Brewster Fish House
Entering the Brewster Fish House, I meet a friendly couple from New York’s Finger Lakes region—they’ve been dining at this Cape restaurant consistently for many years. They remember when it was a thriving fish market in the 1970s and early 80s, and the transformation from casual eatery to the elegant-yet-unpretentious destination it is now. Owners Vernon and Melissa Smith warmly greet diners, many of whom seem like old friends.
A friendly server seats us and captivates us with descriptions of tantalizing entrées. Carefully considering our options, I notice gorgeous plates being served all around us. Striped sea bass. Atlantic salmon. Lobster bisque. Brewster oysters. Crispy calamari. Poached lobster. And then a decadent dessert elegantly presented with a single candle to a birthday celebrant. While sipping impeccable Krug sauvignon blanc, we make our selections.
Fresh, warm-from-the-oven bread is served with rich creamy butter. Then our appetizers delight us. My Jonah Crab Salad ($15) is art on a plate; a delicate balance of ginger, curry and jalapeno make the crab sing on a medallion of avocado. My guest comments on his Tuna Tartare’s ($14) attractive presentation and sweet, tender texture.
As there is always a beef and a poultry selection on the menu with seasonal accompaniments, my guest decides on the Strip Steak ($30). Served with blue cheese fingerling salad, roasted funghi and Cippolini onion, it is almost too lovely to eat. The demi-glace sauce is the perfect finishing touch. He beams and says, “That’s the best steak I’ve ever had on Cape Cod.”
My Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops ($27) are cooked to perfection, and at first taste the scallops have a wonderful texture and a hint of exotic spice. The petite fingerling chips add an unexpected contrast to the tastes and textures of the English peas and sea beans. Executive Chef Shareef Badawy’s creations are artistic and delicious.
The restaurant is full to capacity. Outside people wait and relax on comfortable cushioned benches, enjoying a manicured perennial garden. Inside the soothing palette of neutrals accentuates fine art by local artists including Ken Parsons, and Geoff Smith (Vernon’s brother) of nearby Aries East Gallery. Framed black-and-white photos and a tasteful Stony Acres Farm sign pay homage to the building’s original life in the 1950s. The farm owner’s son and grandsons–– frequent guests to the restaurant—gave them to the Smiths to commemorate the locale’s rich history.
Voted Best Seafood Restaurant by Cape Cod Life readers for 12 years, Brewster Fish House has also been honored by Boston Magazine as Best Restaurant on Cape Cod two years in a row. Zagat proclaims “ …this unassuming cottage garners raves for its outstanding contemporary menu.” I sip my wine and revel in the ambiance, hearing soft jazz, and enjoying candle-lit conversation with my guest.
Dessert brings added delights. My guest’s whoopie pie ($10) is a generous portion of silken chocolate cake and divine cream, accented by chocolate sauce and impossibly-creamy chocolate nut ice cream. My crème brûlée ($9) is a triumph of cream and citrus, perfectly balanced with a caramel crunch, and worth every calorie.
Throughout the evening, waitstaff are very attentive, catering to diner’s every need. I noticed a server even capped an unfinished bottle of Perrier for diners at the next table. “The waitress is above and beyond,” a New Yorker at the next table says with a smile. We agree.
Brewster Fish House may have a simple name, but in a word, it is sublime.
- Posted in Food