Lee White (left) is a resident of Old Lyme in a section of town where she and her house are the oldest members. She has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for the Times and Shore Publishing newspapers, and Elan, a quarterly magazine, all of which are now owned by The Day.
165 Bank Street New London, CT 06320
A couple of weeks ago, friends invited me to Chaplin’s in New London for dinner. I arrived and saw friends from Norwich there, too. I found my friends visiting with the owners of Muddy Waters who were dining, too.
Once we five were at our table, we ordered all the appetizers (five appetizers and two salads), four entrees and both of the desserts. All were incredibly good, but the most amazing were the appetizers.
Before they arrived, we shared toasted bread with a zippy salsa. Appetizers included calamari with hot peppers, lobster cakes, crab cakes, mussels, a Caesar and another I can’t remember.
Owner/chef Jack (who once owned a place in Bozrah called Daddy Jack) truly knows how to season fresh, fresh ingredients. All menu items are reasonably priced and delicious.
By the way, I ate halibut amandine. Never had a nicer piece of fish, ever.
Octagon at the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa
625 North Road Groton, CT
A few weeks I was invited to a wine dinner at Octagon, that gorgeous restaurant at the Mystic Marriott. It was a lovely five-course dinner created by the hotel’s executive chef, Steve Rosen, to complement incredible wine from Stonington’s Jonathan Edwards Winery.
As the steak entrée was served, my friend Elise made a visit to the powder room. I took my first taste of the truffled mashed potatoes, then my second and my third and my fourth. When Elise returned, I asked if she wanted her potatoes (she rarely eats carbs). I took hers and gave her my steak. Those mashed potatoes are still in my taste memory.
After the dinner, I asked Steve how he makes them. “Black truffles and white truffle oil,” he said. What, I asked, gave the potatoes a bit of a kick? Just a tiny bit of Tabasco sauce, he replied.
The mashed potatoes are not with all the restaurant’s entrees, but beg and whine and maybe you can get some, too.
1231 Boston Post Road (Rte. 1) Old Saybrook, CT
We loved to go to Stella D’Oro even when we lived in northeastern Connecticut, when Nancy and Andy took us, although with a group of Morgan owners, back in the early 90s. When they called last week and suggested we eat there before going to see “Crazy Heart” at the Madison cinema, I looked forward to it.
After dinner I was even happier. I ordered the chicken piccata, and it was one of the best I tasted in years. The three thin slices of chicken was sauced with white wine, capers and a little butter (or maybe a little more butter), along with sautéed spinach. I ate every bit.
Today, a few days later, I pine for it.
I may have to make another trip this week.