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Long before “farm to table” was a catch phrase, Dimitri Chaber and staff were using local, sustainable foods to create the cuisine that has had customers flocking to the Sesame Seed Restaurant on West Wooster Street in Danbury for 37 years.
Situated in a turn-of-the-20th Century clapboard building that served as a grocery store in the late 1800s, the Sesame Seed has a welcoming full-width porch and large picture windows. The entry level of the casual, eclectic interior features shelves filled with the collections of Mr Chaber, the chef/owner.
The varied collections are placed and stacked on every available surface, from windowsills and a fireplace mantel to full walls of shelves and the piano that occupies the center of the downstairs dining room. Seated at any of the 18 two-to-four-person tables, diners can cast their eyes on childhood memories, including toys and games, radios, teapots, and old photos, while they wait for meals.
There are more tables upstairs, grouped in five interconnecting rooms. Here, the atmosphere is more Victorian and elegant, with antique tables and lamps, vividly patterned wallpaper in some of the rooms and lace curtains on the windows.
During warmer weather, tables and chairs are set up on the outside patio where patrons can relax while waiting for a table.
But it is the food, offered at reasonable prices and using Mr Chaber’s original recipes — or tweaks of the classics — that keep people coming back. As one 20-plus-year customer observed, “The food is wonderful, the staff is excellent and friendly, the prices are quite affordable; what more could you want?”
Mindful of health considerations, the menu notes that if requested, meals can be prepared with soybean or olive oil rather than butter, and for children who will only eat the familiar, an order of pasta with tomato sauce or Romano cheese and butter is always available. Customers with special dietary needs, such as vegan or gluten-free, will find plentiful accommodations on the Sesame Seed menu.
The catering menu is tailored to suit the needs of the individual, using the quality ingredients customers have come to expect. Parties of up to 60 people can be accommodated onsite, or larger parties off site. A one-month notice is requested for special occasion catering, while smaller parties can be accommodated with one to two days notice.
A Sample Of The Menu:
Appetizers: Six options are available on the Every Night Menu. Tabouli, which costs $4.95, consists of parsley, cracked wheat, onion, lemon, tomato, oil, and spices.
Salads: Included on the Daily Lunch Menu is the Sesame Seed Salad, comprising lettuce, tomato, parsley, feta, and seeds.
Sandwiches: Among the selections is a falafel sandwich that includes chickpeas, fava beans, garlic, and parsley. The menu says it also includes “secret spices with tahini.” All Sesame Seed sandwiches are served with lettuce, tomato, parsley, and onion in a bakery-fresh pocket bread.
Specials Menu: The Weekday Night Specials include more than 30 different meals. A standout option is scallops Florentine, which includes scallops sautéed in butter with onions, then covered with leafy spinach, mozzarella, and Romano cheese. Dish availability may change seasonally.
Entrees: A combination dinner plate is served daily and offered in two options: vegetarian or meat. The vegetarian combo includes falafel, salad, hummus, and tabouli, while the meat combo includes kafta, kibbee, salad, and hummus. Both options can be sampled as an appetizer.
Vegetarian: A wide assortment of meals for vegetarians is available. A customer favorite is stuffed mushrooms — mushrooms caps stuffed with spinach, almonds, and Romano cheese baked with mozzarella cheese.
Drinks: The beverage menu includes a diverse selection of sodas, house wines, bottle wines, and beers. A variety of juices in flavors such as papaya nectar, pineapple coconut and kiwi strawberry is also on offer.
Sesame Seed, 68 West Wooster Street in Danbury, off Main Street, is open Monday through Thursday, from 5 pm to 9:30 pm, and Friday and Saturday, from 5 pm to 10:30 pm for dinner. For lunch, hours are Monday through Saturday, from 11:30 am to 3 pm. Closed on Sundays. Takeout, catering, and general inquiries are accepted by calling 203-743-9850. For more information, visit sesameseedrestaurant.com.