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Foodie flashback: Recapping recent Day restaurant reviews

Whitecrest Eatery

Stonington Velvet Mill, 22 Bayview Ave., #14

The locally sourced, freshly prepared food at Whitecrest Eatery is very good, and I'm not the only one who says so.

Both Trip Advisor and Yelp give five stars each to Whitecrest, based on customer reviews.

Danish-born chef Johan Jensen takes pride in the dishes he prepares from proteins, vegetables and fruits that he procures locally almost daily. When he chats with farmers or growers or fishermen, he decides what he will make that day and then uses his talents to create near perfect culinary delights.

Jensen's wife and Whitecrest co-owner, Abbey Hemmann, explained to me that her husband is a product of what's been described as the New Nordic Food Manifesto, a more than decade-old program that encouraged Danish chefs to break the mold of nutritious but boring dishes and reconstitute them as pure, simple and tasteful.

He's clearly mastered the technique.

On the menu recently: Sausage & Pickles, served with a house-made mustard, sauerkraut and pickled radishes ($9); a Stonyledge Farm Pear Salad with gem lettuce, pearl barley, Asian pear, blue cheese, and an apple vinaigrette ($8); and the Soeltl Farm Goat Curry, served with carrots, beets, onions, turnips, parsnips, barley, and yogurt and lime ($24).

This restaurant is still young and finding its way, but by nearly all accounts, it is off to a rip-roaring start.

— Ann Baldelli

Dev's On State

312 State St., New London

In whichever of their hopscotching locations in New London over the years — three different addresses on Bank Street and now in the old Hanifin's Irish Pub space on State Street — Dev's Bistro has been a reliably excellent place to eat and gather.

A recent dinner at Dev's on State was just an extraordinary experience: the service, an ambience that works as a Special Night Out or for casual post-work noshing and cocktails, and stunning and consistently excellent food.

There are plenty of small plate options from which the curious diner can sample and mix-and-match with fellow diners, and there's also a light fare section as well as higher priced entrees. You basically can't go wrong. Everything we tried was delicious and beautifully presented, but if you insist, let me say the Filet Mignon ($32), with a lightly charred exterior and a mellow pink core, was a beefy puck of greatness atop creamy mashed potatoes and nuanced by a creamy sundried tomato/bechamel sauce.

If seafood's more your thing, it's possible the steak was one-upped by the Seared Salmon ($26). Wow. This just-plucked-from-the-sea plank of fish was delicately seared and cooked to emphasize the fish's innate flavor and texture. The interior was just a velvety miracle, and the drizzled avocado-dill sauce was a revelation. 

— Rick Koster

The Nook Diner

1610 Saybrook Road, Haddam

(860) 554-3092

Some folks still hold that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Good thing at The Nook in Haddam, classic fast-breaking options are available all day.

We recommend the omelets no matter what time of day because when the kitchen knows how to make an egg white omelet properly — like the one I sampled on a recent visit (starting at $8.95) — it's likely every other iteration of omelet on the menu is going to be tasty.

Not an omelet at 1 p.m. kind of person? Not to worry. The Nook's lunch menu is loaded with lunchier dishes, from sandwiches, wraps, and salads (we loved the enormous Greek salad; $10) to burgers, dogs and melts. Or try the best of both worlds with The Rode, an impressive construction of steak, eggs, cheese, and bacon served between two waffles ($9.95; comes with home fries). That's breakfast and lunch in one shot, especially if you pair it with The Nook's fabulous biscuits and gravy ($5.95).

The fair prices on reliably ample portions are a nice cherry on top.

— Marisa Nadolny


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