Archive for category Dining with a Great View
Cabby Shack, Plymouth
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Outdoor Dining, Pub, Restaurant Review, Seafood Restaurants on August 17, 2016
On a typical summer afternoon, a typical waterfront restaurant is jammed with people who are there for the view and the vibe, not the food, which is typically substandard.
There was nothing typical about our recent first visit to Cabby Shack on the bustling Plymouth waterfront. A light drizzle kept the crowds away, and we were treated to some really good fare.
We opted for seats at the third-floor outdoor bar, whose tiki top offered sufficient protection from the mist and whose railing offered a bird’s eye view of the harbor’s construction projects and boating activity. From our vantage point, we were able to watch cranes attending to a pier reconstruction and boat ramp project. Bartender Earl poured the Big Dog a 16-ounce Mayflower IPA ($5.75) and Gina a Quara Malbec ($7.50) in plastic cups, and we were content to sit and watch.
The Cabby Shack menu is full of the New England staples that a tourist from America’s Heartland would expect to find in America’s Hometown — let them go back west thinking that a basket of fries doused with chowda ($8.99) is a thing — but there were plenty of options for locals or visitors whose clam-o-meter has been tipped.
We started with chicken wings in a garlic parmesan sauce ($9.99). It was a simple dish, but one tasty enough to make us look forward to the rest of our lunch.
We love short ribs, and the Heartland visitors who skipped the Pratt-Rib Pannini ($13.99) because they can get that at home did themselves a huge disservice. The Big Dog’s giant triple-decker sandwich came with a layer of portobello and goat cheese on sourdough, all tricked out with some arrugula and carmelized onions. If you like thin, crispy fries, you will enjoy the ones that come with Cabby Shack sandwiches.
Gina chose a special, dubbed Salmon Homard ($22.99), a hunk of salmon topped with one of the restaurant’s signature lobster cakes. The salmon was grilled to crispy-juicy perfection. The lobster cake had a similar texture and color, with some visible chunks of lobster meat. Alongside was a dollop of delicious mashed potatoes, some asparagus, and a nondescript vegetable medley.
Overall, the food was very good and the view was entertaining: a rare combination.
30 Town Wharf, Plymouth
Celebrating Wareham Oysters at Stonebridge Bistro
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Pub, Seafood Restaurants on April 30, 2015
As part of this year’s Wareham Oyster Festival week, we had the opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen of the Stonebridge Bar and Grill with chef/owner Justin Hadley.
Hadley, who has run this kitchen for a dozen years, has gained a widespread reputation for creativity, while recognizing that diners value food that is consistent, fresh, and a great value. It’s an unusual combination for a restaurant that also offers an idyllic waterfront view, with a deck perched over the Stonebridge Marina in Onset.
On the night of our visit, Hadley was experimenting with an oyster special that displayed his special twist on the classic Rockefeller treatment.
He opened a pair of oysters and sat them, bowl side down, in a bed of kosher salt. “It infuses a little flavor, maybe, and keeps them upright,” he noted.
On these, he placed some chunks of bleu cheese, the element which kept this from being a true Rockefeller recipe, but which added a rich earthiness which clearly enhanced the original.
He then added a layer of scallions sautéed with spinach. While we were surprised at the tangle of scallion, Justin said many oysters Rockefeller recipes call for it in lieu of chopped onion or shallot.
Then came a generous, course crumble of cooked bacon.
Finally, Hadley hauled out a tray of a toasted panko concoction and insisted that we sample a pinch, then another. We could imagine eating this stuff by the buttery fistful from a cardboard tub at the movies, it was that good. The crumbs were mixed with butter, parmesan, butter, a hint of red pepper, and butter. He topped each oyster with the crumbs, then put them in the convection oven for five minutes.
The result was rich, bright, cheesy, salty, and crunchy – all of the characteristics of a perfect bar snack. He served the pair of oysters on a bed of organic baby spinach with two grilled half lemon quarters
The Stonebridge Bistro’s specials were part of the second annual Wareham Oyster Festival. A week of culinary and educational offerings centered around the oyster culminate annually in a street fair on the first Sunday in May on Main Street.
