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May 16, 2009 08:15 PM

Save $/time/calories: SKIP Angelico's Lake House ( E. Hampton, CT)

SUMMARY: If you can make an entire meal out of fresh-baked bread and a lobster tempura appetizer (special), please read no further--this is the place for you! Please leave any and all service expectations behind, however, and be sure to pass on dessert.

We eat out regularly and have done so for years; however, we just returned from one of the worst meals/experiences either of us can recall. I won't even go into all the details of why the service and overall experience was so subpar. We showed up shortly after 7 for a 7:15 reservation and finally left the restaurant at 9:30 p.m. We were on our way to walk out the door around 7:30 and, in retrospect, wish we had kept going, but when we told the hostess we were going to leave (we were seated just a few tables away from a LIVE BAND), she asked us to please wait 5 minutes, that she was in the process of reseating us. OK. We really appreciated that. But live and learn--it's like the SATs--go with your first answer!

On the plus side, the lobster tempura appetizer on the nightly specials menu was EXCELLENT. I enjoyed it immensely. It came with a chili-orange sauce and a "char pineapple" (no char, but fresh pineapple for sure) salsa, which was tasty and a nice complement to the lobster. That was 1/2 my dinner--other 1/2 was lobster bisque. I have no complaints about the bisque, though I am not one to order this frequently enough to have a big point of view on lobster bisque, so I can only say I did enjoy it and it did not lack chunks of lobster. I'd give the lobster tempura an A, the bisque a B. These are the ONLY things we ate and enjoyed tonight.

Shared appetizer--jumbo lump crab cakes. The creamy, lemony dipping sauce that accompanied them was the best part of the dish. The crab cakes themselves were lots of breading, little crab, molded into perfect little disc shapes (no doubt made elsewhere). J Gilbert's makes, IMO, the best crab cakes in our area. And I personally have made crab cakes, so I understand what good crab cakes are all about. These were all about BREADING. What a disappointment!

My dining companion ordered another nightly special: tournedos of filet mignon and Maine lobster claw. If I should ever have the misfortune to be hospitalized and order filet mignon, this is what I'd expect. It tasted like brisket, but not prepared lovingly like any other brisket I've eaten and enjoyed. I did not eat the lobster claw. When I asked, he said he had had fresh lobster recently that was better, so it was "OK," but not great.

I am obviously a sucker for punishment. It's a cold, rainy night and a decaf cappucino and something for dessert sounded good. Decaf cappucino (we each had one) = warm milk with a hint of slight coffee flavoring. Molten chocolate cake a la mode was the nail in this dinner's coffin. It's been years since I've tasted Hershey's syrup, but whatever was drizzled on the dessert plate tasted like a thinned version of it.

Our total with 2 glasses of wine each (excluding tip) was $105. We've spent this kind of money recently for EXCELLENT meals at La Tavola in Waterbury and J Gilbert's in Glastonbury, to name just two places I love in a similar price range. Those two other restaurants are SO FAR ABOVE Angelico's in food, atmosphere and service, I can only say what a waste of over $100 and 2+ hours, but at least we can vote with our feet. We will not return to Angelico's Lake House ever again. I can think of too many other places where we'd prefer to spend our money, time and calories.

Angelico's Lakehouse Restaurant
81 N Main St, East Hampton, CT 06424

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  1. I have to agree with your review....went here for dinner a few months ago (lured by a certificate) and we were disappointed as well. Although the view is lovely, it is not worth the hassle and price of dinner.....I'd say if you still want to try it, go for lunch, maybe that's better??

    1. Wow, good to know. I've only been there for the bar and the view....Guess I'll stick with those!

      1 Reply
      1. re: BiscuitBoy

        Thanks, both of you. Agree 100 percent--the lake view is lovely, and bar would be fine (as would lunch, probably, as we went for lunch last summer), but after Saturday, I'm not in a big rush to go back.

      2. We ate there last year and found it to be okay, but not great. Then again, for the meal, desserts and drinks you got, you would have spent a LOT more at J. Gilberts. Plus, I find J. Gilberts decor to be nothing special. To me it could be the 99, Houlihans or Chili's. JMHO

        2 Replies
        1. re: JayCT

          Actually, I guess I forgot we had some birthday meals and other discounts at J Gilbert's which made the tabs comparable (we discussed meals with similar pricing on the way home). But even barring the discounts, I'd rather pay more and get infinitely better food and service. We didn't have discounts at La Tavola and the tabs were definitely in the same range. And La Tavola has its own pastry chef!

          I agree we don't find the atmosphere at J. Gilbert's to be anything special, but as my mom might say, "You can't eat atmosphere." I have never had a bad meal OR bad service at J. Gilbert's and don't exactly find the decor to be in the same range as 99 or Chili's (I've never been to Houlihans). It's certainly CLEANER! And while not a quiet place, it's not due to the same factors that make the chains you mention loud.

          Specific to J. Gilbert's jumbo lump crab cakes, I would be very interested to learn of another restaurant in Connecticut that makes them as good or better. They are my absolute favorites--enough so I'm hoping to replicate what they do when I make my own. Their crab bisque is excellent also.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            Angelico's is a far cry from the dive that used to occupy the shore there (called the Hathaway House, a real eyesore). Thanks to Angelico's for beautifying the lake's shoreline! That being said, its not a Saturday night fine dining destination for us. Angelico's is great for outdoor "Tiki bar" live entertainment and inexpensive casual buffets in the summer, live music indoors other seasons, and creative bargain mid-week specials (as I've posted before).

            For a dinner destination, I have to agree with Jay and kattyeyes, don't set your expectations too high.