Exclusive fine dining in Connecticut
Mystic, Connecticut’s new Spicer Mansion is an exquisite hotel, but the gorgeously restored 19th-century manor isn’t the only draw. The Restaurant at Spicer Mansion attracts visitors from around the world. But, there’s a catch — not everyone can get in. This memorable tasting room experience is open only guests of the hotel and its sister properties in the Ocean House Collection, and other invited parties. Here’s why you should book an overnight to score a coveted reservation.
The Pre-Dinner Experience
Dinner begins in one of the Mansion’s maritime-inspired salons. Marvel at the frescoed ceilings, restored to their original glory when the building was being converted from an apartment building into a hotel. Here, you’ll relax on a comfortable sofa or chair and chat with your dinner companions while sipping a cocktail or beverage of your choice.
As you enjoy drinks, you’ll be presented with a selection of canapés designed to prepare you for the meal ahead. On a recent visit, these included a miniature potato topped with crème fraîche and an edible flower. When your table is ready, you’ll be welcomed into the dining room.
The Restaurant’s tasting-menu-only experience features farm-to-table fare designed nightly by chef Jennifer Backman. Backman takes inspiration from her strong relationships with nearby farms as well as her regular work with the food forager at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star sister property Ocean House to find the freshest seasonal ingredients possible.
Expect a six-course menu composed of both meat and seafood — or a vegetarian selection — which can be mixed and matched as desired, with optional (yet well worth the price) wine pairings.
Items change nightly, but they are inventive plays on classics. Past dishes have included chicken and dumplings made with roasted chicken breast, Hudson Valley foie gras and chicken consommé, and a French onion soup served as a mirepoix of vegetables in a light veal broth with a spring onion tartlet on the side.
Don’t miss the optional cheese course, where many of the selections come from local farms, and save room for the post-dessert mignardises served in a custom jewelry box.
The Sister Restaurants
The Mystic restaurant has had no shortage of buzz since its opening, due in part to its affiliation with sister restaurants like Seasons, the Five-Star spot at Ocean House. In fact, many of The Restaurant’s superior staff formerly worked at Seasons. Chef Backman herself has nearly two decades of experience in some of Rhode Island’s best kitchens, including her most recent role as executive chef of the Four-Star Weekapaug Inn.
The intimate dining room overlooking the Mansion’s gardens is as simple as the food is complex. The purposefully quiet dining space, where diners sit side by side at intimate banquettes or at round tables set with Baccarat crystal and Italian hemstitch linens, is best for couples or small groups.
The art on the walls, items on loan from nearby galleries or available for sale from local artists, enhance the mood.
Dress to match the occasion – jackets and collared shirts are required for men, and no jeans are allowed.
The perfect place to enjoy a post-meal cocktail, Room No. 9 Speakeasy is located in the Mansion’s basement. The cozy space, opening later this year, has been built out to resemble a Prohibition-era cocktail lounge. Look for creative twists on classic cocktails made with fresh ingredients.