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“I feel cheated”
Review of Aspen Restaurant

Aspen Restaurant
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Ranked #8 of 83 Restaurants in Old Saybrook
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: American, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Transit: Across the street from Amtrak Station/Shoreline East commuter train
Reviewed May 12, 2008

I have lived in Westbrook all my life, so I make a point of trying all of the local restaurants. I visited Aspen on mothers day with my family; my parents, three brothers, and one of my brother's girlfriends. First, we had to wait outside for roughly half an hour. During this time the host was not very accommodating, I would almost go so far as to say he was rude, basically acting as though we weren't important. When we did finally get a table, we noticed that there were 3 empty tables next to us.
We then had to wait another ten minutes or so before we could order so much as a drink. Roughly ten minutes after that we ordered our food. The calamari took somewhere around half an hour to get to us (last time I checked, ordering, breading, deep frying and serving calamari should take no more than ten minutes in a packed restaurant). Our actual meals, if you could call them that (there was barely enough food on the table to feed an infant), took another forty five minutes to get to the table. After the ridiculous waits, one might expect exquisite food, but instead you get something of lower quality than Rays or Frankie's (shoreline dives).
The wait staff were inattentive, which seems odd, as the place was not exactly busy. To top it all off, the bill was out of control. For example, my half tablespoon of pasta and third of a link of sausage cost $18.
If you want to go to a far superior restaurant for about the same price, try The Blue Crab. The wait staff are far more pleasant, even a little bubbly. The atmosphere is much warmer, the servings are large, and the food is delicious. If you are willing to spend a little more money, I highly recommend visiting Lupo in Chester. The wait staff are friendly and the food is amazing. The portions aren't huge, but the idea is to buy several small dishes and share them amongst your party.
Bottom Line: if you enjoy waiting at least an hour and a half to two hours to be served a grossly over-priced, sub-par meal that would leave an anorexic feeling peckish, Aspen is the place for you. If not, the CT Shoreline offers many other restaurants that offer everything Aspen lacks.

2  Thank Hungry-in-Westbrook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 18, 2008

I've visited Old Saybrook several times and whenever I've driven by the Aspen Restaurant I've always been intrigued by it's inviting exterior and have wanted to go for dinner, but the timing was always wrong. So when my wife and daughter and I were in Old Saybrook for a long Presidents Day weekend I made it a point to make reservations. Upon entering the restaurant I was immediately impressed by the ambiance. Beautiful wood tones, candlelit tables, panels of frosted glass with Aspen leaf motif. Very warm and appealing. We were seated with only a minor delay. The waiter came quickly and took our drink order. We selected one of their special drinks, the Aspen Margarita. The drinks came without salt, despite being described in menu as being prepared with salted rims. So we asked for salt and the waiter complied. Well we should have tried them first, and not bothered. They tasted like watered down tequila and lime juice with not a hint of Cointreau. So we asked if they would add a splash of Cointreau, the waiter came back with new drinks and they were exactly the same, no better, oh well. I ordered the baby spinach salad and it was very good. I followed that with the Crab cakes, also very good BUT VERY SMALL portions. My wife tried ordering several things, but they were out of 1 soup, 2 appetizers and 3 main courses despite the fact that we were dinning fairly early at 7 PM. She ended up ordering the same as me. The waiter said he would bring us bread, he didn't. We asked about the bread, he apologized and still never brought it. Same problem with water. My daughter's meal was wrong, they did get it right the second time around. The waiter would constantly walk by our table without stopping to check in. Time for dessert, sorry out of my first two choices, I gave up. One very disappointing meal and $135 later (for 2 adults and a 5 year old), we won't be coming back here again.

1  Thank DavidofFairfield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2008

My first experience with Aspen was on a week night, I went to dinner with my mother and we sat up at the bar. We were greeted by the Bartender who took very good care of us through out our evening. I chose the Cod Loin Main Plate for my entree and it was delicious; also great presentation. My mother chose a seared Red Snapper special that was served with beet greens over a truffled rissoto. She was in love with this dish and it was a great choice! As a side note the restaurant entrance is right before a traffic light which makes crossing a bit easier and there is plenty of parking as well.

I have worked in fine dining and also at new restaurants so I am very familiar with the environment, we were happy with everything from start to finish... no criticism from me.

I'm returning for dinner this evening to see if they can be consistent.

Thank KNA6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2008

I really wanted to love this place as I'm near by and would love to walk there in the summer. I went with my husband. He started with the calamari. It was lightly fried and okay. The best part of it was the banana peppars (marinated). I had the deconstructed oysters. Not great and it was a heaping mess on my plate. The oyster juice ran all over my arrugula underneath. No fewer than 30 seconds after our food was delivered, another waiter appears with another order of what we just had. They seemed confused. On a good note, my beet salad was terrific with a nice pastachio crostini. It was light and refreshing. My husband's flatiron steak was well prepared but the portion was wee. I was still hungry when I left but didn't want to pay for anymore small portions.

We sat in the bar area, but there really wasn't much ambience. We sat at a high top table in the small bar area. Our server did a good job, a nice young man, but Aspen just wasn't up to par with some of the places we dine at in Chester. I don't think we'll be back. Oh, it it was very very loud. With only 20 people in the dining room. I can't imagine how it sounds on a saturday night.

4  Thank allygershon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2008

If you are in a hurry, you better get a reservation in advance. This place is always busy. The lunch wait is incredible for such a small town. The food is not quite consistent yet, but the wine charge is a bit obscene at $15 per glass. I would recommend Tiberios or Nancy's Rosemary and Sage for the best food in town.

1  Thank islandmap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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