Eating Cape Cod and Provincetown
Our past-week experience eating Cape Cod and P-town...
Townsend Pier Joint - on the "old" Provincetown Pier - seafood *reallY* doesn't get fresher than this. Incredibly textured lobster, superbly sweet steamer clams, fat juicy scallops. They have owned boats for decades, and they *are* one of the fish suppliers. You can even sign up to go lobster trapping with them. No service, no nice decor, almost no air conditioning. Unless you want to dine in heat and (an occasional) sniff of stench, you'll need a strategy. The best strategy, that we care to share, for Townsend in summer is to drive up to their pier location (free parking while at Townsend), pick up the goodies, and drive as fast as you can to Herring Cove to enjoy your sunset beachside seafood feast.
Impudent Oyster - wow - wow - wow - wow - WOW! Now I know what Chowhounders are raving about. This is a gem. Totally unpretentious, no upscale snobbing, just a small yet superbly comfortable dining room, wait staff and owners that really care about your dining experience, skillful chef in the kitchen with real seafood know-how - and BOOM! - what a dining/luncheon experience!! The steamers I had here is easily the best I've had after combing up an down the Cape for the last few years. Until this, 've thought - steamers are steamers and wellfleet oysters are wellfleet oysters - as long as they're fresh, they're GOOD! I was wrong. Freshness is one thing, but the way they prepare, and serve (keeping them hot throughout your 30 min eating time), the environment, etc ... all add to the perceived taste. Then the mussels... prepared Portugese style, with a super-light spicy tomato sauce, served piping hot, with linguica sausage pieces, served piping hot - seafood heavens. The cold Vichyssoise soup tasted like a melt-in-your-mouth potato with sour cream, a sure relief on a steaming hot day. The sweet butternut soup passed the test for my part-time vegetarian guest. The wellfleet oysters, served over a sparkling tray of ice, was perfectly shucked - no grime, no sand, no shell fragments - you can focus on the oysters and their taste. Lots of details that make this place GREAT ... the fresh flowers on
the table, the incredibly savory dinner-buns, etc. They won't open the door for us until 12 noon even though we arrived a few minutes early - so they've rubbed this party of picky eaters the wrong way from the start. But by 12:30 - the food and the wonderful service has turned us into believers.
Moby Dick - this joint must be raking in the dough. This is what I keep thinking to myself as we try to squeeze down the meal in a half-air-coniditioned wooden hut with high school kiddies running around trying to refill half-an-hour late ice tea refills. charging about the same (or more in many cases) as the venues mentioned above, here is what you get:
- a half hour to 1 hour wait during dinner time before you take your (superbly uncomfortable) seating
- fried, refried, and deep fried assorted shellfish
- wellfleet oysters shucked by grade school cheap labour with assorted treasures (dirt, shell fragments, sand, you name it)
- lobsters that have been tanked at least a few days (of the 3 lobsters, 2 of them were watery and not as fresh as they can be in the cape)
- lobster bisque served in paper cups that tasted like melted ice cream
- everything comes in disposable paper and plastic utensils so you don't forget you're eating cheap (even though it was our most expensive meal on the Cape this trip)
Trying as hard as I can, I do not see why others rave about this joint. The only thought is... "this must be what older New England is all about". People must be returning to this place because they've always had, for years and years.
Brewster Fish House - what a classy joint! An incredible out-of-the-ordinary-experience in the middle of nowhere. This place is rather difficult to find, but worth the hunt. House chowder is a creamy mix of fresh local seafood in a light broth. Scallops are baked just-right with just enough spice to "zing out" the natural sweet taste. Steamers are piping hot and tasty. We fell in love with Creme Brulee all over again because of Brewster fish house.
Bubbula - downtown Provincetown, alongside all the other tourist traps. Having FREE PARKING on commercial street for this joint already distinguish this place from the rest. However, I have to second the other Chowhounder's recommendation - go for the Mussels. We've also had their Seared Tuna and chowder. All good, all passable - given that we hit this joint on a 9:30 PM on a Sunday.
NAPIs - Although this restaurant is probably in the same class as Moby Dick - one that people return to year after year to - I cannot possibly throw it into the same bin. We had a *great* meal in this joint. The Portugese Seafood platter had half a sweet and nicely textured lobster, with a portugese stew full of linguica, mussels, littlenecks, pepper, oninon, and garlic. It is a massive place - one that you usually associate with mediocre food. How or whichever way - they've managed to keep service and food quality up - it worked for us. We had Creme Brulee again here - and it was very well done... almost as good as the one at Brewster Fish House.
Tips for Tops'n - Haha! Toasts were literally burnt on one side and they still served them to us. Menu has zero creativity. All regular eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes are available. Definitely inexpensive. It is an old-feel and cozy environment, with service-less waitresses buzzing around. There is always a line up. Definitely in the same class as Moby Dick. Most love it, most don't know why.