Shell & Bones, Oyster Bar and Grill
The Connecticut shoreline is fortunate to have a plethora of waterfront restaurants, but not all are created equal. At Shell & Bones, the atmosphere matches the food in quality and appeal – making it the only restaurant in Connecticut to land a spot on Open Table’s 100 Best Al Fresco Restaurants in America 2018. It was an ideal location for our July Restaurant Feature.
Open Air Waterfront Dining
The atmosphere at Shell & Bones in New Haven is as much a part of the dining experience as the food. Partners Daniel Kay, Marc Knight, and Robert Bolduc completely remodeled the restaurant, keeping clean lines, floor to ceiling windows, and a nautical feel. And those floor to ceiling windows? They retract completely so the entire restaurant is open air in summer months. We had a hard time deciding where to sit – the outdoor deck, an indoor table, or a bar spot. We ended up choosing a table right next to the deck for some shade – just one step out the retracted window wall brought you to full sunlight. Where ever you sit, you are guaranteed a spectacular view of the New Haven harbor.
Delightful Food and Service
We arrived at 4:00 pm for drinks and appetizers and were immediately greeted by a hostess, water was poured when we sat down, and shortly after our server appeared. The service was top notch – water glasses were continuously filled, food and drinks came out in a timely manner, and never once did we feel rushed.
We began with summer cocktails and oysters on the half shell. The drinks were well-balanced and refreshing, and the oysters fresh. Instead of full meals in the heat of the afternoon, we opted to share appetizers. Tuna tartare with sushi-grade tuna, soy, avocado and cucumber was light and full of complimenting flavors. The crab cake was the perfect ratio of jumbo lump crab meat to crispy panko crust, paired with asian cabbage slaw and lemongrass aioli. A burrata salad with watermelon, heirloom tomato, and sherry vinaigrette crema was the epitome of a fresh summer salad, and the baked ricotta with tomato, truffle oil, and toasted bread was rich and satisfying. The appetizers were all meticulously prepared and big enough to pass around the table.
Since it’s opening in July 2015, Shell & Bones has received rave reviews – including a “Very Good,” from the New York Times, “Most Romantic Restaurant” from foodandwine.com, and “Best Restaurant Overall,” as voted by CTNOW Readers. For a full list of reviews and awards, click here. And be sure to stay in the know with the Shell & Bones Facebook Page and Instagram.
It is difficult to say what we enjoyed most – the food or the atmosphere. Luckily at Shell & Bones, you don’t have to choose.