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Mar 8, 2009 05:28 PM

Impudent Oyster, Chatham (Cape Cod)

On one of my first ventures out as a new resident of the Cape, I found myself at the Impudent Oyster, a place I occasionally have visited during the summer trips here.

Chatham in summer is a vastly different area than it is in Winter. The bustle and traffic is completely vanished, the place is a virtual ghost town. We called ahead for reservations, but that seemed totally unneccesary, infact I'm surprised the place bothers to stay open at night.

During the summer, I've enjoyed some fine chowder, soups, and salads at the Oyster, but the menu was completely different for dinner. The menu options were mostly rich, varied in their ancestry, and mostly featured the abundant seafood.

We started with some Wellfleet Oysters and Littlenecks. Reasonably priced and sweet as anything. Two of us then had the "Wedge" which is, as you might expect, iceberg with blue cheese and applewood smoked bacon. Rather than a bleu cheese dressing, its served with a lighter vinaigrette. While I liked the bite the vinaigrette had, I wish it had been a bit thicker, so the lettuce would retain it. Overall though, worthwhile.

My friend had selected the Fra Diablo, which came as a mountain of seafood including clams, salmon, cod, shrimp, scallops, etc in a rich tomato base. My bite of it was satisfying if not a bit acidic. She enjoyed it, but said the same. The fish all had a great texture and was cooked perfectly, moist yet flaky.

#2 had decided to go with a basic mussels in garlic and white wine, but they turned out to be anything but... There wasn't the slightest rubberyness to them, and the garlic was savory, but not overpowering.

I decided at the last minute that the duck in blackberry port sauce sounded too good to pass up, and I was right. Everyone agreed this dish was their favorite. The sauce was phenomenal, and we all took turns trying to dissect it. It was thick and sweet, but not sugary, and had a little bite to it from the port. The duck had a fabulous crisp skin and had been cooked at just the right temp so it was almost devoid of fat.

We checked out the dessert menu and although there were many items worthwhile (a duo of creme brulees) we were all stuffed. Total damage was about 130 for 3 people, including drinks. Not bad at all considering the level of food.

I'll be curious to try the Oyster again for lunch and see what its like in Winter, but its definitely on my goto list from here on it.

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  1. Glad to hear this report as I love the Impudent Oyster. I've been going since the 70s. How were the mussels' sand factor? They are Pleasant Bay mussels (not the PEI rope grown variety) and the last time I ate them there, they were so sandy that I couldn't eat them. I'm talking big, tooth cracking grains of sand that no amount of rinsing in the broth would dislodge. I didn't say anything. Maybe I should have??

    2 Replies
    1. re: ciclista

      actually, i didn't notice ANY sand. at all!

      1. re: ciclista

        Ate at the Impudent Oyster for lunch 6-30. Food was good but there was quite a bit of sand in the Monomoy steamers. The Wellfleets were the best I had (of three places), on the Cape , except for the fact that many had bits of shell and curiously (since I've never seen this before, after hundreds of oysters recently), at least three had a divot of shell broken off around where the muscle attaches to the inside. These were semi-round and about the size of a normal button and very sharp-edged; not something you'd want to chew on or ingest!
        The chicken salad roll-up was good and the potato salad was decent. The (raw) Littlenecks were tasty. I believe the whipped butter-like substance was not butter. The herbed bread was delicious.
        The waitress commited a faux pas by bringing three of us the bottle of Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio '07 we were to share and ignoring my SO's order of a glass of Malbec.
        I/we thought the prices fair and we would definitely go back to this restaurant, but it was far from perfect. It is in downtown Chatham, where it can be a touristy shopping zoo, but it is on a side street.
        Note: SO on left and Catherine Oliver on the right. Probably hard to see the art made from blob of whipped ?. SO leaving Impudent Oyster and Catherine so happy with meal she was trying to fly around the room...

      2. I have been having a lunch each summer at the Impudent Oyster for the past five or six years, always starting with the clam chowder because of its creaminess, thickness, taste, etc. Last summer was a disappointment. It was thin, not creamy, and so on. Was I there on a bad day or had something changed? I asked around but could not get an answer.

        1 Reply
        1. re: AlanMa

          I have had dinner at least once each summer at IO for almost 20 years. The place has not changed a bit in food quality, service, or ambience over that period of time. It remains my all time favorite restaurant on the cape.

        2. Nice to read the IO is still tasting good. We owned a house in Harwich from the late 80's until 2003. When we visited, a mandatory stop was the Oyster. Particularly when we went up in the winter. We loved to sit at the bar for dinner. My wife is more adventurous in cuisine than I, so she would sample the specials and always found them good. However, I always opted for steak au poivre as it was my benchmark against which to judge other restuarants. We are looking to go back later this summer for the first time since we sold and will be visiting the Oyster of course.

          1. I had lunch at Impudent Oyster two weeks ago. it was as good as ever. I had steamers which were better than the ones I made myself several days later. A friend had fried clams which were also excellent. My brother had the basic mussels and he loved them. As others have said, the Impudent Oyster is consistently good.

            1. I had lunch at Impudent Oyster last week, the Nantucket Scallop Sandwich. It was excellent... will definitely return.