The Coonamessett Inn
Located on a meticulously landscaped estate whose history extends back more than 200 years, the Coonamessett Inn overlooks tranquil Jones Pond. Edna Harris, the beloved original owner of the Coonamessett Inn, is credited with transforming a weathered house and barn into one of the most esteemed inns on the Cape and islands. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by this quaint establishment, where ﬁne dining and tasteful ambiance work together perfectly.
Friendly valet service greets you at the main entrance and sets the tone the moment you arrive. Inside, gracious staff await you. My guest and I were escorted to our table in the spacious Cahoon dining room, named after famous Cape artist and frequent patron, Ralph Cahoon, whose whimsical paintings adorn the walls. Dim lighting and soft background music set the mood for a relaxing dining atmosphere.
Despite being a ﬁne dining establishment, the staff here are warm, personable, and genuine. Our server, Anthony, was attentive and humorous, and extremely knowledgeable about the menu, which has something for everybody, including an array of appetizers and entreés for seafood lovers. (Coonamessett means “long ﬁsh” in Wampanoag. ) For those less inclined to eat seafood, there are a host of alternatives, including chicken and steak dishes, and sandwiches and salads for lighter fare.
An appetizer of five jumbo shrimp served on ice with cocktail sauce ($7.50) and bruschetta ($11), served on two slices of Artisan bread with juicy tomato slices and stringy mozzarella cheese, whet our appetites. Anthony recommended the chicken saltimbocca as an entrée. The pan-seared chicken ($20) was tender and flavorful and the mashed potatoes were whipped to perfection. My guest, who indulged in a serving of chicken pot pie ($15), also loved her entreé. Her plate brimmed with diced chicken, tossed with fresh carrots and peas served over mashed potatoes and topped with a flaky golden crust.
The difference between the Coonamessett Inn and nearly every other establishment I’ve dined in is the atmosphere—even if only for an hour, all the stresses in life seem to fade away. Enjoying oneself takes precedence. It’s a leisurely atmosphere in which food is meant to be appreciated as an art form, which is precisely how Executive Chef Pieter Cook approaches his craft. Each item on the menu is cooked thoughtfully and thoroughly.
The kitchen’s catering expertise is often cited as a reason for the Coonamessett Inn’s popularity as a wedding destination. The inn plays host to several functions each weekend; a bride, groom, and a room full of their closest friends and family were dancing up a storm in the Cape Cod dining room, which comfortably seats as many as 300 guests. Downstairs, another function hall seats 70 guests for a more intimate gathering.
The Coonamessett Inn has all the splendor of a fine-dining establishment without being ostentatious. The staff values hospitality, the cuisine is fine, and the ambiance is classic Cape Cod.
–– Hillary Wenzel