If you view dining out as entertainment, and also like us feel that a thoughtfully planned meal is like a well directed movie with preparation, setting and service all a part of the exquisite cinematography, then you must dine at the bar at The Cabin.
It has all of those elements, plus the outstanding choreography of a well managed kitchen, all on display.
We were prompted to visit The Cabin by all the positive reviews on a fun, homey Facebook page called Lakeville/Middleboro Dining Out (Gina is a huge fan and encourages you to apply for membership to the group). As the Big Dog has roots in that area, we entertained the possibility that the positive reviews were the result of Lakeville/Middleboro residents being among the nicest people in the world, and never negative.
But they were being totally honest, not just nice, about The Cabin. The food was very good, the service was attentive and friendly, and the interplay of the kitchen kept us entertained for our entire visit.
It was a warm evening and we were in summer mode, so Gina started with a Mezzacorona pinot grigio ($7) and the Big Dog ordered an Ultimate Margarita featuring Jose Cuervo 1800 ($8.95). Both choices were good.
We like fried oysters and these, a special served with a spicy aoili, were very good ($10.95). Our affable bartender/waitress, Rachael, tracked down their origin and seemed as surprised and disappointed as we that they were not local, but rather from Virginia. But as much as we like to support our local farmers, we also like clean oysters fried in a light batter, like these were.
We watched dish after dish of the special swordfish ($17.95) flying out of the kitchen towards the small and far less entertaining dining room, so the Big Dog ordered that. Gina chose the menu’s baked seafood trio ($19.95), which Rachael gladly matched with two vegetable sides (broccoli and the evening’s special, green beans).
We suspect that a restaurant owner, especially one present like the Cabin’s, regrets his open kitchen a hundred times on a busy Saturday night. He’ll see flaws and hear muttered obscenities that the rest of us miss. In our case, we watched Gina’s distinctive dish simmer under a heat lamp while the Big Dog’s swordfish remained in the queue, and we could sense the stress level elevating.
But not ours. We remained entertained and distracted by the kitchen — the cool pizza maker to our right, the seasoned fry guy, the line, the efficient expediter, and their interplay with the rest of the staff.
When it arrived, Gina’s delight in finding a restaurant finally having removed the tails from delicious shrimp outweighed the slight delay and any other conceivable flaw we could have found. The fish and scallops were cooked perfectly, as were the beans and broccoli.
The Big Dog knew going into it that he wasn’t going to like the pineapple salsa atop the pan blackened swordfish, so he scooped it off and enjoyed the dish without it. The balance included mashed sweet potatoes and delicious asparagus.
When we first sat, the couple next to us greeted us like regulars; over the course of the evening, another couple took their place and they too acted like they knew us. The Middleboro/Lakeville vibe is part of the entertainment at The Cabin, and really added to our enjoyment of our positive experience there.
114 East Grove Street, Middleboro