The Shipwright’s Daughter opened in 2020 in the Whaler’s Inn in the heart of Mystic. Chef David Standridge changes the menu regularly to present highlights of the Connecticut coast. They also offer a tasting menu with optional wine pairings, but it must be reserved in advance. Wine Spectator magazine gave them an Award of Excellence for their wine selection and they also have a full bar. They also were the second Connecticut restaurant to be recognized by the James Beard Foundation’s ‘Smart Catch’ program. They are open for breakfast, brunch on the weekends, and dinner. It is a fairly large place with lowered lighting, music in the background, windows to the street, bare blond wood tables, and a large bar area. We were there on a Friday night and were glad we had a reservation as it was very busy, which also contributed to the noise factor. The lights are so low that many of the photos turned out grainy, so apologies in advance for that. Service was attentive but sometimes rushed and not engaging and the food was mixed.
We chose to drink sparkler with the meal and started with a half dozen of their chilled Fishers Island, NY oysters. They came with a lemon wedge, pink peppercorn mignonette, and cocktail sauce. Both sauces were good on the sweet lovely oysters. The peppery mignonette overwhelmed them and here I preferred a dab of the cocktail sauce.
Their beet-pickled deviled eggs are sold by the piece so we each had one. They are topped with a crispy clam and Espelette pepper. The beet colors the white of the egg so it comes out quite red which is a fun disruption of the usual expectation. The stuffing was creamy and tasty and the crispy clam added a fun textural component but it added little flavor.
Bread has to be ordered separately and it is a house-made sourdough with pumpkin sage butter. There were 4 thick slices of the delicious bread and butter. The bread had a wonderful texture and a good crisp crust. The flavored butter was nicely softened and easy to spread. It was worth adding to our menu.
Butternut squash and smoked mussel chowder were made with soft cream and smoked Maine mussels and served with a butternut squash fritter. It was a medium-sized bowl and the texture was not too thick. The mussels added a lovely smokiness to the flavor. and the little fritter was a fun accent to go with it.
Crispy local Tautog was served on Heirloom carrots, carrot puree, and smoked seabeans. It came as 2 boneless pieces covered with foam and microgreens. Under it was nicely cooked yellow and orange carrots and carrot puree. The fish was perfectly cooked but the setup seemed lacking in something to really accent the fish. The seabeans were not identifiable. There were some strings but they tasted just like cabbage, so who knows?
Local Fluke a la Plancha came with green Romesco, roasted honeynut squash, and a hazelnut vierge. It was one large piece of fish with a great crispy skin but still had the bones in the meat. The Romesco was a puree underneath and very mildly flavored with vinegar. I found it was not a good match with the fish. The toasted hazelnuts were great, especially with the sweet wonderful squash. The thicker part of the fish was cooked nicely but the small and large bones were a pain to deal with.
The Autumn Fruit Pavlova was recommended by the server. It contained pear mousse, autumn fruits, and Concord grape sorbet. There was a meringue shell filled with cream that housed the sorbet. Underneath were the pickled apples, pears, and grapes. It was loaded with flavor and texture and a really different dessert. I liked it, especially because it was so unique.