During our long weekend in Mystic, CT, we had a fantastic dinner at The Shipwright’s Daughter, attached to The Whaler’s Inn hotel. We’d heard of Executive Chef David Standridge’s culinary expertise, but after having seen and tasted it for ourselves, I can sincerely say that this highly acclaimed restaurant isn’t getting enough attention. Recognized by Wine Spectator for its excellent wine pairings, named one of the 50 best wine destinations in America, and the winner of Connecticut‘s Restaurant of the Year last year, this is some of the very best food I’ve had on the East Coast. It’s well worth a journey to taste the fresh, seasonal, coastal cuisine handcrafted from scratch here that honors New England’s roots without forsaking aesthetics and creativity.
The Shipwright’s Daughter
Location: Mystic, CT
Address: 20 East Main St,
Mystic, CT 06355
Food Type: Seafood & New England Americana
Dining Experience: Indoor
Price: $75+ per Person
Dress Code: Smart Casual +
Special Diets: Pescatarian, Gluten-Free (not GF dedicated)
The atmosphere of The Shipwright’s Daughter is very coastal, elegant, and refined. There is just the right amount of décor to make it feel inviting and convey a sophisticated nautical vibe without being cheezy. The restaurant itself also feels like a more elevated extension of the Connecticut shoreline itself. Intensely deep blues and subtle silvers throughout the space make it stand out from traditional dining spaces.
There are four distinct dining areas: the bar, stand-alone tables, cozier dining along the windows, and wide booths facing the coast. Each space was a distinct dining experience, so couple that with the ever-changing, hyper-seasonal menu that reflects the very best coastal cuisine, and it’s a recipe for a different experience each time.
The Shipwright’s Daughter’s Menu & Our Meals
The menus vary daily and change based on what’s available locally. Some ingredients are foraged, some are grown nearby, and much of what’s served on the menu is caught fresh locally daily. Everything we ate here was out of this world, and it’s easy to see from a single meal why this restaurant has won so many exceptionally competitive awards.
If you know me, you know I love fresh seafood. It’s flavorful and healthy, and it gives a fantastic insight into what an area tastes like. That’s why I started with the Roasted Oysters featuring sugar kelp furikake butter, lime, & cilantro. These were the best oysters I’ve ever had, no questions asked. The flavors, texture, consistency, and mouthfeel were all second to none, and I would return to the restaurant based on these oysters alone!
Robin and I shared the Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs with strips of crispy clam and espelette pepper, which were SO good! Generally, I wouldn’t say I like eggs (I know, I know), but these were unbelievably tasty.
We each also had a mocktail. Mine, shown above, was a ginger, grapefruit, peach, and basil drink. His was cherry and lime infused with rosemary. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, the bartenders here also know how to mix great non-alcoholic beverages!
Their raw oysters are just as delicious and fresh as their roasted oysters. Served with a pink peppercorn mignonette, cocktail sauce, and lemon juice, The Shipwright’s Daughter’s Daily Selection of Oysters was very refreshing and light.
For our main courses, I had a Radicchio Salad with radicchio, shaved vegetables, fine herbs, & tarragon vinaigrette. It was a bitter salad, but I love bitter foods, so I found it the perfect companion for my seafood.
Robin had a tasting size of the Squid Ink Rigatoni with spicy XO sauce, marinated mussels, crispy cabbage, basil & mint, and he raved about how phenomenal it was. It smelled and looked unbelievably good!
For his main course, he had the Fluke a la Plancha with grapefruit braised radish, rosemary, & herb oil. He deboned the fish himself, and though he said the dish had a more bitter flavor profile than he is used to, he loved the butteriness of the fish, the grapefruit-infused fish skin that was crunchy and perfectly grilled, and the light, nutty taste of the radish.
When dessert rolled around, Robin wanted to try all three of the restaurant’s desserts at the behest of our waitress, who insisted we had to try all of them. So, we tried the Baroque Cheesecake, Smashed Pavlova with grapefruit and pistachio gelato, and a honey, cream, and chocolate dessert. They were all so rich and delicious!
Everything about our visit was phenomenal. The service, the food, the mocktails, the atmosphere – all of it was perfect. There truly wasn’t a thing I’d change about our visit, and everything was so delicious. I’m still dreaming about the roasted oysters, and Robin has begun trying to make his own XO sauce at home to try to recreate the Squid Ink Rigatoni. Our meal was wonderful, from start to finish, and I can’t say enough good things about The Shipwright’s Daughter. Drop in for brunch, happy hour (they have 1/2-price oysters!), or dinner for an unforgettable meal in Connecticut’s best restaurant.