Yes, you read the headline correctly.
And no, you won’t be seeing any pretty bathroom pictures in this post.
That’s because, for the first time since the inception of chewtomyloo, your humble critic was so distraught about all things related to the dining experience that he completely forgot about snapping bathroom images. (Not that there was anything to write home about in that regard: Just a run-of-the-mill, rundown, outdated and poorly maintained single-toilet affair that proves beyond a doubt that the owners couldn’t care less whether you use their facilities or just soil yourself right there at the table. Which I genuinely believe several people have done.)
What establishment, you may wonder, could cause such a shift in the natural order of things? SoNo Seaport in Norwalk, Ct.
I’m placing the emphasis on the ‘No.’
I’m no stranger to the place. Back in the day (which, for purposes of this story was about 15 years ago), we’d go to SoNo Seaport for a combination of the steamer clams and the summer social scene.
Although the steamers were nothing special, SoNo Seaport was—and, mysteriously, still is—one of the few places in southern Fairfield County, CT where you can get ’em. As for the social thing, that wasn’t any great shakes either, but the place was convenient for most folks who worked locally and wanted to get their drink on ASAP after quitting time. The fact that it’s right on the water made it almost picturesque.
Having been away from it for a few years, though, I was able to gain a new perspective. That perspective was of a complete and utter sh&%thole whose very existence is as baffling to me as quantum physics, string theory and the popularity of Ke$ha.
It’s not just that the food at SoNo Seaport is horrible. (It is. The items we ordered—belly clams, calamari & steamers—were difficult to ruin, but somehow, the folks at SS pulled it off, serving dishes that make Long John Silver’s look like Le Bernardin by comparison.)
It’s that the whole operation, top to bottom, is a trainwreck. There’s a generally pissed off waitstaff (ours was a notable exception), dirty picnic tables in varying states of disrepair, overpriced booze served in Lilliputian plastic cups that make my 9 year-old’s hands look like Andre the Giant’s and a bloated manager/owner who does, well, nothing.
The thing about this figurative trainwreck, though, is that, like real ones, people can’t seem to look away. Indeed, when we were there on Saturday afternoon-evening, the wait was 30 minutes for a table outside. (We could’ve been seated inside sooner, but would have missed out on the aforementioned ambiance.) This, I must admit, is baffling to me, since I believe in my bones that SoNo Seaport should have been shuttered eons ago—if not by order of the Health Department, then by people keeping away in droves.
Alas, I suppose there’s no accounting for taste. Or, at least, for the taste of Connecticut WASPs with money to burn on expensive drinks and lousy seafood.
For an infinitely superior value and experience, I recommend Westfair Fish & Chips instead. It doesn’t offer much in the way of scenery, but the food—from delicate and delicious belly clams, to succulent blackened salmon to tasty soft shell crabs—is stellar.
As for SoNo Seaport…
Rating of chew: 1 out of 5
Rating of loo: 2 out of 5