Wellfleet weekend report
Last we spent last weekend in Wellfleet and ended up eating out more often than usual, so I thought I'd pass along the experience.
We had wanted to try Terra Luna in Truro on Friday night, but due to traffic we arrived late and they had no tables available, so we ended up going to The Wicked Oyster in Wellfleet. We have been there several times for breakfast (they have excellent corned beef hash) but had never been for dinner. We had cocktails (well made, respectable) at the bar and decided to eat where we were, ordering the half dozen oysters, which were somewhat small but very tasty, and a special with seared scallops served with a risotto cake and greens. The scallops were delicious, but the risotto cake was rather dry and flavorless. We then shared an order of shrimp and chips which was quite good. The shrimp were large and juicy and the breading extremely light and crisp, as were the fries. The atmosphere there is always laid back and welcoming and the bar was chatty and fun, just right for a Friday night nosh.
The next day we were up early and out for a hike along the National Seashore and in the Provincelands, so worked up an appetite for lunch and drove over to Farland Provisions in Provincetown for sandwiches. I love Farland; they have that quirky country store vibe, selling everything from gorgeous baked goods to accompany your morning coffee, excellent sandwiches and salads, fresh produce, gourmet comestibles and a variety of wines and beers. (While you can eat there, they only have a license to sell alcohol, not serve, so you can't partake of that beer or wine on the premises.) We sampled a vegetarian option with marinated grilled veggies and also a "Ryder"; pastrami, Swiss and Dijon mustard, which has to be the best pastrami sandwich I have had in ages. Beautiful lean flavorful meat, sliced extremely thin with just the right amount of cheese. Serious yum. The meal was finished off by a portion of chocolate bread pudding with vanilla creme anglaise, which was enjoyable, but not fabulous.
After another long hike we ended the day by meeting a friend at the restaurant of his choice, Catch of the Day on Rt 6 in Wellfleet. A small casual storefront type of place, it is owned by the same people that run Van Rensselaer's down the road but has a very different vibe. This was the second time we've eaten there and both times had terrific meals. Chef Jason Kew and his crew turn out simple fresh seafood dishes that are hard to beat. This visit we tried the shrimp and scallop scampi special which was delicious and the grilled swordfish with cilantro-lime aioli. The swordfish was incredibly tender and moist and the aioli tasty enough to make me want to duplicate it at home. A slice of key lime pie for dessert was overkill, but oh-so-good.
Sunday morning was overcast and drizzly, so we had a late start and ended up heading into Provincetown again, this time to hit up The Mews for brunch. It was lovely and cozy sipping those big cups of coffee by the windows on the beach looking out over the misty harbor. Torn between sweet and savory, we chose both to share; the french toast with fresh fruit and the smoked salmon eggs benedict on a croissant. While the french toast was light and fluffy, it was almost too light-—missing that eggy richness you'd expect. The bendict was really excellent, herby and tangy, I'd certainly order again. The Mews offers a variety of over 200 vodkas so of course we had to accompany the meal with one of their Bloody Marys. I chose the Danish Mary, made with Akvavit and caraway seeds which was spicy and a good complement to the eggs.
We are heading back to Wellfleet in August and will try to hit up Terra Luna then. Also, have heard interesting things about the new Wellfleet restaurant Pearl, which recently opened. May have to check them out as well. Feel free to pass along any suggestions!
Mews Restaurant & Cafe
429 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657
50 Main St, Wellfleet, MA 02667
Far Land Provisions
150 Bradford St, Provincetown, MA
Catch of the Day Seafood Market
975 Route 6, Wellfleet, MA
re: c oliver
Great report..thanks so much..I am off Cape for a few months but still love to read these reviews..
C, go to Sesuit Cafe mid week in Dennis. LOVELY. Smugglers has great ice cream and Mercantile has nice sandwiches for a picnic. Next door Buckies has nice scones and biscotti..cheers..
Just got back from a week at Wellfleet. We cooked most of the time, but hit a few places mentioned on Chowhound and here are my comments:
Farland Provisions, Provincetown: Decent sandwiches, but a little on the expensive side for a sandwich. Good deli when surrounded by the restauarants and fast food choices in Provincetown. If this deli was in Boston, it wouldn't be noticeable. The sandwiches were decent, but not spectacular. Had the Racepoint roast beef sandwich. The "baked daily from RI" sourdough bread was dried out like it was day old. The roast beef was run of the mill roast beef. The horseradish sauce was good (mild - I would have preferred a little more sinus clearing zing to the sauce). I would go there because it's a better choice than the fast food joints found in the heart of provincetown.
