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Plum Island (and thereabouts)--eating advice?

aquariumtown Aug 26, 2011 09:14 PM

hounds,

I am taking my wife and our 11.5 month old daughter to stay on Plum Island, for my wife's b-day; we'll cook a bit, but I'd also like to go out. No babysitter so all options must be reasonably kid-friendly--she's a good baby, but still, a baby.

A review of the boards and elsewhere reveals the Clam Box, Bob Lobster, Farnham's; Mad Martha's for breakfast. Any dinner suggestions? Plum Island Grille--the menu suggests overpriced-ness but is the food good? And where else would you suggest in the area for breakfast, lunch, dinner? Glad to drive up to 20-30 minutes.

Most specifically, for my wife's birthday, she and I going snazzy back in Cambridge on Friday night, but would like to go to the perfect funky-family-friendly place on Saturday night. Where would you suggest a happy new family go to be even more happy?

Thanks for any advice you can offer--

-----
Mad Martha's Cafe
10 4th St, Newbury, MA 01951

Clam Box
789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

Bob Lobster
49 Plum Island Turpike, Newbury, MA 01951

  1. opinionatedchef Aug 26, 2011 09:49 PM

    do a search under newburyport for a few recent threads. glen's galley has alw had v good dinner food, w/ international influences and excellent music(both recorded and live).

    fyi, we went to the Clam Box (the very best, imo) right after their once a day frying-oil-change (2:30) and clams are at an all time price high right now, with signs posted about that. have no idea if that will be in effect when you go, but just fyi. American BBQ in Rowley is surpringly really good on most all fronts and is open lu. and dinn.

    I would urge you to go to Black Trumpet 15 min. north in Portsmouth- for elegant spectacular food.

    If you can dine early w/ your wife or family, i would suggest the charming patio at Oleana in Camb. for Fri. or Sat.night
    Fantastic and unusual Mediterranean/Turkish fare (but they don't reserve the patio.)

    -----
    Clam Box
    789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

    Oleana
    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

    American BBQ
    950 Cummings Ctr Ste 96X, Beverly, MA 01915

    1 Reply
    1. re: opinionatedchef
      aquariumtown Aug 28, 2011 09:33 PM

      thanks! we've been long-time oleana patio fans from way before we were married--but doing ten tables cambridge on friday night since i think i've reached my limit on oleana patio dates... in our particular relationship that raises the suspicion that i just didn't get it together to make an actual reservation!

      thanks for the info--very helpful. (esp the frying oil change time!).

    2. mcel215 Aug 28, 2011 03:11 AM

      The food is excellent at The Plum Island Grille, albeit a little pricey.

      -----
      Plum Island Grille
      2 Plum Island Blvd, Newbury, MA 01951

      1. BlueMagic Aug 28, 2011 05:43 AM

        In addition to the places you've already listed, be sure to check out Newburyport for dinner. Michael's Harborside is decent...as is the Grog for more casual pub style food.
        Also, in my opinion, the best breakfast in that area can be found at Village Pancake House on Main St. in Rowley. From Newburyport just follow route 1a into Rowley and it is located right after the junction on 1A and 133. Don't let the name fool you. This is a very pretty and quaint place to have breakfast ..very pretty country style decor, great service and unbelievable food.

        -----
        Village Pancake House
        26 Main St, Rowley, MA 01969

        3 Replies
        1. re: BlueMagic
          aquariumtown Aug 28, 2011 09:37 PM

          thanks for the tip! from that suggestion i see that yelp reviewers say the village pancake house has "screaming babies" so we will look like angels since our little angel, of course, would never ever scream.

          1. re: aquariumtown
            opinionatedchef Aug 29, 2011 12:06 AM

            In Nbry'port i would definitely not send you to the grog or michael's.Not. also not the mexican place on state st., or ceia.
            plse do report back on your experiences!

