We ate at the Marshfield Tavern on Wednesday evening. We weren't sure what kind of place this was when we drove up, and neither do they. Is it a fine dining establishment, a barroom, a pizza joint, or a cozy pub/tavern? We never did figure it out completely, but it's certainly not fine dining.
There were three or four staff huddled around the hostess station when we arrived. They were chatting and clearly trying to stay warm inside the way-too-cold restaurant. There was a menu posted on a signboard that was different from the photocopied menus at the hostess station. There were plenty of unimaginative pastas, salads, sandwiches, wraps, fried stuff, AND a number of seafood and meat specialties listed from pizza to hamburgers to turkey dinner (for $9.95 with soup and dessert!) to babyback ribs to baked stuffed lobster.
We were seated after a few minutes' wait. The restaurant has perhaps 15 tables and a pretty fireplace. Even with the fireplace lit, the restaurant was quite cold. There's a low wall separating a large barroom from the main dining area. There are big windows overlooking a patio with firepits and outside tables. The tables are spaced with plenty of room between them. The place could be quite pretty, but it's not. It's really quite plain and not very clean. The carpets were dingy. The walls were painted a very light color and the lighting was bright. VERY bright. It made me feel like I was inside an old Woolworth's in part because of the lighting, but especially because the waitresses were about as polished as those at an old diner. (If I had been called "honey" or "dearie" one more time, I would have walked.) There was a grimy little candle filled with oil on the table and paper napkins. Really. Paper napkins.
We waited a good 10 minutes before the waitress finally acknowledged us. She brought over three menus (yes, all different) and came back a few minutes to take our drink order. We asked for bread as we'd noticed the other tables with baskets of bread. The waitress responded, "You don't want focaccia, do you? We're out of popovers." Ummm, I guess not.
We ordered a prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato sandwich and the turkey dinner. The sandwich was excellent, but the fries were those reconstituted, frozen ones made from ground potatoes. Yuck. The turkey dinner came with with a beef barley soup (I'm not sure there was a choice of soups as the waitress didn't offer), which was decent and full of barley. The turkey dinner presentation was pretty (lots of turkey, mashed red potatoes, stuffing, all smothered in gravy with a side of squash and cranberry sauce. The turkey was from a pre-pressed roll and it was not freshly roasted. The stuffing, gravy and squash came out of a can, too, as did the cranberry sauce. It was plentiful, but very disappointing. We skipped dessert. Dinner, two beers, and 20% tip came in at just under $40. Pretty inexpensive altogether, but the mediocre food and ambiance were not worth even that. I'm not sure there's anything on the menu that isn't prepackaged and frozen just waiting for the deep fryer or microwave. Sad food at best.
There is a nice beer list and the bar was hopping with the 40-50 something divorced crowd. You could smell the desperation across the room from the local singles scene. Trust me, the singles at the bar would have had a lot more luck if they'd turned the lighting down in that room, too.
Again, it sure wasn't obvious whether the Marshfield Tavern was trying to cater to the fine diners, to the bar dwellers, or to the seniors looking for a cheap dinner out. I'd most probably not go back, as there are better pubs, bars, and fine dining establishments in Marshfield, and all with much better quality food. For fine dining, I'd rather eat at Ember. For seafood, I'd rather eat at The Fairview Inn. For Italian, I'd go to Mamma Mia's. For a bar, I'd go to ... well, there are dozens of better bars of all kinds in Marshfield.
If I were the restaurant owner/manager, I'd do a few things right away: 1) Decide on an identity (fine dining, singles bar, cozy pub, or pizza joint?); 2) scrub the place spotless; 3) decorate for the identity; 4) use linen; 5) train up the waitstaff; 6) pare back the menu to a much smaller list; and most importantly 6) hire a chef who could really cook instead of heating/reheating up prepackaged, frozen crud.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.