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    Tuesday, November 28, 2023

    A roundup of recent restaurant visits


    76 South Broad St., Pawcatuck

    (860) 495-2383

    Search Reds Pawcatuck to find them on social media

    After my recent review of Reds, a friend asked if she could get a vegan breakfast if she visited. The answer is yes. There are several options, one of which is the Cinnamon Mug Pancake, $7.50. It is a cinnamon vegan batter mixed in a mug and heated until fluffy, with a berry compote center. They top it off with strawberries, blueberries, and coco whip. You do not have to be vegan to enjoy that.

    Reds, the new breakfast and lunch restaurant on South Broad Street in Pawcatuck, is attracting a devoted group of customers who are enjoying the comfort food that they serve up. There are egg sandwiches, a soupy sausage scramble, a deep-fried breakfast burrito, and omelets, Benedicts, French toast, and pancakes.

    On the lunch menu, you can get a grilled cheese on Italian, sourdough or multigrain bread and add bacon, ham, or tomato. Or they do paninis, like the roasted tomato mozzarella, with the cheese, cherry tomatoes, pesto, balsamic glaze, and fresh basil. There is even a crispy apple panini with grilled apples, apple butter, bacon, and cheddar cheese. What a great fall dish.

    Reds is a small space with a cheerful staff and a great stop for a hearty breakfast or lunch.

    — Ann Baldelli

    745 Osteria

    745 Boston Post Road

    Old Saybrook, CT 06475

    (860) 339-3107


    My reviews of pizza restaurants are many, and even though 745 Osteria has stellar pizza, I can’t categorize this new addition to the local scene as a mere pizza place. There is so much more going on there, from a stylish cocktail list (Limoncello Spritz, anyone?) to outstanding pasta dishes and creative small plates.

    For example, lots of restaurants offer bread as a pre-meal nibble. At 745 Osteria, for a mere $10, diners can enjoy the 745 Bread Service of focaccia and other housemade breads and luxe spreads, including truffle honey buffalo ricotta butter; whipped butter; and savory molasses perfect for drizzling.

    That said, don’t skip the arancini app ($11), because 745 Osteria has contenders for best ever in my book. They’re crisp and toothy, with a perfect balance of sharp cheese throughout.

    We also highly recommend the Burrata pizza ($19), a beautiful creation topped with arugula with a pearl of burrata center stage all upon an excellent Neopolitan-style crust.

    For those who prefer a less exotic pie, basics like the Margherita ($16) and Tres Carni ($20) will likely hit the mark. And while it sounds a bit pedestrian to recommend something as ordinary as Chicken Parmigiano ($25) at an eatery that is anything but, we found it to be excellent and abundant.

    From crispy chicken cutlets to the fresh and perfect pasta, we enjoyed everything about it. From the looks of the parking lot during recent visits, it appears that many others have found something to enjoy there too.

    – Marisa Nadolny

    Gino’s Pizza and Sports Bar of Mystic

    39 Whitehall Ave., Mystic

    (860) 536-3333, ginospizzamystic.com

    There are a lot of pizza places or places that serve pizza as part of their menu in and around Mystic’s historic downtown district. Has it occurred to anyone that the reason parking in Mystic is so brutal is because everyone’s in town trying to eat pizza?

    I have a suggestion. Head towards Old Mystic on Greenmanville Ave., under I-95 where the steet becomes Whitehall, and just past the Tru-Value and the Dunkin, you’ll find Gino’s Pizza and Sports Bar. Parking is NOT a problem — but that has nothing to do with the food, atmosphere and service, which are all recommended.

    The offerings tend to fuse Greek and Italian cuisine — the pizza is more Grecian — with a liberal dose of tavern food, which of course helps appease customers watching athletic competitions on the multiple large screen TVs in a handsome and expansive back bar area.

    Over a few leisurely visits, I enjoyed a white Grecian Supreme pie featuring feta, black olives, pepperoncini and tomatoes ($12.99, $19.99 and $23.99), the mildly spicy but flavorful chili ($5.29 cup, $6.99 bowl) and a fine (salami/Genoa/ham/provolone) Italian grinder ($9.99, $12.99).

    It’s reliably enjoyable food in a nice, family-friendly spot, and you won’t need a valet dude to take care of your car.

    — Rick Koster

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