For more information about the Wareham Oyster Festival, visit warehamvillage.org.
The Stonebridge Bistro is located at Five East Boulevard in Onset; visit stonebridgebarandgrill.com for information.
Lobster Trap, Monument Beach
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Good Wine/Beer Selection, Outdoor Dining, Seafood Restaurants on March 7, 2015
We have had many outstanding meals at the Lobster Trap in recent years.
Generally speaking, it’s our kind of place Stretched along scenic Shore Road is first a wholesale fish market, then a retail market, then a room for takeout, then a delightfully rustic dining room, then a pub area with a handful of hightop tables on one side and a copper-surfaced bar on the other, then an outdoor patio, then the brackish Back River, which flows forcefully to and from Buzzards Bay with each tide.
Some come for the lively bar scene with periodic live music, some for the off-the-boat fresh fish in the market, some for the reasonably priced yet inventive meals in a dining room that’s as comfortable for toddlers as for Gramma.
We come for the water fowl, and we’re never disappointed.
Sure, the fish tacos featuring corn and black bean salsa ($12) are excellent. We love the beet napolean salad ($9) a composed structure of beets with blue cheese and not much else. The seafood stew ($8 for a 12-ounce cup) is rich and creamy, and the lobster roll ($21, but often available as part of a lunch special) makes you glad you live in New England even when it snows every day for two months. We like our Cabernet Sauvignon, and they have two good ones by the glass: Josh ($9) and Five Rows ($7).
But if you have any interest in wildlife, you’ll want to visit the Lobster Trap for lunch or an early dinner during the summer, and the food will take a back seat to the scene playing out before you at the bar.
The Back River is a tidal estuary which flows into a protected area known as Phinney’s Harbor. During our visits, we’ve watched heron, egrets, osprey, swans, hooded mergansers, buffleheads, black ducks, and more. Most recently, we watched two flocks of Canada geese converge upon one another as if they were playing out a scene from “West Side Story.” The undertow is vicious, and the birds take full advantage, propelled inland under Shore Road, then bobbing back under the railroad bridge.
Others, we’re sure, come for the unusually pleasant staff. This being a seasonal community — one we tend to avoid in the season — many patrons are greeted with a cheerful, “When did you get back!?”
During our most recent lunchtime visit, we experienced a rare misstep: the oversized “house-made brioche croutons” accompanying the caesar salad were like bricks. The Big Dog’s topping of very good steak tips saved his salad, and Gina thought the classic dressing on her side version offset the crouton debacle. And the slightest expression of dismay on our part drew effusive apologies from our server, and complimentary wines for each of us. Things go wrong even at the best establishments, and the front-line staff’s handling of a complaint makes the difference between a customer who won’t return, and one who enthusiastically recommends the place. As we recommend The Lobster Trap.
The Lobster Trap
290 Shore Road, Bourne
Pilot House, Sandwich
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Good Wine/Beer Selection, Outdoor Dining, Romantic Dining, Seafood Restaurants on May 12, 2014
We had the good fortune of returning with friends to the Pilot House, and it was the kind of dinner where time flies by and next thing you know, it’s time to go home. Joining us was a crew of four people we like a lot. You know the drill: one minute you’re seated in a fairly crowded restaurant, and the next minute the waitstaff is scowling at you from a huddle in the corner, calling their boyfriends to say they’ll be late because a party of six just won’t leave.
It wasn’t that bad, but it was well on its way, on this Saturday night before the summer season makes it so difficult to find a seat at a really good restaurant on the Cape.
And the Pilot House is a really good restaurant. We had one service misstep and one dish described only as “good,” but our dining experience was otherwise excellent.
The Pilot House overlooks the Sandwich Marina near the eastern end of the Cape Cod Canal. One of many window seats at what may have been a wrap-around deck would have offered a great view of the waterfront, but we were seated by the fireplace, unlit during this first warm evening of the year. It’s probably a nice spot there on a winter evening, but due to the restaurant’s spare and airy decor, colorful in a classic way, it was a nice spot in the spring too. The restaurant’s design makes great use of varying levels, with the bar at the entrance at the highest point, and dining levels stepping down towards the sea.
