The Fourth of July weekend on Cape Cod offers a multitude of dining options, everything from red, white, and blue tablecloths to corn on the cob and a variety of people’s favorite summer indulgences. And crowds. Not to mention heat, perhaps a dash of humidity and at least one family meltdown. Our Fourth of July weekend visit with our friends was a delightful departure from the ordinary as we entered the extraordinary world at The Regatta of Cotuit.
Chef Weldon Fizell’s restaurant is an impressive representation of his years of experience and unyielding insistence on perfection. As we entered the 222-year-old sea captain’s home, the air conditioning cooled us. A young, yet sophisticated hostess ushered our party of four into what used to be the sea captain’s keeping room.
Immediately, Eduardo, our server, greeted us with an intriguing accent that conjured up images of far away ports. He took our orders for libations to soothe our parched souls. My wife ordered her favorite cocktail, a Richmond Gimlet, admittedly an obscure choice coincidentally created in our home town of Eugene, Oregon; yet the competent staff made quick work of researching and producing a perfect rendition of this combination of a martini and a mojito.
Impressively, the house red was a cabernet from the outstanding Dry Creek vineyard. Our guest was also very happy that his request for a vodka Gibson resulted in exactly that, and not a Gimlet as is often the error, even in the finest of restaurants. Our appetizers were delivered and our culinary journey began.
The lobster ravioli was definitely a standout. A single ravioli fashioned from hand-rolled tender pasta that hugged a buttery lobster and scallop combination was held together by just the right amount of herbed cheese, then nestled in a silky buerre blanc, garnished with tangerine sections, micro greens and tender asparagus. The clam chowder was perfect, a touch of smoky bacon and of silky consistency instead of the gluey version so often found in New England.
The Baked Cotuit Oysters were prepared in the traditional Rockefeller style with bacon, spinach, and just the right amount of Pernod. The Regatta makes the dish their own way by garnishing with a nest of fried shallots. The lobster bruschetta was stacked with sweet chunks of lobster and a subtle but complex sauce of lobster reduction, vermouth, and perhaps a bit of sweet paprika.
As we moved into our entreés, the kitchen continued to impress. The pan seared scallops were plump with a caramelized crust and served with an angel hair flan; a creation hard to imagine but that transformed angel hair pasta into a melt-in-your-mouth savory custard. The herb infused buerre blanc was the perfect addition to a perfect dish. The Carpet-bagger filet mignon was topped with a fried Cotuit Oyster and served with wilted spinach, fingerling potatoes and a delicious demi-glace with hints of rosemary.
The lamb was a unique porterhouse cut, a welcome choice over the traditional chops usually found on good menus. Weldon served the perfectly prepared meat with fingerling potatoes that absorbed the delicious rosemary infused reduction that completed the dish.
Pastry chef Jody Hodge who creates all of the delicacies at The Regatta sent her best weapons of seduction to our table for sampling. The homemade caramel ice cream was incredible in its simplicity. And chocolate lovers will find their dream dessert on the menu at The Regatta, from the signature chocolate bombe that holds a surprise crème brulee, inside to the chocolate phyllo cups and handmade chocolate-dipped miniature cannolis.
Finally and sadly our night came to and end, Eduardo bid us farewell, and we returned to the hot crowded night of our Fourth of July vacation.
–– Christopher Bechler