A look back at recent Day restaurant reviews

Pulled pork and avacado breakfast tacos at Kitchen Little (Eileen Jenkins)
Pulled pork and avacado breakfast tacos at Kitchen Little (Eileen Jenkins)

Kitchen Little

36 Quarry Road, Mason's Island, Mystic

This small, hip spot on the second floor above the Mason's Island Marina Store has a breezy, casual vibe and a creative, neo-gourmet approach to breakfast. Though there's also a lunch menu — and we'll get there eventually — it's been way too much fun to explore the many and visionary breakfast options.

Highlights include the #15, an Avocado & Tomato Benedict featuring two poached eggs, one half fresh avocado, and a sliced fresh tomato on an English muffin, topped with their own Hollandaise sauce ($13.99). Portions were precisely distributed so one flavor never overwhelmed another. Crisp, delicious and a nice balance between light and heavy.

Also fun was the #8 Mystic Melt ($10.99), which is a Twister game between fresh crab, cream cheese and two scrambled two eggs. Yes, it comes with raisin toast, which I switched for wheat. Otherwise, this is a bit of brilliant culinary choreography. Brilliant.

Also from the specials board was an offering of Cinco de Mayo themed breakfast tacos. They fused a slaw of bourbon-glazed pork with scrambled eggs, melted cheese and house-crafted salsa on flour tortillas ($10.99). I'm sticking by my original assessment that this dish should be classified as an opioid.

Rick Koster

Shayna B's By the Sea

247 Main St., Old Saybrook

(860) 339-3144

As summer and the prospect of good, local produce draws nigh, I'll offer a suggestion: See what wonders are accomplished with veggies at Shayna B's By the Sea.

There will be plenty of opportunities to dig on grilled burgers and dogs and mountains of potato salad over the next few months; consider lightening up for lunch at least once with one of several vegan lunch options available at Shayna B's.

The soups are fresh, delicious and nutritious ($3 for a small; keep an eye out for the Moraccan Lentil Stew) and more sturdy items will easily feed two people — I recommend the Buddha Bowl, a generous serving of tofu, greens, rice noodles, and veggies that comes with a fab sesame dressing.

Then you may reward yourself with an excellent vegan cupcake ($5 for most) from the bakery. For lesser sweet-toothed folks, you might try the cinnamon bun ($3.25) or one of the lovely cookies that will deliver no animal product into your belly. Bonus: You'd hardly know the difference.

— Marisa Nadolny

Ancient Mariner

21 West Main St., Mystic

(860) 536-5200

The Ancient Mariner in Mystic is a delightful combination of great service, a relaxing nautical ambience, and excellent food.

On my recent and first visit to the West Main Street restaurant — one that definitely won't be my last — I tried several memorable dishes: a crispy panko and shredded crab meat crab cake appetizer ($14) served with chipotle mayo atop mixed greens; an exquisite shrimp carbonara special with jumbo shrimp, bacon, andouille sausage, mushrooms, peas, and pipette pasta in an alfredo cream sauce ($26); and fresh scallops baked in a buttery parsley sauce and served with cooked greens and savory mashed potatoes ($24).

If you're there for a sit-down dinner, prices aren't exactly cheap — $6 to $16 for appetizers, and $18 to $34 for entrees — but the quality, pairing, meal preparation, and service are worth it, in my estimation. Also note: the "Prime Time" pub menu offers a select number of dishes at half-price from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. Look for on-street parking or spots in the public lot behind the Ancient Mariner.

— Alex Nunes

Crab cakes at Ancient Mariner (Alex Nunes)
Crab cakes at Ancient Mariner (Alex Nunes)

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