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Jul 23, 2011 10:19 AM

Fin in Dennis, and Brewster Fish House

I can add to reports that Brewster Fish House is no longer consistently excellent in the food department, following the former chef's departure to open Fin in Dennis, with her husband. The expanded seating in the Fish House is welcome, but the look of the rooms is less inviting. The seafood chowder continues to be outstanding, however.

Our waitress missed my salad order, then tried to deliver the salad after the entree was served. Seared scallops were unevenly seared, a bit chewy, and served with overcooked carrot, ordinary peas, and a pea emulsion that needed seasoning and additional flavor contrast. Dessert menu was unimpressive, we tried fresh peach sorbet, which I have made several times. My version tasted like a ripe, fresh peach, their version had a cooked or even canned peach flavor. And my old favorite wine by the glass, a California Barbera, was this year priced at $15/glass, no sale. I hope the kitchen can raise its game back to the big leagues.

Fin seats diners in the front room on the first floor and upstairs, and there is a bar area in the rear of the first floor. Ceilings are low and walls are hard, so the place can get noisy when full.

The only off note was the appetizer carried over from the Fish House. The sauteed Jonah crab cake was beautifully presented, but dry and not full of crab flavor. Salads were delicious, and the daily special of pan seared striped bass on a bed of vegetables and fingerling potatoes with a lobster reduction was a classic example of the superb fish cookery the chef displayed at the Fish House over the years. My dinner of perfectly seared scallops on a wonderful risotto with sauteed peppers and spinach and toasted pine nuts again showed an extraordinary talent for showcasing great fresh seafood with a superb accompaniment of flavors and textures.

Desserts were wonderful as well, a fresh peach tart with ginger ice cream, and a sizable panna cotta with berries and sauce.

So for those who seek the eating experience previously provided by the Brewster Fish House, try Fin, where reservations are accepted and required, which most diners would prefer to the open seating and long waits at the Fish House.

Brewster Fish House
2208 Main, Brewster, MA 02631

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  1. Many of us suspected this development may happen. Personally, I'm sad to hear it has come to fruition.

    Fin sounds terrific. Thanks for the nice report. It's definately now on my list for the summer.

    1. Sorry, a correction, my dish was thyme-marinated shrimp over risotto, not seared scallops. Doh! It was wonderful, the shrimp perfectly cooked, nice marinade, and the dish as a whole was just outstanding. The perfect seared scallops were at Nauset Beach Club, that probably warrants a separate posting.

      Nauset Beach Club Restaurant
      222 Main St, Orleans, MA 02653

      1. Just wanted to pipe in here on last year's thread. We visited Brewster Fish House yesterday for lunch, and were quite pleased. My DC had Fish and Chips....nice fresh cod, expertly coated and cooked. Substituted roasted potatoes for fries which were great, also a bit stingy in portion size. I had the fried scallops and subbed in sweet potato fries for regular. The scallops were underdone, and I sent them back. They cooked them some more and they were great. I was a little concerned that my plate would return with hot scallops and cold fries, but they must have read my mind and made syre ti give me fresh hot fries with the returned plate. Coleslaw on both our meals was fine. We were impressed with the food quality, and other dishes coming out looked equally wonderful. We will be back....

        8 Replies
        1. re: Science Chick

          I'm glad you liked your lunch. This selection of food is a departure from the typical lunch fare the Brewster Fish House was known for prior to 2011, however. They did some fried fish, but fried food was not featured as much as other preparations. I believe the Fish House is a very different experience than it was for many years, different and not better, to my tastes. It's still a good place to eat, but no longer in the elevated plane it was under the previous kitchen staff. Fin continues that tradition of excellence, at least at dinner hour.

          1. re: Dan D

            Actually Dan, it would appear that although the lunch menu has expanded somewhat since 2011, it remains true to it's roots. My favorite dish, the Cioppino is still there, as is my wife's favorite shrimp scampi. They have appeared to add a few new apps, like fried calamari and steamed littlenecks, as well as a few sandwiches like flat iron steak and an oyster po-boy. There's also a Sesame Crusted Flounder and Wellfleet littlenecks white clam sauce on Linguini, all of which sound appetizing. Given the favorable review, I may have to give it another try after having avoiding it once they lost their longtime head chef.

            Here's the new lunch menu....

            1. re: CapeCodGuy

              Also stunning looking was a lobster wrap....we saw several coming out that were bursting with plump fresh lobster meat. We just happened to be in the mood for fried seafood, although I strongly considered the oyster po-boy.

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                Fair enough, their menu does include a lot of the old favorites. My many meals at the Fish House were at dinner hour mostly, however. There are lots of great places in the area for fried seafood, I tend to think of the Fish House in terms of their other offerings as highest and best use of this good restaurant.

                1. re: Dan D

                  Agreed, and sadly, reviews still seem mixed. That said, it's probably high time to try it again myself and form my own opinion.

                  1. re: Dan D

                    One of the main reasons we went there for just fried seafood is that my DH likes a potato option other than fries...he loved the roasted potatoes! Dan, I'm curious, what local places do you like for fried seafood around there? We're pretty picky on that account....don't like Cook's or Sir Crickets in Orleans. Had a horrific experience at JT's a few years ago and haven't been back (last day of the season they served my daughter a rancid lobster roll....and as they made a tuna roll to replace it I saw them stuffing tuna into her sandwich with bare hands...ugh). Our favorites are Friendly Fisherman and PJ's in Wellfleet. Sesuit Cafe in Dennis is good, but we're usually not down that way. We'll be spending more time in the Brewster/Orleans area this summer, so I'd welcome new suggestions......

                    1. re: Science Chick

                      We liked Sir Crickets for fried seafood and lobster roll, though their fried potatoes are nothing special. I consider Sesuit Cafe nearby, excellent. Cafe Alfresco surprised me in quality and value for money with fish and chips, various fish used depending on the day, and occasional other fried seafood, among many other tasty lunch options. I never liked JT's, and in the "okay" category would include Cobies and Kate's Seafood in Brewster.

                      1. re: Science Chick

                        Friendly Fisherman always get my vote for lobster rolls and scallop rolls. Their fried clams and fisherman's platter are also excellent, but not my cup of tea. Also in Eastham is Russ and Marie's Marconi Beach BBQ. They have good fried clams, and you can get a mixed platter with clams and scallops.. I've also been able to sub sweet potato fries. Currently, DH and I are calling Land Ho in Orleans our favorite go to for fish and chips.

                        We tend to eat lunches out, so I'm not making dinner recommendations.

              2. It is not bad , it is just different from it wonderful past. but depending on your craving for the evening try both and see.