Occasionally, I am lured to take one step over the line from Hudson Valley into CT to visit a border town like Kent, Danbury or Salisbury. Recently, I was obsessed to see the CT Housatonic River ice jam which had made the national news! In mid-January several families were evacuated and a section of Route 7 was closed after a mile-long ice jam in the Housatonic River caused excessive flooding in Kent.
After hiking to the top of Kent Falls and taking lots of photos of the frozen Housatonic, I was starving! There are several restaurants on Kent’s quaint Main Street, but I couldn’t resist the homey setting of the Kingsley Tavern
for their comfort food…mac & cheese oozing with three cheeses, shrimp, tomato, bacon & jalapeño. Anna Gowan, the chef and owner, has a great food philosophy. “I always start by looking at what the local farms have to offer, and let the ingredients dictate the menu. Since we are lucky enough to live in an area where fresh produce, eggs and meat are so abundant, I try to respect the individual ingredients. I focus on freshness and simplicity.”
Appetizers include Absinthe-steamed Prince Edward Island mussels, fried breaded pickle spears with spicy ranch dressing, and my personal favorite, crispy Brussels sprouts mixed with smoky bacon and a lemon Dijon sauce. The crowd favorite for a scrumptious sandwich is the Saigon, a pickled daikon & carrot, jalapeño, cilantro, cucumber & sriracha mayo on a baguette, with your choice of pork belly, grilled shrimp, fried tofu or kimchee. The Kingsley burger is a 1/2 pound of local beef & veal, sharp cheddar, sunny side egg, and bacon jam. Fish tacos, meatloaf, and steak frites round out the menu.
We sat at the handsome stainless steel bar and chatted amicably with the servers. Anna, with a huge, welcoming smile, came out to check on her customers and inquire about our meal. “She’s the best boss in the world,” one of the servers whispered to me. That about sums up the warm vibe at this not to missed Kent treasure.
If you find yourself venturing one step over the line for a shopping spree at the Danbury Fair Mall, take an easy detour to the Mothership on Main.
Mothership on Main was originally a gas station built in an Art Deco style in 1931. The building has a circular awning and a throwback circular sign in the front that illuminates. The baked goods are sometimes better than grandma makes including their famous chocolate chip cookies, sweet scones and pies. “All of our bread is housemade, and most of our menu is built around our breads,” says Andrea White & Anna Llanos, owners. “We bake bread every day, and we don’t use any preservatives or artificial ingredients.” Signature sandwiches include Black Forest ham and aged cheddar with Granny Smith apples and honey mustard, BLT on a Ciabatta slathered with a chipotle mayonnaise , and roast beef with fresh pesto, provolone and roasted peppers. My friend travels miles out of her way for one of their BLT’s! Weekend brunch specials may include Dutch Baby Pancakes or crepes.
When I first walked inside, I couldn’t decide where to sit. There are comfy couches, corners filled with toys, great places to set up your laptop, and tables with jars of colorful crayons for the kids or Trivia Pursuit cards for the adults.
Mothership Bakery makes its food from scratch, including the sauces, salad dressings and baked goods. It also serves organic coffee and tea. White and Llanos said they cook or bake only what they think they will need for that day, instead of making large batches that could sit around.
“It’s an amped-up version of home cooking,” Llanos said. “It doesn’t have that institutional taste.”
14 N Main St, Kent, CT
331 Main Street, Danbury, CT