Mashed potatoes are as American as, well, mashed potatoes. They are and have been the staple starch on American dinner tables since before there was a United States – as a Colonial era inn still in business in Mystic can attest. Smashed, mashed, smushed, whipped, beaten, pureed or similarly tortured by hand, whisk or blender, they lend themselves to chefs’ whimsies very well, as this list of five unique ways to serve the sacred smashed spuds shows.
The Mashed Potato Pizza
83 N. Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 06492
“You Ringa, we Bringa” is the motto of Amore Apizza in Wallingford, and among the more unusual offerings on the menu is the “Mashed Potato Pizza” – a white pizza topped with mashed potatoes, bacon, cheddar jack and mozzarella. It comes with a side of sour cream. Available in small, medium and large from $14.45 to $20.25, the Mashed Potato Pizza is a meal in itself – although it nicely complements some of the other specialty pizzas – notably the Surf and Turk (made with steak and shrimp), Double Decker Chicken or the Buffalo Chicken. As an added bonus, Amore Apizza offers free delivery in Wallingford and South Meriden. Owners Keith and Eddie make all of their pizzas “New Haven style,” and are open 362 days a year (closing only for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter). Thus those who wanted a “Mashed Potato Pizza” for their holiday table must order it a day early and keep it in the fridge until warming it up for the feast.
D.P.I. Smashed Red Potatoes
Captain Daniel Packer Inne
32 Water Street
The Captain Daniel Packer Inne in Mystic is famous for many things – including being one of the oldest inns in the state, as it is has been in business since before the Revolution. It is also well known for its signature D.P.I. mashed potatoes – which are “smashed” red potatoes that are then whipped to an unparalleled level of smoothness. Executive chef Chazz Paul has both recreated the old Colonial flavors that made the inn’s cuisine so popular and has added dishes from around the world – notably the Korean Short Ribs, Wild Boar Sausage and Veal Homard. While these and other fine offerings are exquisite, many regulars say that as good as those are, it is the D.P.I. (for Daniel Packer Inne) mashed potatoes that keeps bringing them back.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1128 New Britain Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06110
Any restaurant can add garlic to their mashed potatoes, but the Beachland Tavern in West Hartford seems to have gotten the proportion of spice to starch just right, at least according to its loyal patrons. Its garlic mashed potatoes come with several entrees – notably the steak tips, grilled pork tenderloin and “Mom’s Meat Loaf,” but are also available as a side dish. Waiters note that it is not uncommon to have customers whose meals include the garlic mashed potatoes also order them as a side – sometimes to share with fellow diners or to take home as leftovers.
Wasabi Spiked Mashed Potatoes
56 South Broad St.
Milford CT, 06460
Wasabi and mashed potatoes are words rarely found on the same menu, let alone together, but Citrus in Milford has taken that bold step of combining this potent Japanese condiment with that favored but arguably often most bland of American side dishes. Apparently it works, because diners rave about this unusual variation on the classic dinner table fare. Citrus has other variations on the simple mashed potato, including lobster mashed potatoes and even a mashed potato pizza – the later made with roasted garlic puree, bacon, goat cheese and chives. Citrus also makes a basic Yukon mashed potato side for its filet mignon, but also does a variation called “Yukon Mash” as a bed upon which to present the pan roasted tilapia.
Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes
J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks and Seafood
185 Glastonbury Blvd.
Glastonbury, CT 06033
The white cheddar chipotle mashed potatoes that come with the Petite Filet Oscar, Ribeye Cowboy Cut and other fine and reasonably priced meat and seafood dishes or combinations at J. Gilbert’s in Glastonbury are a delight. The potatoes have just enough cheddar to color and flavor them – without making them gummy or overly cheesy. Mashed potatoes are a staple of any good steak house, and at J. Gilbert’s, the cheddar potatoes are the house favorite.
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.