photo: fb @SPOyster Fresh Air and Great Food in Mystic Warmer weather in New England…
If all vegan food was prepared this well I could give up meat. I’m on the second floor of S&P Oyster enjoying a spectacular 180 degree view of the scenic Mystic River. S&P has built its reputation upon legendary seafood and steaks but a friend recommended the new fall vegan menu. Peruvian Vegetable & Bean Soup is thick with white beans, corn and a warming blend of spices. Fresh pieces of zucchini, summer squash and fresh tomato lighten the texture and every bite is luscious. Vegan options are in the soup rotation but not available every day.
A trio of Vegetable Tacos (pictured above) is packed with eggplant, yellow squash, red pepper, onion, black beans, and corn. Mild spices accent rather than overwhelm the beautiful ingredients. Smokey flavor is detected from slices of grilled avocado topping each flour tortilla. I’m conditioned to choose tacos for their spicy kick but these simple flavors are satisfying. My non-vegan dining companion says they are the best tacos she’s ever had.
Sautéed onions and a fine chiffonade of fresh sage adorn chunks of Butternut Squash and Sage in an explosion of sweet and savory flavor. Additional sides include oven-roasted asparagus, roasted broccoli rabe and citrus slaw but the squash is flawless.
The understated description of Tri-colored Quinoa, Farro & Vegetable Bowl doesn’t do it justice. Yes, it contains kale, broccoli rabe, carrots, Seacoast wild mushrooms, peppers and onion but that doesn’t begin to describe the depth of flavor the kitchen has coaxed out of every component. Each vegetable is cooked separately and perfectly to retain its own flavor. The farro’s nuttiness and quinoa’s lighter texture absorb deeply roasted vegetable flavors. Many vegan meals lack flavor and complexity but not here. No dairy, no meat and no fish is no problem.
Additional vegan entrees include Roasted Vegetable Salad, Rocket Salad, and Roasted Vegetables over polenta, pasta (with herb-infused oil), or Canilla rice.
General Manager, Jeremy Socha, leads staff who embody warm professionalism. Each enjoys what he or she does and it shows. “The art of service”, Jeremy says, keeps team members aligned with all facets of fine dining. Each is trained to provide helpful wine and food pairing suggestions. Today, Courtney and Jason’s thoughtful service is integral to our relaxing dining.
All food is prepared on site from scratch and every process, including reservations, is done by hand. Special occasions prompt an edible message on dessert plates and S&P has its own upbeat Pandora soundtrack to enhance the already-inviting atmosphere. Educated locals and visitors alike are drawn to exceptional food, service and scenic views. Simplicity by design is how fresh ingredients are transformed into food so good it doesn’t need a heavy hand with spices or sauces.
Executive Chef Edgar Cobena cheerfully alters menu items to accommodate dietary needs or preferences. S&P Oyster is frequently recognized in magazines and on social media for vegan and gluten-free menus and for having one of the best overall dining experiences in Connecticut. I agree and will return soon with friends who are thoughtful and careful about what they eat. How wonderful it will be to share a meal where no one feels left out or short-changed and where the healthiest food is as delicious as the rest of the menu. I’m craving a repeat visit… soon.
see the full vegan menu
S & P Oyster Co.
1 Holmes St. (at the flagpole), Mystic