The menu includes a varied selection of wines by the glass. We’ll spare you Gina’s anguish at the news that a new list is being introduced and the Albarino is being phased out (who phases out an Albarino in May!?) — but she was placated with a floral Chateau Ste. Michelle sauvignon blanc ($6). The Big Dog spotted a Josh cabernet ($9) and jumped right in. Jim ordered a Harpoon IPA ($5), which we all know is the perfect antidote to a day of yard work, and Mary the fruity Pilots Punch ($9). Dark and Stormy each ordered their namesake beverage ($9).
As an appetizer, Gina ordered the green salad ($3.95) with balsamic vinaigrette served on the side without asking. The salad consisted of mixed green leaves, with a couple of slices of English cucumber and a couple of grape tomatoes. Sounds boring, perhaps, but the combination of a snappy dressing and fresh, clean, spicy greens was spectacular. A flawless green salad portends a meal characterized by obsessive attention to detail.
Jim ordered a cup of the Portuguese kale soup, the day’s soup ($4.95). Anyone dining regularly in the Southcoast region of Massachusetts knows that kale soup tells you as much about a kitchen as a green salad does, and this didn’t disappoint: Jim said it was hot, both in temperature and spice.
Mary ordered a half dozen raw Duxbury oysters ($13.50) while the rest of us looked on in horror, having recently enjoyed endless oyster dishes during the Wareham Oyster Festival. The Duxburys were on the specials menu, as were Barnstable oysters provided by our friends at Big Rock Oyster.
The Big Dog ordered a caesar salad with anchovies ($6.95), and this is where the unfortunate service misstep occurred. As his entree, he ordered a monstrosity called the Seafood Pot ($17.95) off the appetizer menu, and it was hauled out as his appetizer. So while the rest of the table sat with its tiny soup cups and delicate salads and wee shellfish appetizers, the Dog confronted a giant trough containing lobster, shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, all in a delicious sauce with bread for dipping. Good, but it threw off the cadence of the dinner in a way that the staff should have anticipated.
As an entree, Dark and Stormy each ordered the seafood special: lobster ravioli generously adorned with lobster, scallops, shrimp, tomatoes, and asparagus ($26.99) in a white wine sauce. We all tried some and agreed that lobster ravioli is so often marred by a heavy sauce, but this was not.
Mary is a connoisseur of fish tacos and was pleased but not particularly impressed by the Pilot House version ($19.95), which included black beans and was made with mahi mahi.
Jim’s dish of mussels marinara ($19.95), were pronounced very tasty. They arrived as an enormous mound of relatively small shells concealing a plate of pasta in a sauce worth sopping up with the bread that came alongside.
Gina was pleasantly surprised by her baked scallops ($21,95), a dish that many restaurants badly mangle. A small plate of a dozen or so large day boat scallops, with crunchy crumb topping, were nestled into a delicious sherry butter sauce, and came with rice and crunchy green beans. The scallops were perfectly done, moist inside but cooked through.
We were kidding, in the beginning, about the waitstaff calling their boyfriends. The team at the Pilot House is professional and pleasant, and at one point a passing staffer alerted us that the Bruins were winning in a playoff game that we could not see from our vantage point.
Gina and the Big Dog enjoyed this spot in a different way when stopping in recently for an afternoon snack and beverage at the bar. It was evident during that stop that the Pilot House is the sort of dependable yet adventuresome restaurant where you go with people who are important to you. We did that, and we were not disappointed.
The Pilot House Restaurant and Lounge
14 Gallo Road, Sandwich
Pilot House Restaurant, Sandwich
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Outdoor Dining, Restaurant Review, Romantic Dining, Seafood Restaurants on April 5, 2014
Woo hoo! We found a great new restaurant that you will like, and that’s what Chow is all about.
