Last Saturday, Noe and I headed to the Captain Daniel Packer Inne for the second time. We were accompanied by Noe's sidekick Ryan.
When we ate at Daniel Packer the first time, I was less-than-impressed with my salad (a promising champagne vinaigrette and strawberry confection that turned out to be absolutely DRENCHED in dressing) but had a knock-my-socks-off entree of delicious baked scallops with herb butter, bread crumbs, and cheddar cheese.
This time, it was the salad that stole the show - frisee greens with pears, candied walnuts, red onions, and a honey vinaigrette, with some asiago cheese thrown in for good measure. The frisee had just the right degree of bitterness (not a lot, but enough to make it interesting), the pears were crisp and juicy (rather than mealy - ugh!) and the red onion had that sharp bite that - with the flavor of the greens - kept the pear and honey combination from being cloyingly sweet. (I would have gone with regular toasted rather than candied walnuts, but hey - it's a very minor complaint).
My entree, on the other hand, was not that memorable. I had Veal Homard - veal loin sauteed with big chunks of fresh lobster and shiitake mushrooms, finished with a Madiera demi glace and truffle oil, seasoned with aromatics. While the meat was cooked perfectly and the lobster chunks were indeed large and abundant, I just didn't get a lot out of this dish flavor-wise. It never lived up to that fabulous, aromatic smell, the natural sweetness of the lobster was somewhat lost in under the demi glace, and the truffle oil didn't make any impact whatsoever. There was nothing bad about this dish; it just wasn't a stand-out for me. There was simultaneously too much and not enough going on.
Likewise, Noe's Blackjack Sirloin - so good last time - just tasted like the grill on this visit, rather than the peppercorns it was seasoned with (it must have just been an off night where this is concerned, because last time it was incredibly good - and the meat this time was still a nice cut and perfectly cooked to order).
Ryan went for one of the nightly specials and one of the more exotic dishes on the menu - braised antelope. He did let me try a bite - gamey, but what else would you expect from an antelope? The gaminess would not phase anyone who has ever eaten venison - I think regular old Michigan deer may even be a little gamier (or maybe they just have their own flavor). At any rate, the antelope was very good, although probably not for everyone.
Although the entrees were not quite up to the standard we enjoyed the first time we visited, we still really enjoy the DPI. The atmosphere - an old farmhouse on the water in Mystic, with several tiny dining rooms - is also enjoyable. I'd still recommend it to anyone looking for a quality, more upscale meal.
Happy New Year!
2 years ago