If you find yourself on State Road (Route 3A) in the Manomet section of Plymouth, we recommend making a stop at Aroma Tavern and Grill. The food is good, prices are reasonable, service is friendly, the atmosphere is comfortable, the selection is broad, and the staff accommodated special requests.
You can’t ask for much more than that from a pub nestled into a suburban strip mall. Yes, you can ask for a slightly less kitchy decor. You can ask for sea scallops on your scallop roll, instead of bay scallops. You can ask for the restaurant to reduce the number of special menus — we had four menus apiece, and that was silly. That’s really the best we can do for criticism. In fact, we liked the place so much that after a recent lunch in the dining room with friends, we went back inside to check out the bar, which is where we would normally dine.
Inspired by N., who was enjoying a Cranberry Flower Martini ($8.50) when we arrived, the Big Dog ordered a Raspberry Truffle Martini ($10). Good enough to order two, but not necessarily a good lunch accompaniment. Spotting an Argento Malbec ($7), Gina didn’t have to think twice. T. had a Blue Moon beer ($4.50 for a 16-ounce draft).
Feeling assaulted by all those menus, we decided to start with a couple of intriguing-sounding appetizers from among the regular lunch selections. Potato-crusted calamari ($9), served with orange chipotle mayonnaise, and lobster mac and cheese ($13), served in a little crock, were possibly our best choices of the day. Both were delicious and there was plenty to share. As server Karen promised, the potato flour made the calamari batter airy without a potato-y taste. Nearly every bite of the mac and cheese contained a piece of lobster.
The Big Dog chose a “Power Lunch” from menu #3, a selection of soup-salad-sandwich arrangements for $10. His choices were the aforementioned scallop roll, which he found disappointing because of the bay scallops, a good little caesar salad, and a very good bowl of chowder.
Although the roasted beet and goat cheese salad craze has abated, Gina still orders them whenever she sees them, and this one ($8) was good, with thick slices of beets. She added a lobster roll ($12), which was kind of chewy (but seriously, isn’t lobster always kind of chewy?). The dish ordinarily comes with fries, but Gina requested a substitution and chose a baked potato from among the starches, then disruptively asked for an order of good sauteed vegetables instead, and both the vegetables (mostly cauliflower and zucchini) and the potato arrived, with none of your irritating “upcharges.” Lest you think we’re total pigs, we brought most of the sides home.
N and T ordered London broil ($14) and steak tips ($15) and approved of each, saying that they had been cooked properly rare as they requested.
Our round booth in the back of the restaurant, opposite a gas fire, was comfortable, but the focus here seems to be on the bright and pleasant bar, where at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon, hightop tables were already filling up with regulars. Our colleague Joan, whose family summers nearby, recommended the place, and we could easily imagine vacationers and beachgoers packing the place on a summer evening.
Aroma Tavern and Grille
739 State Road (Route 3a), Manomet