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The Causeway in Gloucester

4
4chowpups Aug 13, 2005 10:37 PM

Just a quick review, took the pups to the Causeway after a full day of sun and beach in Essex. We were literally sandy, hungry and one without shoes (youngest pup!). That being said, the food was terrific and reasonable and very laid back. I had the lobster casserole which came with baked potato and steamed carrots (literally only veggie I won't eat cooked!!) which was great, chock full of lobster. Pups had full meals, except youngest-steak tips, baked haddock and fried shrimp and all portions were huge. Saw many seafood plates coming out which looked great, batter is very light and oil was fresh. In addition to fresh fish they also had several pasta dishes which were huge. Definitely worth hitting for a unpretentious, inexpensive, good meal!!!

  1. s
    StriperGuy Aug 14, 2005 07:19 AM

    A buddy of mine was just raving about this place.

    1. j
      JRL Aug 14, 2005 01:20 PM

      Second wholeheartedly!

      Went last week after the Cheap Eats review in Globe. Several people had recommmended it in the past, just never got up there. Glad I finally made it.

      Decor-wise - It is an absolute dive; the a/c, such as it was, was on with the windows open, but our waiter said he wasn't allowed to open the door. The temperature was unbearable, but after some nice inexpensive wine from the liquor store next door (which seemed to have a much better selection than you would expect), we didn't notice.

      Took a friend who was visiting from the midwest and whose stated dining purpose for the trip was to OD on lobster. It being her last night here, and after consuming many lobsters in many places for many prices, she ordered the lobster pie, which she declared to be excellent. Appeared to be at least one whole lobster, light on the crumbs and with extra melted butter on the side. Same sides - baked potato and carrots. She also had a "cup" of clam chowder. It came in a bigger bowl than most resto's bowl of chowder. It was a bit bland, but after adding salt and pepper, she was happy.

      H & I each ordered linguine with clam sauce - one red, one white - came with tons of fresh chopped clams, but probably quahogs. Not a delicate dish by any means, but tasty, HUGE and a tremendous value - around $11 for a dish that could easily be shared by 3. Also ordered the appetizer fried calamari and agree with the Globe review - not quite crispy enough, but otherwise good and also HUGE portion. Relatively greaseless.

      What caught my eye, and had previously been recommended by a friend, was the seafood marinara over pasta. It looked scrumptious and came in a pan about the size and shape of a medium paella pan. That's what I'm splitting with someone next time.

      Also saw some meat dishes come out and there was veal or chicken (or both) parm on the menu, too.

      Our waiter couldn't have been more pleasant or more accommodating and the rest of the staff seemed equally so. Will wait for a cooler night, but will defintely go back.

      5 Replies
      1. re: JRL
        j
        ju Aug 14, 2005 02:19 PM

        They do a decent chicken parm, perhaps not as good as our favourite, Mother Anna's in the N End, but good enough. Despite the significant Italian population in Gloucester, there aren't many Italian restaurants in the town. According to my hairdresser (who's part of the local Italian community) that's because they mostly eat at home.

        1. re: ju
          l
          lasiciliana May 16, 2007 09:58 AM

          haahaa...that's very true, we italian's don't tend to go out for italian food much.

          The causeway is okay, their give huge portions for the what pay and Peter (the owner) is a great cook and stickler for fresh seafood. Everytime I go, one meal is enough for two people and it's always good.

          Definately a place that is packed with locals and tourists alike...better off getting take out than waiting half the night for a table though...

          1. re: lasiciliana
            StriperGuy May 17, 2007 06:35 AM

            One place I always liked is Lobsta Land on the way out of Gloucester.

            Service is always a bit sirly, partlicularly at the bar. But they make an amazing fish sandwhich. It is $10-12 bucks, but HUGE and comes with the most amazing slaw. They do all of the standards pretty well. Stay away from anything that sounds too foofy on the menu. They can be hit or miss.

            The drinks are also very good.

            Lobsta Land
            10 Causeway St
            Gloucester, MA 01930
            (978) 281-0415

            1. re: StriperGuy
              SEH May 17, 2007 08:38 AM

              I'm always afraid of this place by the looks of it from outside and the comments I hear about the service issues. But I do love a good grilled fresh fish sandwich. Is their's grilled or fried?

              1. re: SEH
                StriperGuy May 17, 2007 09:41 AM

                They'd probably do it either way, but the one I get is fried.

      2. j
        ju Aug 14, 2005 02:25 PM

        The Causeway tended to be where the locals ate, but I guess after the Globe review, and this being tourist season, the lines are now going to be twice as long! We've always enjoyed the broiled seafood and the pasta. Based on your rec, I'll have to order the lobster casserole next time.

        1. a
          AMM Aug 14, 2005 05:22 PM

          Is the Causeway near the Fisherman memorial? Is that what they call the causeway or is the restaurant in a different area? In other words...address?

          2 Replies
          1. re: AMM
            j
            JRL Aug 14, 2005 05:43 PM

            I think it's 133 - two or three storefronts down from the movie theater, across the street from the marina, Gull restaurant

            1. re: AMM
              j
              ju Aug 14, 2005 11:23 PM

              JRL is correct - the Causeway is next door to the Gloucester cinema. The place you're thinking of is Oceanview Boulevard.

