The restaurant appears small at first glance, however there is an additional dining room off to the side that isn't initially visible. The ambiance is basic - plain square tables (that were a little wobbly), white tablecloths, and basic wooden chairs. The waitstaff is also basic (for lack of a better word). The waitress wasn't overly friendly and always seemed a little too busy to come by and refresh our drinks - even though at one point we were her only customers. The food however, was anything but basic.
I have to admit that at first the menu was a little overwhelming. This was not due to the amount of choices, although there are enough to chose from, but simply because of the variety of food origins. They have everything from meatloaf to thai duck on the menu, and while overwhelming at first, it is consistent with the idea of using your passport.
For appetizers we ordered a shrimp cocktail, seared tuna with seaweed salad, mixed olives, and the crab cake. The shrimp cocktail was pretty standard (kind of hard to mess that one up), however when we asked for extra horseradish sauce (twice) we never received any. Everything else was great, the tuna had a perfect sear and spice, and the crab cake was delicious (and spicy!).
With our entrees we were also served popovers instead of your typical bread and butter. Although still delicious, the batch we received didn't seem to be true to the definition of a popover, and had a doughier consistency inside. I was told by my boyfriend's parents that they are usually better than they were, and perhaps they were just having an off night.
For entrees we ordered the Sister's Haddock (the local favorite), Thai Carmelized Duck, Lazy Lobster, Veal and Paella. Here's where the review is tough. I am going to describe the food we ordered and it really was as great as I'm going to say it was. The big problem was that it took forever for us to receive it - I think this had something to do with our large party size. Perhaps the kitchen had difficulty timing out eight dishes at once. Regardless, a restaurant should be able to accommodate eight people the same as two people, so this was slightly unfortunate. That being said, I didn't let that sway how I felt about the food...
My sister's haddock was delicious. It had a light flakey crust and was very flavorful. The rice served with it was a basic white sticky rice and although it didn't add anything to the dish, it didn't take away from it either. My boyfriend ordered the duck, and it was heavenly. It was juicy and tender with just the right amount of sauce. I am admitting here before everyone (at the present time my two followers) that he has finally ordered something better than me. Everyone else had great things to say about their entrees, and the empty plates spoke for themselves.
Overall I would say that I don't regret going to Passports. The food was simply amazing, and the company even better, and I would absolutely recommend this restaurant to anyone traveling to Gloucester. But I would caution that it might be better to go with a smaller group, and without any time constraints. That being said, the food was definitely worth our wait!
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