32 West Main St
Azu Restaurant, an upscale bar and restaurant located in downtown Mystic, is the ideal destination for cocktails and “Bites.” They are run by the CK Restaurant Group, who also own Bravo Bravo Restaurant and Bar in Mystic and Olio Restaurant in Groton. Although I noticed online that Azu was classified as “Italian,” I would consider the menu to be “American Fusion.” My husband and I went on a Friday night with a reservation, and we were seated immediately despite being 15 minutes early.
Azu has an extensive drink menu with a long list of cosmos. They offer about 5 beers on draft, with more bottled beers available. I ordered the “Citrus Lemonade,” made with citrus vodka, to start. I enjoyed the fizziniess, but would probably order it without the mint leaves next time. My husband ordered one of the beers on tap, Cottrell Mystic Bridge IPA, which is made locally in Pawcatuck. We were also given a small basket of Italian-style bread with a delicious plate olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip it in.
There is a large list of appetizers at Azu Restaurant, called “Bites” on the menu, ranging from “Dim Sum” to “Lamp Loli Pops.” Being the classy couple that we are, the appetizer that we chose to order was the “Queso Fundido” from the “Daily Specials” menu. Basically, chips and cheese dip. But it’s not your average cheese dip, I swear! It had delicious chorizo and jalapenos in it, and the chips were perfection. Fresh, crispy, crunchy, and colorful.
Although we ordered meals, I forgot to take pictures of them. We ended up waiting about 15 minutes for them to come out after our appetizer, and by the time we got our food I completely forgot about the pictures and went straight to stuffing my face. I ordered one of the dinner specials of the night, “Memphis BBQ Short Ribs.” I love BBQ and being from the South, I have high standards for my beef and my BBQ sauce. The ribs were perfectly cooked and super tender, but they were drenched in sauce that was too sweet and salty for my taste. The pickled slaw and corn grits that accompanied my meal helped provide a good contrast to the sauce however. My husband ordered the “Pork Tenderloin” off the dinner menu, which had been recommended to him by a co-worker. He absolutely loved the pork. He ordered it medium, and it arrived little more than medium well, but the crunchy cashew coating and flavor of the pork more than made up for the temperature. Our meals had generous portion sizes; mine came with 2 large short ribs and the pork came with 2 large tenderloins. I did notice some tables nearby that seemed to have smaller portions, but they might have just ordered “Bites” for their meals.
Although the food and prices are upscale at Azu, people were dressed casually and at 6:30pm, a few tables were filled with couples with young children. I personally wouldn’t bring my 2 young daughters there as there’s not much space between tables, and I’m not sure how some of the typical clientele would feel about it.
I would visit Azu Restaurant again for an “adult night out.” Because of our family budget and the menu prices however, I’d go just for cocktails and “Bites.” And next time, I’ll order one of the fancier ones to impress you guys!