At the Pilot House Restaurant, you can see the east end of the Cape Cod Canal from pretty much every seat. A step down here, a couple of steps up there, and you get a multi-level extravaganza of entertaining views.
Of course, Gina and the Big Dog sat at the bar, where you get peeks of sparkly water but not much else in terms of view. We did get to see an excellent golf tournament on TV, and we had a great view of the Pilot House’s excellent selection of unusual wines.
We don’t usually dwell on the alcohol, but let us do that for a moment. We ordered two glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon in order to compare them: one Justin, which we had only ever seen by the bottle at The Rye Tavern in Plymouth, and a Josh Cellars, which the Big Dog gets at The Lobster Trap in nearby Pocasset (and which we just realized we’ve never mentioned). Lucky Gina got the $12 Justin, and the Big Dog got the $8 Josh. Both were rich, lush Cabs, full of fruit but not jammy, but when it came time to order a second glass we decided that the distinction wasn’t worth $4, and we ordered another pair of Joshes.
We note that a Chardonnay drinker beside us was delighted to see a La Crema on the wine list, but balked at the $11 pricetag. Lucky for her, apparently, her blustery male companions insisted ordered the La Crema over her objections.
We’re sure that you could order soup, salad, and entrees at the Pilot House, and maybe a dessert, and enjoy them all. But do what we did, and you’ll be just as happy.
To start, we ordered the cold seafood sampler ($15.95). It came with a lobster claw, two oysters, two littlenecks, and four peel-and-eat shrimp. We don’t share the same taste in seafood, and this was a perfect arrangement, with us each getting plenty of the stuff we like. The platter came with plastic cups of horseradish, cocktail sauce, and a vinegar concoction that Patricia the bartender explained was “minuet sauce — some people like it with their oysters.” The oysters were from Barnstable, we learned, and everything was clean and crisp and fresh.
We then ordered a haddock chowder special ($5.95) and blackened swordfish with lemon caper butter special ($12.95). We informed Patricia that we intended to split both, and she facilitated that with extra spoons and plates.
The chowder was outstanding. We don’t mean it was good. We mean that if we do a chowder contest: sorry, kids, but we’re picking the Pilot House. We mean that if we’re marooned on a desert island, the one food we want with us is Pilot House chowder. We mean that if we’re elected president, this soup will be served in the White House. We mean… well, you get the picture. We all have our pet peeves about chowder: too thick, too thin, potatoes too big, insufficient protein, etc., but we dare you to find something wrong with this creamy, bacony, thyme-y bowl of bliss.
The salad was a very fresh lettuce mix with some added oomph — maybe brussels sprouts leaves? — with grape tomatoes, a few European cucumber slices, some red onion, and the best house-made Italian dressing we have ever tasted. No need to tart up this basic oil and vinegar emulsion with herbs or cheese.
The swordfish was good. The butternut squash served alongside was also good. The mashed potatoes were fluffy, smooth, and delicious.
The Pilot House isn’t new. The building has clearly been there for a long time, although the interior has a fresh updated feel, and the operators tout some significant experience in the area. It was new to us, though, and we look forward to returning for outdoor dining as the weather warms.
The Pilot House Restaurant and Lounge
14 Gallo Road, Sandwich
Cape Cod Central Railroad, Hyannis
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Restaurant Review on August 15, 2013
Now here was an unusual dining experience for Gina and the Big Dog. The food was merely serviceable, the view was disappointing, the decor drab, the service pedestrian, but we’ll look fondly back on the experience itself because of the two delightful strangers who were seated at our table by chance.
We made reservations on the Cape Cod Central “Gourmet Lunch Train” a week before our Wednesday excursion, and didn’t know what to expect. Arriving in downtown Hyannis as instructed, 45 minutes before our 11:30 a.m. boarding time, we imagined being seated with the pack of unruly urchins in matching fluorescent tee-shirts, or worse, with any of the numerous pairs of frail grandmas being hauled around by their hipster granddaughters.
Instead, after some confusion, we were led to the first table in the Great Island car, seated opposite Phil and Betty Rae, a retired couple who summer on the Cape and winter in northern Florida and who we’re pretty sure are the most pleasant people on the East Coast.