            2. m
              Moon Pie May 14, 2007 07:46 AM

              I was just there this weekend, for the first time. Delicious meal, but what really excited me was the bowl of bagna cauda that came with our appetizers! Not on the menu: had I known I would have just ordered a huge bowl of it and a pile of bread and called it a night. Delicious!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Moon Pie
                s
                shaebones May 14, 2007 08:17 AM

                What is bagna cauda????

                1. re: shaebones
                  Gio May 14, 2007 08:24 AM

                  Bagna Cauda is a warm dipping sauce for Italian bread ( or any other, I suppose).
                  It's a combination of olive oil, melted butted, minced garlic and anchovies.
                  Here's a recipe:
                  http://www.italianmade.com/recipes/re...

              2. resipsaloquitor May 14, 2007 09:16 AM

                I dunno. I've heard people rave about The Causeway for years but every time I have gone, the food has been overpriced and average. I wonder if it only looks good in comparison with the generally poor choices in the area. But I suspect I'm alone on this one.

                8 Replies
                1. re: resipsaloquitor
                  ipsofatso May 15, 2007 04:13 AM

                  Love the fried calamari! Just wondering tho - where is there a beach in Essex? I live there and the only thing that vaguely looks like a beach is Conomo Pt. at low tide.

                  1. re: ipsofatso
                    4
                    4chowpups May 15, 2007 10:17 AM

                    Oh alright, even though this was a year ago...it was IPSWICH, Crane's Beach! You Chowhounds are such sticklers... ; )

                    1. re: 4chowpups
                      g
                      greenstate May 16, 2007 10:05 AM

                      I agree somewhat with resipsloqiutor. I think all the clamor for The Causeway is the fact that they serve obscenely huge portions that are certainly OK, so people leave there, feeling like they found a real bargain. I disagree that there are generally poor choices in the area. Charlie's on Bass Avenue, The Cupboard in Stage Fort Park, and Amelia's on Thatcher Rd all have very good fried clams. Maria's, on Pearl St is a local gem for fried and Italian food. You just have to know where to go.

                      1. re: greenstate
                        resipsaloquitor May 16, 2007 11:01 AM

                        Excellent points, Greenstate. I just wish there were someplace between Amelia's sub shop and the Franklin, where one can just get a decent meal for a decent price. Have you seen the new prices at Halibut Point? $60 for a burger and a salad the other night.

                        1. re: resipsaloquitor
                          l
                          lasiciliana May 16, 2007 12:28 PM

                          the husband and I recently ate at Maria's near the train station and he got Fried Cod Cheeks...they were very good and the price was decent.

                          1. re: lasiciliana
                            g
                            greenstate May 16, 2007 02:41 PM

                            $60 for burger and salad? That sounds outrageous. Drinks included? I love halibut point. They have the best Italian fish chowder. You are correct that there is a dearth of restaurants to fill out the middle spectrum.

                            1. re: greenstate
                              ipsofatso May 17, 2007 06:58 AM

                              At the risk of possible thread drift, I had a burger, side salad and a beer at Halibut Point last week for a late lunch at it came to under $20 for the tab, plus tip.

                              1. re: ipsofatso
                                resipsaloquitor May 17, 2007 11:19 AM

                                OK, I can see you are more careful readers than I am accustomed to. I apologize for being cryptic. Let me start again: My spouse and I always get the same meal at Halibut Point. That meal used to cost about $40 but most recently cost us $60. The meal consists of a burger, a salad with grilled salmon, a soda, two glasses of wine, and the best mudpie in the world. I love Halibut Point and used to eat there one night a week for years but the prices have gone up noticeably. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

                2. h
                  hoohah Aug 6, 2008 12:16 PM

                  Just stopped by here for lunch yesterday. Had never heard of it, but the wife is a teacher in Rockport and all her co-workers rave about this place. Three o'clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday and there was a 15-20 minute wait.
                  It's BYOB, so I popped in next door for a 12 pack, and we were sat in about 10 minutes. Interior is nothing to write home about, but it seemed clean and we were greeted quickly and pleasantly. It's a locals spot for sure and that's OK by me.
                  We ordered a cup of fish chowder and a cup of clam chowder. Both terrific, could have been hotter, and the cup would pass for a bowl at most places. and it was served with a basket of bread from a local bakery (Vergilio's???not sure) that was a perfect compliment.
                  My wife and I both got a haddock sandwich and our companion got the fried calamari plate. All portions were HUGE. The calamari was rings and tentacles (the only way to go) and the batter was light. Served with tartar and marinara was offered. The tartar was a portion control Ken's Salad Dressing cup. I was expecting homemade, but I can understand the money-and-time-saving concept and the flavor was pretty good.
                  The haddock sandwiches were impressive. A 12-14 ounce full cut of haddock, deep fried and served over an open hamburg roll (again from the local bakery), with lettuce,tomato. a mound of fries and coleslaw. Our waitress dared me to eat it like a sandwich, so I accepted her challenge and had to ask for extra napkins. It was the neatest way to eat it, but I succeeded and was a very happy camper.
                  The bill came to under $37 dollars, we had 2 or 3 beers each and vowed to be back soon. A true find. All the seafood is local, all the food fresh. Twin boiled lobsters were a $25 special and the baked stuffed was $27. Go hounds, go.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hoohah
                    t
                    treb Aug 6, 2008 12:28 PM

                    Yah, it's a great little place, I'm surprised with your wife teaching in Rockport that you never heard of it. The calamari batter is so light and crisp and the rings come out tender. Can't find any better, even with prices up a bit it's still a bargain. Stay on the CH board, you'll get some excellent finds here.

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