            1. re: aquariumtown
              BlueMagic Sep 2, 2011 07:42 PM

              Do they really? I have been there several times and never heard a baby screaming. Of course, perhaps that's because I tend to go earlier in the morning.

          2. Infomaniac Aug 29, 2011 06:59 PM

            Plum Island Grille is very good, and yes a little pricey.

            Mad Martha's for breakfast....YES

            Here's a list of my usual spots.

            Anna Rosa's Bakery - Must go. Great bakery for your breads, and great croissants.

            http://www.annarosas.com/

            Joppa Fine Foods - Excellent selection of cheese, cured meats, pate, lunch sandwiches.
            http://www.joppafinefoods.com/products.php

            Mr. India - Indian and Himalayan

            http://www.misterindiarestaurant.com/aboutus.php

            Stella's - Breakfast/Lunch

            http://www.stellasofmiddlestreet.com/index.html

            Fowles Diner Downtown - Breakfast

            http://www.fowlesdiner.com/

            Fowles Meat Market - excellent homemade sausages, and anything else you want to grill.

            http://www.fowlesmarket.com/

            Tendercrop Farm Rte. 1A heading to or coming back from the Clam Shack

            http://www.tendercropfarms.com/

            Cathy's Country Kitchen - Rowley

            Breakfast

            Fishtale Diner for breakfast on the deck if it's nice out http://bridgemarinasalisbury.com/fish...

            The Grog and Michael's are alright, especially with a 1yo. Average food you can find in any town though. I like the menu at Glenn;s Restaurant better.

            -----
            Plum Island Grille
            2 Plum Island Blvd, Newbury, MA 01951

            Mad Martha's Cafe
            10 4th St, Newbury, MA 01951

            Cathy's Country Kitchen
            300 Newburyport Tpke, Rowley, MA 01969

            Fishtale Diner
            177 Bridge Rd, Salisbury, MA 01952

            1. opinionatedchef Aug 30, 2011 01:14 PM

              atown,just fyi, a close friend/gourmand had this to say about dining in his hometown:

              "Oh God. Could go on forever. Mr. India is OK for takeout but is a dump,Jewel in theCrown or whatever it's called is better. Grand Trunk for cheese and interesting but small beer/wine selection. David's for seafood market in Salisbury. Anna Rosa right on, but it's in Amesbury. Park Lunch for fried seafood and Red Sox, now there's a local find, esp. the fried shrimp; clams a little inconsistent. Leary's has best wine selection, NE Wine & Spirits by rotary very good on beer. Plum Island Grill overrated AND overpriced but yes I will go there for sunsets and location and a bit more creativity than you usually find elsewhere."

              -----
              Park Lunch
              181 Merrimac St, Newburyport, MA 01950

              6 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef
                Infomaniac Aug 30, 2011 04:30 PM

                Are you quoting your close friend/gourmand verbatim from a recent conversation, or are you gathering this quote from an old post on your own, and if so could you could share it, because Annarosa's is in Salisbury now, if that mattters to anyone.

                I think the OP would be happier at The Grog or Michael's than Park Lunch. Park Lunch is locals place and nothing special to anyone visiting For fried seafood you want to go to Bob Lobster.

                Jewel in the Crown doesn't deliver on the spices that Mr. India is putting out now, and while Mr. India is better for take-out, it won't kill you eating in. I'm living proof.

                -----
                Park Lunch
                181 Merrimac St, Newburyport, MA 01950

                Bob Lobster
                49 Plum Island Turpike, Newbury, MA 01951

                1. re: Infomaniac
                  opinionatedchef Aug 30, 2011 10:46 PM

                  not an old post; hot from my frnd's lips.so to speak.

                  1. re: Infomaniac
                    ScubaSteve Sep 3, 2011 09:02 AM

                    Jewel In The Crown lit us up a few weeks ago per our request. they seemed genuinely pleased that we asked for them to turn up the heat.