Lewis Brothers Ice Cream, Provincetown: another place that would be unremarkable if in Boston. Had the black raspberry ice cream. Very smooth, but not much black raspberry flavor. If you tasted it blind, then it tastes more like vanilla than anything else.
Provincetown Portuguese Bakery: fried dough. Greasy, sugary, pleasure. We bought one and split it among the family. Glad we bought just one and split it because it was a little on the greasy side, but good.
Lobster Pot, Provincetown: Very good clam chowder. Overall, good meal in a family friendly environment. Had the baked stuffed lobster with the "clam bake" option that was equivalent to ordering a cup of chowder separately. More food than I could eat with salad, soup, mussels, and vegetables that come with it. Ritz crackers and shrimp dominated the lobster stuffing. The crab meat and scallops that were supposed to be in the stuffing were barely noticeable. I've had better baked stuffed lobster on the cape. The clam chowder was very good - as good as or perhaps better than Legal Seafood clam chowder. I'd go back for the chowder.
Mac's Shack: fried clams, fried shrimp, onion rings and fries. The fried shrimp were very good - meaty, crisp coating, not greasy. The fried clams were decent - not greasy. The onion rings were very good - some of the biggest onion rings I've gotten at a clam shack. The tartar sauce was heavy on the mayo so I mixed in some relish to make it closer to what I'm used to. Overall, good fried seafood - not greasy. However, Mac's Shack isn't at the same level as the Clam Box in Ipswich and for that matter very few places can match the Clam Box. However, it was nice to be able to find good fried seafood out on the cape.
Orleans Villa Pizza: good pizza - not great like Santarpios, but better than most pizza joints that you find in strip malls across the area. They offer both sicilian and traditional pizza. This seemed like a locals place as opposed to a tourist destination - with a steady stream of locals during the weekday. The "sicilian" is really just a thick crust and I wouldn't necessarily consider it a true "sicilian" pizza. The sauce was good, the crust was decent and the prices were right. They also offer a wide variety of pizza by the slice. Most of the locals were ordering pizza by the slice. I'd go there again.
Pizza at Flying Fish. Lunch at The Juice (healthy sandwiches, salads, pizza, smoothies). Oysters on the deck of The Bookstore (the lobster roll is good, too, and the view compensates for the other food, which is mostly only OK--but eating oysters with that view...ahh!). Lunch at Mac's on the dock is surprisingly good, too.
Quick followup, as we just spent a couple more days in Wellfleet this weekend:
Friday night we finally checked out The Pearl in Wellfleet, and really enjoyed our dinner. Immediate delivery of hot crusty rolls with butter and well made cocktails was a great start. The local oysters, which seemed larger than usual, were excellent, and the clams casino were extremely tasty. For entrees we tried the fried shrimp, which were juicy, large (5 to the plate) nice crisp light breading, served with thin crispy fries, and the fish taco which was decent, though it had small hunks of fish as opposed to a larger piece, so a bit messier to handle.
The wait staff was terrific and the atmosphere fun - I loved the custom light fixtures featuring horseshoe crabs and schools of fish. The only drawback was that it was chilly and drafty, confirming why they close for the season after the Oyster Festival in October - the place is all windows with no insulation at all. Great for the summer, not so much the fall.
Couldn't resist breakfast at The Wicked Oyster again, even though I had heard great things about the breakfast at Devon's in P-Town, too. Terrific as always.
Saturday night we ended up at Victor's, tucked up in the west end of P-town. It was a last minute decision and we didn't call ahead. We arrived around 6:30, and though the place was less than half full, we had to sit at the bar to eat as all the tables were reserved. At 7 the patrons arrived en masse, and by 7:30 the place was jammed.
The room is nice, clean and understated with a contemporary feel, and the waitstaff efficient and friendly. The prices are quite reasonable, and while the menu says that the entrees are "small plates" we found them a decent size. The cocktails were nicely mixed and the bartender very accommodating.
We had mixed feelings about the food; while it was all certainly good, not everything stood out. The harvest salad with roasted beets was excellent, the sweet and savory combination of tastes well orchestrated, and the grilled asparagus was absolutely to die for. Really, it was marvelous. However, the sweet potato gnocchi with caramelized onion sauce was tasty, but somehow lacked zing and the herb chicken quesadilla was fairly standard.
So while not everything was knock-your-socks off, I would certainly try it again, though will definitely make reservations next time. While I generally enjoy eating in the bar area, this one has very limited space and got pretty claustrophobic by the time we left.