Highlights from this month's dining reviews

Dutch Tavern's steak and cheese with potato salad (Eileen Jenkins)
Dutch Tavern's steak and cheese with potato salad (Eileen Jenkins)

Bravo Bravo

20 East Main St., Mystic

(860) 536-3228

bravobravoct.com

Bravo Bravo on East Main Street in Mystic is an excellent spot where you can get quick and friendly service and a stellar meal in a sophisticated atmosphere year-round. There are a number of excellent appetizers and menu courses to choose from, and it's hard to go wrong. That said, here are some specific recommendations:

The light shrimp bruschetta appetizer ($13) served with sautéed artichokes, roasted tomatoes, and basil butter over a slice of thick cut, Italian toast; the must-try, juicy cheeseburger ($14) prepared simply with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onions (it comes with a small side salad, which can be substituted for delicious hand-cut fries); and the fish BLT of the day ($15 the day I ordered it.) It comes with field greens, bacon, tomato, and lemon chive mayonnaise, sandwiched between two triangular-cut slices of foccacia bread. I had it with salmon and liked it very much. I was told to get the crispy cod version, if it’s available.

— Alex Nunes

Sift

5 Water St., Mystic

(860) 245-0541

www.siftbakeshopmystic.com

I've been to Sift in Mystic twice and managed to taste a wide range of the bakery's excellent confections and savories. From French macarons to the hearty Chive Omelet (served on a house-baked croissant $7.75) with some outstanding Blueberry Violet Cheesecake in between ($5.95 a slice), I can recommend just about everything that's passed across my palate.

Still, as a researcher, I must offer more concrete conclusions; therefore, to the uninitiated, I recommend starting with the wonderful chocolate croissant ($3.25). It's a delicate balance of dark chocolate and buttery pastry that hits all the right notes.

If it's closer to lunchtime, consider the Sausage, Potato, and Cheese Croissant ($3.50) and then marvel at how hearty and delicious a simple combination like this can be.

From there, it's likely anything else you select to sample will be the best cookie/scone/loaf of bread you've eaten in some time. It's not every day you can enjoy the fruits of the Food Network's Best Baker in America (and Sift owner) Adam Young, so take advantage of this wonderful resource before Hollywood comes calling.

— Marisa Nadolny

 

Dutch Tavern

23 Green St., New London

(860) 442-3453

dutch-tavern.com

The DT is one of the most epochal bars in not just New London or southeastern Connecticut but also this solar system. What loyalists know, though, is that the small saloon also serves up an excellent if small — and very cheap — diner-style lunch menu.

In addition to daily soup options highlighted by proprietor Peter Detmold's delicious chili ($5 bowl, $3.50 cup, Mondays, Thursday and Saturdays), there are several sandwich possibilities, all of which are delightful. My wife, Eileen, a vegetarian, swears by both the simple and time-honored grilled cheese ($2.50, add a secret weapon component of grilled onions) as well as the veggie burger ($4).

I almost never get the same twice. Love the chicken or tuna melt ($4 and never goopy), the juicy hot dogs ($2.50), and the thinly pounded cutlets present on both the grilled chicken ($4.50) and cheese steak ($5)  sandwiches — both of which are clever variations on time-honored presentations.

The service is at once familial and, if you're not already a regular — in which case you already know and relish this stuff — you soon will be.

— Rick Koster

 

Fish of the Day BLT at Bravo Bravo. (Alex Nunes)
Fish of the Day BLT at Bravo Bravo. (Alex Nunes)

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