It is nice to know that a restaurant CAN hit the mark perfectly. It must be so hard to get it just right, to bring everything together to create the magical dining experience we recently enjoyed there. The Old Chatham Country Store certainly hit every mark. It is a gem of a restaurant and the owners clearly know what they are doing! The food is simply superb. The menu somehow manages to be a bit daring, beautifully inventive, yet classic all at the same time. Steak & lobster entree (inhaled by a lucky 15 year old), Jersey red pizza appetizer, UNBELIEVABLY DELICIOUS SALADS (mine was an arugala with jicama and shaved parmesan in a to-die-for dressing. My friend ordered the house salad that so impressed her that she texted her gourmand husband about it!). I luckily ordered the grilled salmon special, made SO mouthwatering with the addition of a heavenly blood orange reduction sauce and served over perfectly prepared and seasoned lentils and accompanied by delicious asparagus. My plate went back to the kitchen looking nearly washed it was so good! Nearly everyone else ordered the roasted hslf chicken that was so moist and so perfectly cooked that my 14 year old daughter kept exclaiming that it was so easy to eat because it was falling off the bone. She is the pickiest eater in this hemisphere, so if I could bring her here for dinner every night my life would be so much easier!
Ambiance is an A+ as well. From the moment we walked in, we were greeted by a lovely hostess who welcomed our party of 7. We were led to a dining room that is authentic country, charming, warm, and candle lit. The dining room certainly looks elegant, but it also has a wonderfully casual feel to it. Brian, the owner, came over to our table and warmly and personally welcomed us. With a party consisting of 2 mothers, 4 teens and a pre-teen child, we were not expecting to be treated like visiting dignitaries, but we were! Truly and very memorably, every single staff person there seemed to go out of their way to make us feel so very welcome! Heather, our waitress, was simply outstanding. She made the kids feel so relaxed and was lovely, attentive, efficient and unobtrusive. I was embarrassed at how many loaves of bread 4 teenagers managed to demolish, but our bread baskets were refilled without our even requesting it. Our water glasses were constantly being refilled as well. There were complimentary homemade white bean dips (kids also inhaled those!) that got us all off to a happy start. The wine selection is remarkable, and the wine is served with a very generous pour. My sauvignon blanc was crisp and light with the perfect blend of fruit in the nose and made it an excellent accompniament to all of my food selections. The courses were well paced and we didn't feel rushed at all, despite a lively crowd. Dessert is something that one should leave room for. I really didnt (note to self) but the red velvet cake slice that arrived at our table looked like something out of an ad for a pastry show. There were other more elaborate desserts that our kids simply raved about. One, a chocolate dessert with a PB mousse, was quite popular!! and the complimentary homemade cookies sealed our love for the place. The OCCS clearly is THE place to eat in the area. I can understand why this is so based upon the first rate and so-friendly service, the delightfully inventive menu and outstanding food quality we enjoyed there. But most of all, the feeling that pervades this restaurant is one of friendly expertise. They really HAVE got it all right in this lightning-in-a-bottle establishment, and they really seem to want to make their diners happy. I know that we were well beyond happy by the time we left. I would highly recommend making a reservation because the word has understandably gotten out about this fabulous restaurant.
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