My wife and I took the 30 second ferry in historic Essex CT to the small island where Marley's sits. Based on the recommendation of a friend who had enjoyed lunch here, we looked forward to a fun dinner. The setting is wonderful: the CT River, beautiful sailboats, outdoor dining and a full moon. The chef came out to greet us and after a few minutes, he suggested we move to a table with a better view. Everything was looking up! Unfortunately, the rest of the experience was bland at best. The dinner experience was about as much Jamaican as my bald head is dreadlocks! In fact, only one dish featured tamarind as a seasoning. We ordered Grilled Wahoo and the Pork Tenderloin. For appetizers, we ordered the Fish Bisque and the Snails. The Bisque was tasty, but had a grainy consistency. The Snails were well seasoned, fresh and swimming in a garlic butter. The Wahoo was way overcooked, and the pork was covered with an overly sweet marmalade sauce and far too heavily peppered. The side dish of diced potatoes, peppers, squash and onions was tasty, but far too sweet. The one time our somewhat somber waitress asked "is everything OK?, I answered:that the fish is not medium rare, but overcooked. Without so much as a "sorry," she asked if she should tell the chef. I said he'd want to know, but we never heard another word , only the bill. After waiting ten minutes to pay, (the restaurant was only serving four tables at the time) I looked around inside for someone to take my money. We left without anyone saying a word to us. Had it not been for the wonderful setting and the greeting of our chef when we arrived, I would have given Marley's a poor rating. Perhaps in a few months we'll try the breakfast, but I doubt it.
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