Chesca's in Edgartown
Last night, some friends and I went to some art openings in Edgartown and then had dinner at Chesca's, where I had not been in a few years. It's a sentimental favorite, though, so I was looking forward to it.
We arrived close to 7 and were seated right away at one of the last available tables. The place was hopping with all kinds of people who generated a lot of buzz. I was actually surprised to see it so busy as the island has been rather quiet, which is sure to change in August with the President's arrival.
I wish I could say I loved our meal and the service, but the experience was just mediocre at best. As I was treating my friends, I did not ask them about their food, as I did not want to be impolite, so I will focus on my own experience.
Before we had settled into our seats, let alone had a moment to look at the menu or shake out our napkins, our waitress came over and said there was only one special, an appetizer, and were we ready to order? From then on in, we felt rushed all evening, a really uncomfortable experience. I have seldom felt so urged along, as if we were big old fat cows headed for slaughter with a cattle prod. It was bizarre.
We ordered cocktails, which were ok- rather watery mojitos which were remarkably sweet. We could not finish them.
I had the mussels for an appetizer which were totally bland. That is all I can say. The honest truth is, I had better mussels at Nancy's in Oak Bluffs about 2 weeks ago, which is NOT an island favorite and a place I went to with fierce reluctance. (When out of town friends visit and want to sit on the water for steamers, etc. we are often very limited....) The ones at Chesca's were overcooked and in a broth that had virtually no flavor. (And the ones at Nancy's were really great- no kidding.)
Twice- before I was finished with them - the waitress came along wanting to take my plate of mussels away. I was really astonished, to be honest. And I know my guests felt rushed as they began to force their food along in an uncomfortable way.
I then had a salmon dish in a sweet sauce accompanied by mashed potatoes and vegetables. Again...bland. Nothing tasted fresh or local. Just boring....I had a small bite of the potatoes, but they were just so lackluster that I had no reason to continue. The vegetables, squash mainly, were also boring, without a single hint of fresh herbs or seasoning- and like the potatoes, served lukewarm. My salmon was ok, I did like the sauce.
All through the meal, we felt rushed. We had not even finished our dinner when the bill arrived. We then ordered desserts to share and the waitress actually sighed.
(As we were meeting friends afterwards who were some of the artists exhibiting, we were not exactly plodding through our experience. We arrive shortly before 7 and left at 8.)
With tip, this meal was $70 per person. (One drink each and everyone had one glass of wine.)
So, I was disappointed. With so many choices on the island in the summer, I sincerely wish we had picked a different spot to celebrate the warm weather and friendship. Hopefully we just caught them on an off night.
Back when they first opened I was always amazed at how they could offer such a diverse menu (like spaghetti to beef Wellington) and pull it off. Is it still like that? I always wondered if that would be their downfall. Haven't been there in a while - I prefer dining where I can make a reservation, but an hour for dinner is way too fast. Too bad. BTW, I find the mussels at Lattanzi's Pizza about the best I've ever had.