Chatham Report October 2011
My partner and I spent a quick 36 hours in Chatham over the long weekend (Friday and Saturday nights) and undertook what might seem to be a pretty predictable dining agenda as we based our eating somewhat on recommendations and comments from this board. The breakdown:
- two breakfasts at Hangar B
- Friday dinner at Impudent Oyster
- Saturday lunch at the Chatham Fish Pier
- Saturday evening at ABBA in Orleans
Hangar B - awesome both days. Having read that the place can be crowded on the weekends, my partner and I got there each morning when they opened (7:00 a.m.) and, needless to say, had no trouble getting in. In fact, we were the first party there each morning. Both breakfasts were outstanding! Lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh berries, buttermilk waffles also with fresh berries, a side of red flannel hash (made with beets among other things and topped with a creamy horseradish sauce), chocolate croissant French Toast, delicious French roast coffee .... all beautiful to look at as well as to eat. The Chef/owner chatted with us Sunday morning in a friendly and interested manner and the wait staff both days were gracious, cheerful, low key and welcoming. We absolutely LOVED the place.
Impudent Oyster - Outstanding food, off-putting waitress. I asked about a cocktail menu and our waitress looked at me a little funny and said they didn't have one but that they'd make anything we wanted. My partner wanted something with gin and asked for recommendations but the waitress manifested impatience. "A French 75, perhaps?" I said to which the waitress said "Where are you from?" in a manner that suggested we were acting like Manhattan bankers or something, a real put-down attitude-wise. Whatever. The food (we both ordered seafood, my partner a local cod dish and me a spicy pasta dish with pancetta, peas, scallops and shrimp) was interesting and delicious (not to mention bountiful).
Chatham Fish Pier - Fried seafood on the waterfront, take-out, we had a Fisherman's Platter, a huge portion of fried scallops, shrimp, clams (bellies & just strips) and haddock, all super fresh and perfectly cooked. Enough for two people! The only drawback was how long it took - a good 20 minutes of standing around the parking lot waiting for our name to be called to the take out window. But once we got it, we enjoyed it thoroughly. A good, easy lunch option.
ABBA - we decided to go a little further afield and traveled to Orleans to eat at ABBA. What a disappointment! We had early reservations (6:00) and arrived on time to a reasonably empty restaurant, a freezing one at that. I don't know what put me off immediately, but I felt, as soon as I entered the door, like the place was all about pretension and sheen and attitude. It felt like Miami Vice in restaurant form. Because our waiter had no other tables at that point, he hovered over us, at times awkwardly. I'm not kidding when I say that not a minute went by without him circling around and seeing if we wanted anything or needed anything or were ready to order something more. How annoying! If we'd been on a romantic date, this would have been a nightmare.
The thought of eating an entire dinner there gave me the creeps so we ended up just ordering two drinks and appetizers. When we then asked the waiter (on his 33rd visit to the table in 15 minutes) for our check, he turned instantly passive aggressive and did not say one more word to us. Not one. He cleared the table in petulant silence, returned with the check which he placed on the table in silence, then came around and got it in silence - weird!
My final carp about the place - the chairs were those wicker seat chairs with high straight wooden backs , the kind that do not let you sit in any other position but straight up. Exceedingly uncomfortable and, for a restaurant obviously aspiring to the upper echelon of dining establishments, oddly lowbrow. A classic WTF touch.
Needless to say, we won't be heading back to ABBA anytime soon.
15 Chatham Bars Ave, Chatham, MA 02633
Thanks for the complimentos. We stayed at the Chatham Guest Houses: http://www.chathamguestrooms.com/
I don't know whether it was ABBA or me but it just felt off as soon as we stepped in the door. The waiter was definitely annoying (that wasn't just me). I will say, though, that the seared foie gras appetizer we had was excellent, as was the bluefish pate.