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Kitchen Little – Mystic, Connecticut

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lobster roll kitchen little

This lobster roll has been eluding me for quite some time.  Mainly because they only serve it before 2pm on weekdays, never on weekends, that’s always breakfast only and when I called, I was told that it’s not available at their new venture into dinner either.  It has however, been high on my list because they claim to use local, fresh seafood only and seem to be known for home cooking.  They recently moved from their tiny, “little” shack near Mystic Seaport to a much more off the beaten track, but so worth the effort, location at the Mystic marina, (if you knew that existed).  Their website says turn right and follow that road all the way back, which sounds easy enough, but actually involves quite a few twists, splits and drives through residential streets.  But, finally you arrive at the marina and head to the second floor to one of the most gorgeous views in Connecticut overlooking the water.  The second floor view really is a great place to watch the boats go by and relax watching the sun on the water.  We went on probably the hottest day on record in CT and fully expected to melt, but we took a table outside on the deck and found it to be extremely breezy and pleasant.  So, I can imagine it’s even better on a less sweltering day.

After an extremely slow start (probably 15 minutes before we saw an actual waitress), our waitress proved to be extremely helpful, friendly and entertaining.  They cook and pick the lobster meat right there, every day for both the hot and cold versions of the lobster roll.  We, of course, ordered both and I really couldn’t decide which I liked better.  The cold didn’t look very picture ready when it arrived with two giant pieces of lettuce and the meat kind of falling out.  But, that didn’t keep me from seeing the large chunks of tail and claw meat used with a fairly minimal amount of mayo.  They use a mix of fresh chopped herbs in both the hot and cold versions and the subtle flavor addition really adds a pleasant, fresh twist.  The meat is fantastic and the hot version managed to not be overcooked as is a common pitfall of the hot, buttered lobster roll.  The bun was your standard split top and could benefit from a more aggressive buttering and grilling, it was more toasted than grilled.  But overall, these lobster rolls are among the best in Connecticut and once you factor in the gorgeous view, this really is a must try.

As Lobster Gal doesn’t do very well with getting an early start, we were there the last people there after their 2pm closing time and got to chatting with our waitress.  She was lamenting the fact that they really aren’t very busy and that they may be ending the dinner service if it doesn’t pick up.  It’s on the water, they serve beer and wine at dinner and top notch, fresh seafood.  Since I’ve discovered it, I’m really hoping they stay open more hours.  I asked if I could get the lobster roll on evenings or weekends and she said yes, if they have the ingredients and aren’t too busy.  Well, when I called, I was told in no uncertain terms that I could only get the lobster roll at lunch on weekdays, so I guess it depends on who you ask, which isn’t good.

I didn’t tell her, but if I were going to offer Kitchen Little some advice on how to maximize their significant assets, my first piece of advice would be to serve those lobster rolls whenever they are open.  I would also suggest they get rid of their restrictive menu policy of no lunch on weekends and no sandwiches at dinner.  It’s off-putting when a restaurant appears as if it isn’t accommodating of what diners want to eat.  I noticed on Tripadvisor and Yelp that I wasn’t the only one who thought so, not everybody at a table wants breakfast after noon.  You have a great menu, let people order off of it, all of it, all the time.  I would also say they need to trim down the menu a bit, it takes a week to read through and doesn’t emphasize the fresh seafood nearly enough.  I get that somebody in charge here really wants to lead with breakfast, but I would suggest they lead with seafood and also let people know they serve beer and wine.  I would have enjoyed a glass of wine with lunch, maybe it just got lost in the menu, but I saw no mention of it.  They also could use some work on the service issues.  Some more prominent signage along the road back wouldn’t hurt either, it’s not easy to find.

I’m certainly going to make my way down there for dinner, not just to support them so they keep doing it, but because it honestly is one of the best lobster rolls in Connecticut and it is accompanied by one of the best water views on the Connecticut shoreline.  It doesn’t get much better than that, well, it could get better and I sure hope it does, or at least opens up the lobster roll availability.

Cold weighed in at 5.5 ounces

Hot weighed in at 5.1 ounces

Kitchen Little website

Visited July 2013

Kitchen Little on Urbanspoon

The Dog Watch Cafe – Stonington, Connecticut

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Lobster Roll Dog Watch Cafe Stonington, Connecticut

In my favorite town in Connecticut, Stonington, this is my second favorite restaurant, by a nose.  Not because the food isn’t as good, but the view is better at Skipper’s Dock.  It’s worth mentioning that the clam chowder here is amazing, some of the best I’ve ever had.  The lobster roll is just fine.  It’s a cold lobster roll, all claw meat, overly shredded for my taste and with minimal mayo.  It involved celery and shredded lettuce, which I’m not a fan of and it is served in a standard white split top bun, nicely grilled.  The fries are great, they are those double fried, crusty outside kind.  This is a great restaurant on a day when outdoor dining isn’t the best option.  Dog Watch has more of a cozy, warm, soup and beer kind of vibe, great place.

Visited June 2011

Dog Watch on Urbanspoon

Skipper’s Dock – Stonington, Connecticut

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Lobster Sandwich Skipper's Dock Stonington, Connecticut

When I think of my happy place within an hour’s driving time, I head to Stonington, the prettiest town in Connecticut.  Sitting on the deck overlooking the water at Skippers Dock, enjoying a hot lobster sandwich with a giant bloody mary completes the vision.  This particular time, my friend Mark and I headed down for the Stonington Garden tour.  We were going to make it a yearly thing, but turns out the garden tour is only every three years.  Maybe we’ll just sit on the deck here all day.  I won’t say this, strictly speaking, the best lobster roll/sandwich in Connecticut, it isn’t, but sometimes the food just isn’t the whole experience.  If you want the relaxing CT waterfront lobster moment, Skipper’s Dock is your place.  I only ever get the hot lobster sandwich, I’ve seen the cold, and it just doesn’t look as good.  The hot version is all claw meat, large chunks, hearty portion, served hot with melted gruyere cheese and a side of butter on grilled bakery fresh bread.  Pictured here is the version without the cheese, what can I say, swimsuit season was fast approaching and you have to cut the calories somewhere if you want to involve cups of butter in your diet.  You can get a caesar salad with it too if that’s your thing.

Visited June 2011

Skipper's Dock on Urbanspoon