Carolina-style Hush Puppies – Black Pepper Sauce
Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes – Warm Icing
Chicken & Waffles – Buttermilk Brined Breast, Cornmeal Waffle, Sesame-Honey Hot Sauce, Sunnyside Egg
Grilled Sweet Potato Bread
Cornbread – Maple Butter
When any serious diner does her or his research on Mystic two names are repeatedly the center of most conversations, Chef James Wayman and Dan Meiser who opened Oyster Club in 2011 as well as Engine Room along the Mystic River just two-and-a-half years later.
Known by locals and tourists as *the* place for Burgers as well as libations including the area’s best collection of Bourbon and Beers-on-Tap, a rotating selection of sixteen along with Wine, Bottles and Cocktails plus customizable Bloody Marys creating the hook for a Brunch of Seasonal Fare, it was with reservations at noon that a brief wait was circumvented for seats at a banquet, regulars on both sides already a few drinks in and even the half-eaten plates on their tables still visually quite appealing.
Toqued by former Oyster Club Chef Chris Vanasse and housed within refurbished confines of the Lathrop Marine Engine building, exposed brick and cement par for the course in trendy restaurants but given a nautical slant in this case, it was after greetings from a youthful female waitress that Water was poured and menus assessed, several novelties laid out alongside Omelets, Bennys, Hashes and Sandwiches.
Listing purveyors as “The Story” online, a philosophy that “ingredients shape the cook” particularly modest for the sort of dining not found in-town ten years prior, it was while listening to unnecessarily-loud music overhead and customers attempting to be heard over it that round-one was presented, five orbs each of Carolina-style Hush Puppies and Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes freshly-fried and served hot with Dipping Sauces, the former better for $2-less and easily amongst the best one will find anywhere thanks to the aromatic spices and lightness of frying.
Serving fast as crowds grew thicker, the population of Mystic clearly infatuated with dining out on Sundays as both RISE and Bleu Squid had also been packed, it was in three plates that Entrée and Sides were presented after packing two Donuts to go, the grilled Sweet Potato Bread used to make Engine Room’s French Toast fairly dull on its own but both Cornbread and a fried Chicken Breast atop two Waffle-wedges performing well, the latter a little steep at $15 even though it uses good ingredients but the thick corner-piece worth every penny for its moist Crumb heavily saturated by a gob of Maple Butter.