While the train chugged through an endless tunnel of bittersweet and ferns, we heard about the couple’s interesting children. While we chewed chicken breast in an egg wash topped with a lemony supreme sauce, a couple of roasted potatoes, and three outstanding asparagus spears, we learned about the couple’s own interesting careers. We heard about Little Dogs and how difficult they can be, and the Big Dog offered some guidance for an upcoming visit by Li’l Dog.
We enjoyed the seafood chowder. We’re not sure you can call a lunch “gourmet” and serve only chicken breast with supreme sauce, but the chicken was good and the potatoes were too. The day’s dessert was a lemon tart with raspberry sauce, and that was good. The coffee was good. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of cabernet with our lunch. Our waitress was cheerful and had really good balance, enabling her to haul a tray full of beverages while the train was in motion.
Looking at a map, you’ll imagine views of the bay, quaint villages, and the majestic Cape Cod Canal. The urchins and many of the grandmas turned out to be in a different non-lunch “Scenic Train Ride” car, along only for the scenery, and we’re certain they were extremely disappointed, because the view is obscured throughout. The sound system played an entertaining selection of rail-related music, but then deteriorated into static. A narrator offered some commentary on the ride back, but we were talking and not paying attention.
So while our servers had to deal with some lurching issues that your normal waitstaff does not, every passenger in the car had the same chowder-chicken-tart order; this was not a service challenge. Presumably, a significant portion of the $45 per person charge is for the train ride. And yet our bill included this off-putting line: If you are happy with your service, we suggest you base your gratuity on 18%-20% of the GRAND total of your bill. We like to think of our dining-out experiences in terms of the overall value, and that statement on the bill suggests that our fee was for lunch service delivered by our waitstaff. If this was a $45 lunch in a train car with a view, it was a horrific rip-off.
And had we been seated with the urchins or Grandma/Hipsters, that would have been our take-away: horrific rip-off. But the fact is that we enjoyed lunch immensely. If the Cape Cod Central Railroad had something to do with us being paired with the nicest couple on the East Coast, then bravo. We’ll leave it at that.
“Gourmet Lunch Train”
252 Main Street, Hyannis
Cork, New Bedford
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Good Wine/Beer Selection, Romantic Dining on February 6, 2013
We just discovered the best dining deal in the Southcoast region in one of the most unlikely places.
Cork, on New Bedford’s historic waterfront, has started offering a special called “Tuesday Tastings.” On the first Tuesday of each month, Cork is offering five tapas selections paired with five unusual wines for just $30 per person. Yes, that Cork, where a dinner for two with wine can easily set you back a hundred bucks under normal circumstances (mostly because you’re afraid of the word “tapas” and will order way too much food).
The premise with this Tuesday thing is that they’re tastes — the servings of both wine and food are small. But these are extremely generous tastes, and unless your standard serving involves the word “bottomless,” you’ll like this.
The Big Dog suggested that four friends join us, and those two other couples slid into their seats in the cozily refurbished historic building just as Sally from MS Walker Inc. started waving around a bottle of Espelt Vailet, a crisp white blend from Spain that for several of us was our favorite wine of the night. An equally crisp pinot grigio from Italy quickly followed, and Sally explained that while the Spanish blend was paired with the eggplant roulade and the pinot with the sauteed shrimp, we should mix and match.
The two tastes arrived side by side on rectangular plates and got rave reviews from our party. The grilled eggplant slices were artfully wrapped around chunky tomato slices (which Gina thought would have been better in the summer), goat cheese, and arrugula, and topped with a balsamic glaze that was thick and dark as chocolate sauce.
Sauteed shrimp was a buttery melange of pancetta cubes and cherry tomato halves, made fiery — too hot for the Big Dog, who thought the heat detracted from the dish’s flavor — by sliced hot peppers.
Next came two red wines, a tempranillo from Spain and a montepulciano, which like the pinot grigio was from Cantina Zaccagnini of Abruzzo, Italy. Both bottles came adorned with a sprig of grapevine that Sally said was affixed by the ladies of the village. The ladies of our village liked the montepulciano, despite the winemaker’s promise that it would taste like “a mouthful of leather” (and other things — you know how they are).
