Oyster Club is a farm-and-sea-to-table place that opened in 2011 and the night we were there Renee Touponce was Executive Chef. Chef has made connections with various farmers and fishermen to present these local items in creative combinations. Originally the building was a small carriage house in downtown Mystic and was renovated to become a restaurant. The restaurant was re-modeled during the pandemic while management moved their food service to Stone Acres Farm where they could dine at a safe distance in 200-year-old gardens. Now the expanded place has a daily changing menu but still delivers creative and delicious food with excellent service. They always have several types of local fresh oysters available in the main dining rooms but in the Treehouse, which is outdoors on the top of the building, a limited selection is available. It’s a fun place with art on the walls, music in the background, lowered lighting, and bare wood tables but enough dampening in the surroundings that the noise level was very acceptable. We sat in one of the booths that line the wall opposite the one with street windows. I understand there is a second-floor dining area but didn’t get up there. It was a dressier crowd but maybe they knew they had arrived at the fine dining spot in town. Put this one on your list when you travel to Connecticut and ask for Dru to be your server.
The night we visited they offered 4 varieties of raw oysters and 2 of clams. We had 2 of each of the oysters, 3 of which were from CT and one from RI. All of them were wonderful and came with lemon, house-made cocktail sauce topped with fresh horseradish, and a classic mignonette. Both sauces were wonderful and didn’t dwarf the delicate flavor of the oysters but rather enhanced them.
We followed that with some of their Cornbread made with Davis Farm flint cornmeal and served with rhubarb butter topped with smoked sea salt. This was so delicious, it didn’t need the slightly sweet butter but that was too good not to use. Totally yummy the tender bread had a nice crust and crispy edge.
The Clam Chowder can be ordered in New England style or RI style. The latter is with a clear broth that is made into NE style by the addition of cream. We went with the Rhode Island style. The chowder contained quahogs (hard shell clams), salt pork, and potatoes. It was delicious with a fine depth of flavor. The potatoes were perfectly cooked but not to the point where they melted into the broth. Without the cream, it almost seemed light but had the rich smoky flavor imparted by the salt pork. It was very nice.
The Butcher’s Block entrees all came with the same set-up – mashed sweet potatoes, creamed kale, and Worcestershire molasses. The organic Wild Harmony pork chop was an 18 oz. cut. This plate had a nice helping of chopped tender kale on top of the meat and mashed sweet potatoes underneath. The pork was cooked perfectly, tender, and moist with a peppery glaze on the outside. Everything was well seasoned and blended well.
The Prime NY Strip came in 6 or 12 oz sizes. I chose the latter. It didn’t have quite as much kale on top but had the deliciously smooth and buttery sweet potatoes underneath and additional sauce under that. The meat was again cooked perfectly and while it didn’t have the deepest beef flavor it was tender and tasty. Both main plates were extremely satisfying.
Almond Brown Butter Cake was accented with ginger sabayon, caramelized pear, whipped cream, and toasted almonds. This is a signature dish of the kitchen and so seemed ideal to end the meal with. The excellent butter cake was wonderful, especially when blended with the spiced pears and rich sauce. The cake had a lovely texture and was plenty for 2 to split. A perfect way to end a fabulous meal.