                    1. re: ScubaSteve
                      Infomaniac Sep 4, 2011 04:46 AM

                      I'll take your word for it, and I have nothing against JITC. I like their location better. I was there with my GF last week, and she doesn't like her food to spicy, so I'm convinced they tame it for me too even though I ask for punishment.
                      The reason I like Mr. India better is they know me when I come in or order on the phone, and I don't have to ask for them to be a little heavier on the spices.

                  2. re: opinionatedchef
                    MABMAQ Aug 31, 2011 09:17 AM

                    gourmand's right about Davids but you have to have a lot of $$$ to shop there ... $ 25.00 gets you 1 lobster tail if you're lucky .... better to go to Market Basket in Newburyport for your seafood... PIG is a place to go when you want to be seen - the better of Chef Broadbery's places was Powow River Grill in Amesbury (now closed)

                    1. re: MABMAQ
                      Infomaniac Aug 31, 2011 11:42 AM

                      The only thing I'll buy at David's is the octopus which is usually frozen. Everything else is way over priced compared to every other seafood place in the area.
                      I sort of forgot about Powow River Grille until you mentioned it. PRG is one place in this area that I really miss a lot.

                      -----
                      Powow River Grille
                      33 Main St, Amesbury, MA 01913

                  3. aquariumtown Sep 2, 2011 07:07 PM

                    thanks for all the great tips, folks--will definitely report back

                    the other thing is that where we're staying has a kitchen! so we might bring up all those vegetables that are building up from our CSA and just try to eat em

                    but we're definitely getting some lobster rolls and fried goodness

                    thanks again

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: aquariumtown
                      w
                      why_itsme Sep 2, 2011 08:30 PM

                      If you plan on any water activities be sure to check the local news first. The beach areas of the Newburyport area of Plum Island are currently closed.

                      http://www.newburyportnews.com/local/...

                      1. re: aquariumtown
                        Infomaniac Sep 3, 2011 05:27 AM

                        Parker River Wildlife Refuge beaches are all open. It's a great place to spend the mornings or afternoon. Bring your coffee and pack a cooler. A lot of nice walks and views, Great sand dunes. Watch out for the Birders in the morning. A yearly pass is $20/car and it's probably $5/car for a daily pass.
                        http://www.fws.gov/northeast/parkerri...
                        If you are out and want to bring your own lobsters back to your place, the Newburyport Market Basket stores has them going from $4.99 to $5.99 lb. and will steam them for you.

                      2. MC Slim JB Sep 3, 2011 05:51 AM

                        Been a while since I've been back, and there's a reason: I thought the Plum Island Grille was wretched, and worse, gouging. One of the worst expensive meals I've had in the past couple of years. Waste of a great location.

                        Some fine farmers markets all about that area, though, and a great time of year to frequent them and cook in.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        -----
                        Plum Island Grille
                        2 Plum Island Blvd, Newbury, MA 01951

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                          m
                          Madrid Sep 3, 2011 06:48 AM

                          and the only restaurant that's ever double charged my credit card...the second time an hour after we left, and with a bigger tip!

                          1. re: Madrid
                            MC Slim JB Sep 3, 2011 06:57 AM

                            Aw, that's just nasty! I hope you repeat that story every chance you get. That kind of behavior is literally criminal.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                              m
                              Madrid Sep 3, 2011 10:32 AM

                              they did reverse the charge, but were not particularly apologetic. What about folks who don't check their statements? This was about 8 years ago, I think.

                          2. re: MC Slim JB
                            j
                            jjbourgeois Sep 4, 2011 06:43 PM

                            Plum Island Grille is a definite place to avoid. We tried them a couple of times, Service was always terrible and two issues with charges on the card. Haven't been back and will never go back to the establishment again.

