I have to admit, my expectations weren’t high. As much as I trust my in-laws on restaurant advice, I felt like if I hadn’t yet discovered this landmark, which, according to their website has been around since pre-Revolutionary War days, it couldn’t possibly be anything to write home about. I was wrong. Set in a sprawling historic inn, the restaurant’s many smaller dining rooms feel cozy despite the 200 seats actually there. With wood paneled walls and a roaring fireplace, the tavern was our pick on the cold winter night we dined. Our waitress was friendly and helpful, yet unobtrusive and the menu was extensive, yet not overwhelming, allowing us to select from tavern or dining room fare. Also unexpected was an impressive wine list which has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for seven years running and offers more than 18 wines by the glass and 115 from the wine cellar.
To start, we enjoyed carpaccio of beef with shaved Asiago and capers. While not the best we’ve ever had, it was certainly tasty and about what we expected from a casual, traditional eatery. For our entrees, I decided on honey mustard glazed salmon with cucumber, caper, and mango compote. I asked for the salmon cooked rare, as is my preference, and the chef delivered (often, I find this request gets overlooked). James opted for a braised short rib beef stew which was served piping hot and was out of this world – he went so far as to claim that it was the most tender beef he had ever had. For James, this was a bold statement. While we were too full for a third course, the dessert menu was tempting as was the three course $19.95 prix fixe menu offered in the winter at lunch daily, all night Sunday through Thursday, and 4:30-6:00pm on Friday and Saturday.
While a bit of a drive from the inn (30 minutes without traffic), we didn’t hesitate to add it to our recommendations list – especially since it is open 364 days a year and exuded a Cape Cod ambiance unrivaled by many other local spots.