Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Dinner at The Regatta

Just got back from having dinner with Tobin and the Contessa di Pomidori at The Regatta of Cotuit. This blog is not (typically) a location where I will review things; films, restaurants, etc., but today I will. We went to the Regatta because it is a beautiful old house in one of the most lovely villages on the Cape. The restaurant also has the reputation of very fine dining and service.

At this point I must, in the interest of full disclosure, say that I used to manage The Regatta (for 3 months) six years ago. At that time the food was delicious, the service top notch. For reasons that I will not go into here I left The Regatta just before the 4th of July holiday. I had had enough of the owner and wanted out.

We also wanted to see Tobin's husband Bob who waits table there. We got there at 5pm for our reservation and were whisked upstairs to a very small dining room with four 4-tops in it, two of which were occupied with a "deuce" and a three. The room was very tired looking with fake Christmas decor all over the place. All of the plastic wreaths had cords dangling from them and not plugged into outlets. There was no special care taken at the tables for the holidays, just the same old shit they have always had since day one. We were told that we would not be having Bob wait on us as we had asked. The other two tables in the room were at the dessert stage of their meals.

We ordered a bottle of wine (a Chassagne Montrachet) which was very nice. Both Tobin and I had decided on the turkey dinner (at $21) while the Contessa ordered the lamb rack (at $36). I ordered Lobster and Corn Chowder for a starter and the "girls" ordered Oysters with a panko crust and some sort of purple chutney.

Let's start here:

The soup was not hot and the crouton that was standing at attention in the bowl tasted as though it was made days ago. It seemed stale and not very appetizing. The boys reported that the oysters had so much coating on them that you could barely taste the oysters and they were not hot. Rolls and flatbread were brought in as well and 1 very small piped rosette of whipped butter which the Contessa remarked was one serving of butter whipped enough to serve it all around the room. The flat breads were tasty and crisp (they are made in-house) and had a wonderful taste of rosemary to them. The miniature corn muffins were as tasteless as the whipped butter was.

Dinner was brought along shortly thereafter. The waiter did not remember who ordered what entree (I wish they would just write it down... who gives a shit about the little pads if they can't remember the orders) was ordered and by whom. Tobin had asked if the yams could be left off of the plate as he doesn't care for root vegetables and that was accomplished. The turkey dinner was supposed to be butter basted fresh turkey with cranberry-cherry compote, yams, sweet sausage stuffing, chive mashed potatoes, haricots vertes, and caramelized onions with a madeira scented gravy. Everything was cold! Let me clarify... it wasn't cold cold, but it wasn't hot. Now being a professional chef in a former life, I am used to eating food that is not hot, but this was ridiculous. The stuffing seemed to be missing any sausage flavor, the turkey seemed not to have been browned as the small amount of skin on the slices of meat was beige. The flavors of the sauce and the onions were very nice, but again... not hot. The mashed potatoes were forgettable too. And there was no cranberry compote on either of our plates. Sal said that the rack was very tasty but nothing special and it too was not hot. Dessert (cold chocolate bourbon pecan tart) was nothing to speak of at all. We asked for our check and split as soon as we could.

For an expensive dinner at a (supposedly) chi-chi restaurant, it was a complete bomb! Not only was the food and the service not good, but by the time we were finished with our dinner our dining room was empty save for us and the rest of the upstairs dining rooms were too. The least they could have done was to put us downstairs where there was some activity and not mausoleum-like stillness. Ugh... I'd have to give the whole experience a 2 out of ten. I cannot recommend this restaurant to anyone, for any reason. Oh.. and one note for the Chef... use some goddamn salt for Christ's sake. It isn't going to kill anyone!

I recently ran into someone to whom I was saying that I was looking forward to dinner at the Regatta and she called it "The Regretta". Now I know why!

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