My wife and I went to this restaurant as part of our stay at Wequassett - it's generally billed as the top resturant in the area so we wanted to check it out. Quick synopsis - we do a lot of fine dining, and the food and service here was below par.
Our server was friendly and nice - but it was substandard in terms of promptness, consistency and professionalism. It's fine to have non-professionals hosting tables, but they should at least be professionally trained. I think this is something the restaurant needs to address if it aspires to be a fine dining establishment.
For appetizers, my wife had oysters and I tried a seared romaine lettuce salad. The oysters were fine, but the romaine lettuce app was a bit baffling. The lettuce was sliced in crosswise slices, almost shredded. This made it hard to eat as a salad and I didn't enjoy it.
They provided us with a nice amuse bouche, and our bouches were amused - it was interesting and tasty.
The root of our discontent was with the main courses. I ordered a tenderloin beef with a consomme broth sauce, which was poured after delivery of the dish. I ordered it rare, and quite frankly it came medium if not well done. I tried cutting it with the butter knife (as intended, I think), but the beef was just not tender enough, so I had to request a steak knife. The flavours were nice, although I was disappointed that it was not prepared as requested. The consomme was delicately flavoured, to their credit, so I did enjoy that. My wife ordered a fish dish - and this was the real travesty. I asked her how the fish was, and the look on her face prompted me to give it a taste. It was truly a disaster - either the fish was bad - or it was ruined in the steaming process. The texture was completely off and it had a mushy, almost sandy texture. Sand at the beach, not in my mouth, please! Despite having had bad dining experiences on occasion in the past, this is the first time I insisted she send it back. It was truly a disgraceful load of fish. They replaced it with a grilled swordfish - totally overcooked, but at least edible.
In any event - the matire d' who swooped in to replace the steamed mush was professional, and did his best to salvage the situation. He did insist on taking the fish back, but it was disappointing - considering we had other excellent dining experiences in Cape Cod on this trip at more modest establishments.
The wine list is a bit short - I think it would benefit from a larger selection of French and Californian reds, which would seem to suit the menu. Our bottle was excellent although not a value pick.
In any event, I'd try this restaurant again, if we were staying at the Wequassett, because it's convenient - but I would speak with staff in advance to ensure our food was properly prepared. This did occur on one of their popular "jazz" nights, which was lively and fun (most of the action was in the outdoor area next to the dining room) and I did notice that Thoreau's shared some menu items. So, I'll give them benefit of the doubt - but then, should I have to?
Worth trying if you're there - but my sense is it's a bit overrated by the locals based on this particular dining experience.
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