Cape Cod Trip Part 1–Cape Sea Grille
|July 10, 2012||Posted by jcogswell1 under Boston Young Foodie Spots, Dinner|
As I have mentioned in the past, I am fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time in Cape Cod because Tommy’s family has a house in Chatham.
Chatham is located on the “elbow” of Cape Cod and is about an hour and a half drive (with no traffic) from Boston.
I love Chatham for its beaches, golfing, relaxation effect, and of course, for the food. Whether we are grilling in Tommy’s yard, eating freshly caught clams (Tommy is a clamming expert), out at a casual fried seafood place or dining at a nice restaurant, the food never disappoints in Chatham.
I was in Chatham for a total of four days and also ventured over to Nantucket for a day. Although I probably gained a few pounds over the course of the holiday weekend, I think it was well worth it for all the food memories I made.
One of the foodie highlights of the weekend was the meal I had at a restaurant called The Cape Sea Grille, which is located in Harwich Port, the next town over.
My boss has been raving about the Sea Grille for years and for whatever reason, I had yet to try it. It is a James Beard Foundation Rising Star of American Cuisine winner and consistently rated one of Cape Cod’s best restaurants.
When my boss told me to go enjoy dinner with Tommy (paid for by my client) because of some of the work I had to do over the holiday weekend, I was not going to argue.
Never ones to pass up a good deal (even when we aren’t paying!), Tommy, his mother and grandmother and I opted to have an early dinner at the Sea Grille because they have a “Sunset Menu” which offers a complimentary salad or soup plus dessert with the purchase of any entrée if you are seated between 5 –5:45 PM.
We first started with a round of drinks. I am usually a wine drinker (if you couldn’t tell), but the cocktail menu looked so interesting, I thought I would start off with a martini. The rest of the table followed suit and we were all extremely impressed with what we got.
I ordered the Marga-Heat-A, which was jalapeno infused tequila with lime juice and triple sec served straight up.
This drink was spicy, tart and strong – just how I like it! I may attempt to recreate this for my spicy loving family on Mexican night. I also ordered the dirty ice with my margarita so it stayed very chilled throughout my consumption of it.
After we got our drinks, we decided to order some appetizers for the table. Although we got salads or soups with our entrees, we all wanted to try one of the appetizers that was presented to the James Beard Foundation – the Crispy Oysters with avocado and pickled banana peppers.
This dish was fabulous! The oysters were perfectly fried and crisp and were well complimented with the smooth mild flavor of the avocado and the tartness of the banana peppers. I also loved that they offered both an avocado puree and sliced avocado. You could use the puree as a sauce and then get bonus pieces of avocado for after the puree was consumed (not sure this is how the chef intended it, but I loved it this way).
In addition to the oysters, I ordered the Mesclun Salad, which came with tomatoes, cucumbers, slivered onion and a warm goat cheese cake, all dressed in a house balsamic vinaigrette.
Tommy ordered the seafood chowder and as our tradition goes, we split them both so that we could each get tastes of both offerings.
Both of these appetizers were fabulous. The salad was refreshing and I loved the tangy goat cheese. Tommy’s seafood chowder was not thick, as one might expect, but instead more of a broth base with a bit of cream and lots of seafood. There wasn’t the slightest bit of fishiness in it which can be hard in a soup full of seafood! Additionally, there was slight smokiness that I couldn’t quite put my finger on – perhaps the addition of smoky paprika or a grilling of the seafood prior to being integrated into the soup?
After we finished our appetizers, it was time to enjoy the entrees. I ordered the Pan Seared Whole Lobster with pancetta, potatoes, grilled asparagus in a Calvados (which is a liquor) – saffron reduction.
Tommy ordered the Oven Roasted East Cost Halibut with golden beet-cheese risotto cake, sauté of pole greens, grilled zucchini & gold bar squash with a roasted tomato-bacon pan sauce.
Tommy’s grandmother ordered the Orange and Soy Roasted 1/2 Chicken with fingerling potatoes, snap peas, orange segments, caramelized onions, orange-honey butter sauce and chili oil.
Tommy’s mom ordered the Seared Sea Scallops with creamy salt risotto atop heirloom tomatoes, finished with a salad of micro greens, andouille, grilled corn and cucumber tossed in cilantro-champagne vinaigrette.
Everyone absolutely loved their meals. The chicken got the highest marks and was the most surprisingly delicious dish of the bunch. As Tommy’s grandmother is not an enormous eater, she offered to give Tommy the “white meat” that she isn’t fond of. Tommy ate it happily along with the perfectly caramelized onions and crispy yet tender roasted potatoes.
The lobster I got was extremely unique and the portion worked out great. I ate all the tail and Tommy ate his favorite part – the claws. One of the great things about the halibut that Tommy ordered was that they substituted the veggies that were listed on the menu for ones that were the most fresh at the market. Instead of pole greens we got favas and asparagus. The fish was also perfectly done and the risotto cake was wonderful.
Carol, who is Tommy’s mom, ordered the scallops and was thrilled with the risotto and the way that the scallops were cooked. The only complaints I heard were that scallops needed a bit more salt and that the “heirloom tomatoes” didn’t quite live up to the menu description (they were more like sandwich tomatoes).
Finally, when we all got our desserts. The options were between homemade sorbet or ice cream, chocolate bread pudding and crème brulee. The three girls got the crème brulee and Tom ordered the chocolate bread pudding, which was much more like a lava cake than a bread pudding (note – it didn’t make it any less delicious!).
All in all, we absolutely loved The Cape Sea Grille and will certainly be back – even when I don’t have the benefit of my client paying for the meal! I think that it is particularly worthwhile when you dine early and get to take advantage of the Sunset Menu.
Here is a picture of Tommy and me feeling particularly full but very happy!
Finally, a picture of three generations in Tommy’s family – and some of my favorite people to hang out with!
Thanks for a great dinner Sea Grille! We will be back!