One of my favorite new-ish restaurants to pop up in the culinary hot spot of Mystic, Connecticut is the hip Engine Room. This outstanding restaurant highlights fresh, unique food served in a welcoming, very Instagrammable atmosphere. Let’s talk through their scrumptious menu while settling into their comfortable seats and remarking on their friendly staff.
Brunch at the Engine Room
Whether you think brunch is overrated or not, you should find your way to the Engine Room for a leisurely Sunday brunch with friends. Set inside an open wood and brick interior, with metal chairs and shiny black leather booth seating, you’ll feel comfortable enough to linger over your meal, and unlike many crowded establishments, you won’t feel rushed by the staff.
Back to the menu, which has something for traditional sweet breakfast lovers and those who aren’t really into breakfast foods (oh, the horror!).
The highlight for me from the brunch menu is the cinnamon pecan bun, which is baked in a cast iron skillet and topped with toasted pecans and bourbon maple glaze. It is so good. Actually, anything they serve in a cast iron skillet is amazing, and I’m still hoping that they’ll add their skillet-baked Dutch pancake back to the menu one of these days.
For non-breakfast lovers who find themselves at brunch, chicken and waffles catches the eye with buttermilk coated chicken and a cornmeal waffled topped with surprising sesame-honey hot sauce and a sunny-side up egg. For more Southern love, they’ve got biscuits and gravy. The Hangover Burger is another insane menu option, with local beef, bacon, a sunny-side up egg, bbq aioli, and pickles. My dining companion ate this entire burger with gusto, so I’d say it gets a two-thumbs up. We opted to switch the accompanying onion rings out for a hefty serving of sweet potato fries with this dish and they were superb.
Another person in my party felt like something lighter, and went with the Stone Acres Farm Salad. This was a massive, larger than human-head-sized salad that was packed with greens, veggies, and local cheese and topped with a green onion and caramelized honey-citrus vinaigrette. It was definitely a winner for a healthier brunch order — and one that wouldn’t leave you hungry ten minutes after finishing it, too.
Though sides are definitely an overlooked and oft forgotten part of the menu, don’t overlook the sides at the Engine Room. The cornbread with maple butter for $5 knocks it out of the park. Though we were overly stuffed, we managed to leave only crumbs. And have ordered it multiple times since.
Lunch and Dinner
You’ll recognize a few overlaps with the brunch and lunch & dinner menu at the Engine Room, but who cares — a smaller menu done well is better than a far too large menu. The menu features a smorgasbord of light bites, filling salads, massive burgers, sandwiches, and a selection of entrees that will have you traveling with your taste buds.
This fall, their menu takes inspiration from the South, with numerous fried chicken dishes including their spicy buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with chicken from Baffoni Farm, a poultry farm located just over the border in Rhode Island. This sandwich was definitely spicy, but not at the sake of the flavor, and I recommend it to those who love spice. This sandwich came with a hearty side of potato salad, which was good although a bit too mayonnaisey for my taste.
Another delicious chicken sandwich ordered at our table was the chicken burger, topped with avocado puree and a spicy jalapeno mayo. The sauce on this sandwich was not quite as spicy as in the buttermilk fried sandwich, so if you’d like a bit of heat, but not too much, this is a flavorful sandwich to order.
Perhaps the favorite around our table was the pulled pork sandwich with a South Carolina-inspired mustard and coleslaw. Much to the chagrin of the diner who ordered it, the pulled pork was passed around our table so we could all have a taste. Order the house cut fries with the pulled pork, or with any other sandwich, as they stood out from the side options that accompany the burgers and sandwiches. The fries at the Engine Room are easily demolished, as they are cooked perfectly and are seasoned heavily with salt and black pepper — just the way I like them.
Though I didn’t imbibe during my several visits, the Engine Room is locally known for their great selection of mixed drinks, Bloody Mary’s, and local beers. In fact, I was really happy to see a selection from our friends at Fox Farm Brewery (http://www.ctbites.com/blog/2017/7/30/fox-farm-brewery-a-new-brewery-that-puts-salem-on-the-map) in Salem.
The Engine Room is located on 14 Holmes Street, Mystic, CT and has a small parking lot. More parking is available on the nearby streets. Hours vary throughout the week, but as a rule of thumb, the Engine Room is open from 12 pm to 10 pm from Monday through Saturday (with longer hours on Fridays and Saturdays). Sunday brunch is offered from 10 am until 3 pm and dinner is served on Sundays from 3 pm until 10 pm. Because the Engine Room is a local favorite spot, I’d suggest making a reservation either online or by phone to avoid disappointment.
The Engine Room 14 Holmes St, Mystic, Connecticut