The Spanish Vina Zaco was paired with a dish that was innocuously described as slow braised beef crostini with Great Hill blue cheese and chive oil. It was nothing to look at: two blobs of beef on toast.
But its intoxicating scent preceded it, and the taste was pure heaven, its homey texture made rich with exotic spices. We tried in vain to identify the spice until finally, one of the waitstaff told us it was an Asian five-spice powder plus curry. We’re pretty sure the mention of curry was intended to throw us off course and prevent us from trying to make it at home.
Lost in the furor over the braised beef was another dish that was pretty good. They called it a raviolone, which is apparently different from a raviolo (the singular of ravioli, of course) because it’s bigger. It was stuffed with an excellent sausage mixture and fried with panko.
We ended with a painfully sweet pink sparkler, also from Italy, and a ball of chocolate chevre, probably excellent if you like that sort of thing, served with a little crostini over honey with sea salt.
We enjoyed good company, five delicious dishes we might not ordinarily have tried, and tasty wines that were expertly paired with the food, all at an amazingly good price. The unobtrusive wine talk made it educational. If Tuesday nights depress you, as they certainly do us, we would encourage you to visit Cork for their Tuesday Tastings.
Cork Wine and Tapas
90 Front Street, New Bedford
The Back Eddy, Westport, MA
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Good Wine/Beer Selection, Seafood Restaurants on December 17, 2012
Upon arrival for lunch at The Back Eddy one wintry Saturday afternoon, we were captivated by the view of the Westport Point harbor, and interesting waterfowl floating by. We’d been lured by the promise of “locavore” sensibility. We were charmed by the pleasant waitstaff. We relaxed in the spunky nautical decor. We were cheered by the Big Dog’s perfect black and tan, and Gina’s superb Vinabla malbec.
But when the food started arriving, we were silenced. Reduced to an occasional, heartfelt “Yum,” the Dog said we should start our review that way.
As we’ve observed before, waterfront dining is often a terrible experience. You’re paying for high rents, not experienced staff or quality ingredients. Ditto for the local food joints that are popping up everywhere. We’re fans of the concept, but face it: in a New England winter, we learn that seafood and turnips only go so far.
Not at Back Eddy. No, no, no. Here, the elements come together so flawlessly that you’ll think of the spectacular view as the afterthought. It takes a back seat to the excellent food, a lot of which was sourced thoughtfully.
The Big Dog opened with a bowl of turnip soup ($8). Sounds like something your Irish grandma would foist on you when you were sick, right? Well, Grandma would have enjoyed the sweetness of the pure white soup, but this bowl was tricked out with a garnish of shredded lobster and drizzle of truffle oil. We could smell garlic, but it was so subtle that we couldn’t tell where it was coming from.
Gina started with the simple green salad ($7.50), pictured above. Yes, anyone can put perfect fresh greens on a plate. Anyone can dress them lightly with vinaigrette. Anyone can toss in some hearty, crunchy croutons. But if anyone can do it, why was this salad so unique? It was a salad you would make at home if you really cared about, and were trying to impress, your dining companion.
When the pleasant young bartender returned to take our entree order, we made a pivotal decision that probably affected our whole view of the restaurant: We decided to split an entree. With prices soaring to the 30-buck range, two entrees would have put us over the $100 mark, which is a particularly pricey lunch when you’re on your way to a foodie Christmas party. (Hey, we’re doing a public service, keeping you informed.) But we probably would have chosen the same thing anyway, plus they brought out two plates without that “extra plate charge” nonsense, so we were particularly happy with our decision.
Here’s what we got: A magnificent, moist grilled swordfish ($25), snuggled with melt-in-your-mouth brussels sprouts atop garlicky mashed potatoes. Alongside was a tangle of dressed watercress topped with a golden nasturtium. In the interest of research, we also ordered a side of slaw ($4). It was a brilliant, creamy celebration of cabbage, which Gina said was the best she ever had in a lifetime of searching for the perfect slaw.