                            -----
                            Plum Island Grille
                            2 Plum Island Blvd, Newbury, MA 01951

                          3. aquariumtown Nov 4, 2011 05:46 PM

                            Trip report:
                            Ambitions, as usual, were somewhat curtailed by the baby, but not in a bad way. Two trips to Bob Lobster, with great lobster rolls to eat there, great lobster rolls to be wrapped and taken to the beach. Also went to Mad Martha's for breakfast; it's changing ownership and the new owners were there learning the ropes--seemed like two very nice women who I am sure will keep the nice vibe of this place. The chef/owner was a master of the breakfast grill--hopefully they will be able to match it. Really nice homey brunch place. Also, it seems, no relation to the ice cream place of the same name on Martha's Vineyard.

                            We went after a storm had washed sewage into newburyport, but we ended up doing beach days on the far southern tip of the island (a state beach), which, if you're staying there, is where we found the nicest parts of the island. easy to get bob lobster food to take down there.

                            -----
                            Mad Martha's Cafe
                            10 4th St, Newbury, MA 01951

                            Bob Lobster
                            49 Plum Island Turpike, Newbury, MA 01951

                             
                            6 Replies
                            1. re: aquariumtown
                              mcel215 Nov 5, 2011 03:41 AM

                              Thanks for reporting back, it helps update those of us, who haven't been to Newburyport in a while.

                              Sounds like you had a great trip. :)

                              1. re: mcel215
                                aquariumtown Nov 6, 2011 10:30 PM

                                sure! I should add a bit more detail--the reason that Bob Lobster won our heart on the eating-there side was that they have the right kind of wiener roll but they toast it a bit; and there was plenty of very tasty lobster and not a lot else. The take-out version was not toasted, which initially disappointed me. But after taking it to the beach I realized that was the right call for the picnic lobster roll (the plastic wrap and the delay in eating would have probably just made the toasted bun a bit more soggy b/c of condensation w/heat, etc), and liked it this way too. While I like the super gourmet version of a lobster roll too (just had the B+G version recently for a considerably higher price, though also with a nicer wine list), this seems like the apotheosis of the traditional more low-budget form of the lobster roll.

                                -----
                                Bob Lobster
                                49 Plum Island Turpike, Newbury, MA 01951

                                1. re: aquariumtown
                                  Infomaniac Nov 7, 2011 06:45 AM

                                  Glad to hear you had a nice stay, and thank you for the update on Mad Martha's changing hands. I'll have to check that out soon.

                                  Was the state beach you mentioned the Parker River Wildlife Refuge?

                                  -----
                                  Mad Martha's Cafe
                                  10 4th St, Newbury, MA 01951

                                  1. re: Infomaniac
                                    aquariumtown Dec 12, 2011 11:42 AM

                                    yes, I think so

                                  2. re: aquariumtown
                                    Small Plates Nov 7, 2011 07:57 AM

                                    We summer every year in Plum Island and are looking forward to buying there in the next few years. We love Bob Lobster! We love Mad Martha's, as it is our abutter - we get many To Go provisions for the beach. Everything is delicious! Contrary to the rip off experiences others have had at the"PIG" (Plum Island Grille), we love the fresh fish and salads and veg from Tendercrop that the Chef has on the menu every night. We have always been treated well - we do dine there 2-3 times per week as we are loathe to leave the island. When we do, we like the Mission Oak Grill and Glenn's. True about Park Lunch - really nothing special at all - but it is a local hangout and is fun for that aspect of engaging in community life. For me, however, the best lunch is Bob's Lobster Roll (see attached). And the best dinner is fresh tomatoes and corn from Marini's or Tendercrop along with some fish from Ispwich Seafood served on our deck :)

                                    -----
                                    Mad Martha's Cafe
                                    10 4th St, Newbury, MA 01951

                                    Park Lunch
                                    181 Merrimac St, Newburyport, MA 01950

                                    Mission Oak Grill
                                    26 Green Street, Newburyport, MA 01950

                                    Bob Lobster
                                    49 Plum Island Turpike, Newbury, MA 01951

                                     
                                    1. re: Small Plates
                                      yumyum Nov 7, 2011 08:41 AM

                                      Nice picture! Aaaahhhhh summer in New England.

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