The Mustard Seed Café at the Depot—it’s a lengthy name for a teeny restaurant packed full of charm and tempting food. No wonder my sister has been nagging me to try it for so long. We arrived at 5:30 on a Tuesday night to the former railroad depot. Our table was immediately inside the door with only about ten other tables filling the small restaurant. Huge windows let golden autumn sunlight flood the space while above us hung paintings of fruits and vegetables were strung across the high ceilings.
Kid-friendly and comfortable
As we sat down, I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw that the white tablecloth was covered with white paper. Our server greeted us warmly and gave the kids the crayons with an invitation to color all over the paper. The kids gladly accepted while Jeremy and I checked out the menu. Fine dining, indeed – the menu offered steaks and unusual combinations that sounded intriguing and an impressive wine, beer and cocktail list. Remarkably, the Mustard Seed shifts its menu by day of the week and time of day – there’s a brunch menu, a weekend evening tapas menu, a weekday dinner menu and a lunch menu. And yes, there’s a children’s menu, printed elegantly on a little card, with fairly standard options.
For additional variety, we ordered an extra children’s flatbread pizza. I chose the Caprese Stuffed Chicken with Arugula and Orzo while Jeremy selected the Italian Drunken Shrimp with pasta. While waiting for our entrees, we started with the hummus appetizer which was served with soft, warm pita bread as well as cucumber slices. Joey, our six-year-old resident hummus expert, pronounced it “zingy” and devoured it eagerly (along with all the pita).
As the chef prepared our meals, I sat back and observed the tiny restaurant. I noticed an old pew bench under the windows. More diners arrived. The Mustard Seed seemed like the fine dining equivalent to Cheers – familiar, comfortable and cherished. The restroom reinforced this idea— the walls displayed doodles previous guests drew on the paper lining the tables.
Delicious and desserts!
When our food arrived, it was clear that the previous guests’ gushing was warranted. My chicken burst with a fresh, robust flavor from the cheese and tomato “stuffing.” And oh, the orzo pasta was creamy, garlicky goodness. Jeremy’s dish looked especially impressive. A trio of rolled pasta was carefully balanced into a tower on the plate. He raved about the flavor of the sauce and reported that the shrimp were delicious. The girls enjoyed their grilled cheese sandwiches, oozing with real cheese on thick slices of bread. Leland inhaled his fried chicken which was clearly freshly made in-house. The flatbread pizza appeared to be more of a tortilla with salsa and cheese than a true pizza but the kids didn’t seem to mind. And each children’s meal also came with a helping of fresh grapes.
After such delicious dinners, we couldn’t resist trying dessert. Out came a monster cookie heaped with vanilla ice cream and an elegant martini glass with balls of delicate pistachio ice cream. The cookie had that perfect balance of crispy edges and melt-in-your-mouth middle while the ice cream had a refreshingly light, nutty flavor.
It’s hard to determine what is most impressive about the Mustard Seed, but whatever it was, we’ll return soon.
The Short Course
Noise Level: Quiet to average
High Chairs and Boosters: Yes
Got Milk? Yes
Kids Menu: Yes ($3.50)
Reservations: Yes and recommended.
Food Allergy Concerns: Ask your server or the manager for assistance with allergy concerns.
The Mustard Seed at the Depot 562 N. Main St. Bluffton TheMustardSeedCafeBluffton.com 567-226-1120 “Mustard Seed Café at the Depot” on Facebook Open: Closed Mondays Tuesday – Thursday 11:00-9:00 Friday 11:00-11:00 Saturday 9:00-11:00 Sunday 9:00-3:00