Not surprisingly, we’ve heard that The Back Eddy is tough to get into during the summer season. But they’re open year round, so go now. Right now.
The Back Eddy
1 Bridge Street, Westport, MA
Waterfront Grille, New Bedford
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Seafood Restaurants on June 14, 2012
It’s not easy to find waterfront dining in the Southcoast area of Massachusetts, but Gina and the Big Dog are doing their best.
A rare Saturday night journey into New Bedford was, well, weird. Our first stop was a place touted as the city’s hottest rooftop nightspot, and granted, it was early evening (7 p.m.), and hot nightspots aren’t our thing anyway, but we were alone with the bartender in a two-story space for much of our visit. In fact, we may have been the only living creatures on the whole street, one that is supposed to be the heart of New Bedford’s restaurant scene, on the nicest evening of the year so far.
And then, based on the recommendation of a couple who came in later, we went to the Waterfront Grille, requested a table on the patio, and we were alone there too. The inside dining areas and bar were hopping, though, suggesting that patrons were on hand for something other than the best view you’ll get of the working waterfront without stowing away on a fishing boat. (The camera phone photo on this page was taken from our table.)
Our young waitress brought us a shiraz and a pinot grigio, and an order of sweet potato maki — an unadventurous but very tasty selection from an extensive sushi menu. Gina’s house salad was fresh and crisp, and the Big Dog’s caesar was doused with a good dressing and laden with parmesan.
The Dog ordered scallop scampi, partly because it was so likely to have come off one of the boats that was sitting in front of us. It was a delicious version of the classic dish, with a smattering of sun-dried tomatoes and the same addicting crostini that came with his salad.
Gina’s black pepper crusted swordfish special with grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes was perfectly prepared. But at the risk of sounding like we spend too much time in faux Italian chains where a serving includes multiple pounds of pasta, this was simply too little food for the hefty $27 pricetag.
When seeking dining recommendations, we found that everyone in New Bedford began by identifying the likely age range of fellow patrons. So, lest you think that the Waterfront Grille is just for older folks like us, we would note that we ran into Big Dog Junior on our way out, dining on sushi with fellow 20-somethings. The indoor dining area is festive and sleek, with ample windows overlooking the harbor — likely a great place to watch the game while splurging on some excellent food.
36 Homers Wharf, New Bedford
Posted by Gina and The Big Dog in Dining with a Great View, Good Wine/Beer Selection, Seafood Restaurants on April 22, 2012
We love the Cape Cod Canal. It’s a stunning convergence of industry, technology, history, nature, and art. It’s a great place for a half-mile walk with a cranky old dog or a 14-mile bike/run(7 miles end to end). It’s a great place to catch a fish or a sunrise. It’s a great place to watch people, great blue herons, or barges. It’s just a great place.
The few restaurants which take advantage of this engineering marvel are located at the eastern end of the canal, on the Cape side, and our favorite of these is Hemisphere. The view is spectacular, and the food is generally pretty good.
Your dining experience will not be without missteps. If you’re seated in the upstairs indoor dining area, you’ll find the space to be incredibly loud. The waitstaff is young and immature and doesn’t seem to have a good understanding of how they add to, or detract from, your night out. Our waitress described one dish as “cool,” and we old fogeys thought she meant “chilled.”
But on a recent visit, a bottle of Malbec complimented a very good dinner. We started with fish nuggets: tasty morsels of haddock in a light, crispy batter, served with lemon and tartar sauce and plenty for two. The Big Dog had the stuffed chicken, kind of a twist on cordon bleu which he said was “neither too hammy nor too cheesy.” Gina ordered the seafood scampi, which came in a whiter sauce than the traditional butter and garlic preparation, over penne, but it was very good and loaded with scallops, shrimp, and lobster meat, along with fresh tomatoes.
With the aforementioned bottle of wine, dinner came to about $85. Portions were generous: leftover scampi will make one of us a very large lunch.
98 Town Neck Road, Sandwich