging from Little Neck Clams, topped with bacon and smoked paprika at $2.50 each, all the way up to a very popular three-tier Big Kahuna presentation, at $95, with jumbo shrimp, clams, oysters, a 1.25 lb. Maine lobster, mussel ceviche and assorted sauces.