Kitchen Little expands the breakfast repertoire
Is this yet another thing that happens when you get old?
Suddenly, for no reason that I can logically reconcile, I prefer breakfast to lunch! That wasn't always the case — or maybe it's just a slight derivation since, to be wholly accurate, what I actually prefer to do is eat continually, for any reason at all and in any context.
Still, my wife, Eileen, has always been a Breakfast Person, and I've been a Lunch Person — so this late-life transformation makes a lot of our weekend "go out for food" decisions a lot easier. We both want breakfast. This explains why, on three of the last four Saturdays, we've made it over to Kitchen Little on Mason's Island in Mystic. Or at least it explains Visit #1. Kitchen Little was a place to eat breakfast — it's casual with quick service, but it also pushes "gourmet" buttons — that we hadn't experienced in years. Let's go!
Visits #2 and #3 happened, though, because we liked Visit #1 a lot and the menu is bountiful in its creativity. I'll also add that visits #2 and #3 only encouraged more activity, and so we anticipate Visits #4 through, oh, #26 to happen sooner rather than later.
Kitchen Little is that good.
In that spirit, let's get the negative stuff out of the way first.
You sorta have to really want to get to Kitchen Little. Because, once you turn off Route 1 on Mason's Island Road, you'll see one sign indicating that Kitchen Little is nearby. That's it. The restaurant's website has directions that say to go over the causeway and take a slight right on Old North Road and "follow the road through the neighborhood." Well, that might work for Mason, whose island this is, or perhaps one of those Merriweather Lewis people, or certainly people who reside on the isle, but we had a helluva time finding the place — including an episode where we drove into the sea!
Just kidding about that last part, but prepare to access Google maps.
One other thing: this is not the place if you or someone you're with is in a wheelchair. Kitchen Little is situated above the Mason's Island Marina Store and accessible only via two separate sets of steps. Just so's you know.
Well, one other other thing. Raisin toast with crab and cream cheese?! See below.
Otherwise, prepare for much greatness.
As mentioned, the restaurant is on the second floor, with plenty of windows and travel-brochure views of expensive boats and the water. There's a small deck with seasonal tables and, inside, with a pale gray/blue color scheme and plenty of not-too-kitchy sea décor, it's a delightful place to relax and eat. There are multiple tables in what is a bit of a tight space, but the layout and the quick hospitality of a large, energetic staff takes away any possibilities of claustrophobia. Kitchen Big, in terms of atmosphere.
Let me just say that, Monday through Friday, KL is also open for lunch; we just haven't gotten to that point yet — and, given the diversity and ambition of the breakfast menu, we probably won't for a while.
For each section of the menu — "Eggstacy Omelettes,""The Usual Unusuals," "Our Famous Benedicts," "Basically Tasty" and more — there are several options that score high on the creativity meter. This includes daily white-board specials.
Herewith are capsules of our progress through the menu:
#11 ½: Mexican Baked Eggs — two eggs in a crock and an English muffin topped with jalapeño cheese and sliced avocado, accompanied by house-crafted salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips ($8.99). Baking is a nice eggs option in a world of scrambled and omelets. These were baked until the whites had set, the yolk was a bit runny and the slightly spicy cheese had melted into a clear gloss of goodness on top. The English muffin was crisp enough to stand up to the creaminess of the eggs, cheese, avocado, salsa and sour cream. The chips came in handy to scoop up anything left behind in the crock.
From the specials board — spinach, artichoke hearts, tomato, mushroom and feta cheese omelet served with whole wheat toast ($10.99). Heaps of fresh spinach and artichoke hearts spilled out from this eggs colossus that also contained plentiful tomatoes, fresh mushrooms and tiny cubes of feta cheese. The ingredients were the focus, while the eggs simply kept them all together. Eileen reports this was "about as hearty a dish as I've ever had at breakfast."
#15: Avocado & Tomato Benedict — two poached eggs, one half fresh avocado, sliced fresh tomato on an English muffin, crowned with their own Hollandaise sauce ($13.99). The cheesy sauce was sparingly applied so the runny yolk of the egg could commingle instead of getting lost in a glop. The thought was it could be a heavy Benedict, but the crisp freshness of the tomato and avocado kept it from being a must-nap-now meal.
#10: Two scrambled eggs with spicy jalapeño cheese atop grilled corned beef hash and served with butter-slathered rye toast ($9.99). Each component was distinct and nicely prepared. The difference was how the jalapeno kick did a happy barn dance with the hash. It's a small thing but so clever.
#8: The Mystic Melt — fresh crab and cream cheese scrambled with two eggs, served with raisin toast ($10.99). I replaced the raisin toast with wheat. That aside, the crab WAS fresh and in bountiful chunks. The sweet brine of the crustacean with the fortifying eggs and rich cream cheese was a pretty dazzling combo. Almost as dazzling as:
Also from the specials board — a Cinco de Mayo-themed triumvirate of pulled pork, avocado, cheddar and scrambled eggs lovingly encased in warm flour tortillas ($10.95). The tender and bourbon-glazed pork was shredded and integrated into the scrambled eggs mix. Melted cheese. Salsa. It's an opioid!
Our journey through the menu is a worthy work in progress. On virtually every level, Kitchen Little is a really appealing place.
Cuisine: Casual but creative breakfast fare; Lunch menu also available Monday through Friday
Service: There's a huge and always-busy staff circulating helpfully and getting the food out quickly.
Atmosphere: Light gray walls, huge picture windows over the water and (really nice) boats, and a gentle marine motif
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Handicap access: No wheelchairs; stairs only to second floor location
Prices: Most breakfast platters $6.99-$17.99 with several reasonably priced a la carte options
Reservations: It's small and there could be a wait; call for large parties
Credit cards: All majors
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