The Starvin’ Marlin

It’s easy to miss The Starvin’ Marlin. The only indication it’s there is a small sign dangling along Route 6A in Brewster. But don’t be fooled by such modest advertising—this small-town pub packs a powerful punch!

Cape Cod Dining Guide

Owner Steve Marlin and his wife, Cynthia, happened upon the space that would become The Starvin’ Marlin while they were vacationing on the Cape years ago. It’s hard to believe Marlin has only been in business for over a year, especially when you see that the restaurant has already attracted a devoted group of locals as well as tourists back for another visit. The Starvin’ Marlin has succeeded in establishing a true communal pub atmosphere. It’s small enough to feel intimate without being overcrowded. White lights illuminate the dining room, which can seat approximately 75 people with the bar. An outdoor patio offers additional seating in season.

Although the restaurant is relatively new to Marlin—it opened in July 2011—working in a restaurant is not. Marlin, a New York native, worked at several steakhouses in New York City including Peter Luger’s and Ben Benson’s before acquiring The Starvin’ Marlin. This extensive experience in the kitchen lends him the ability to experiment with food, and creativity characterizes every dish at The Starvin’ Marlin, particularly the daily specials. The Lamb Sliders ($12), originally a special, became a fixture on the menu in response to overwhelming customer demand. And as long as it’s not 8 p.m. on a bustling Saturday night, Marlin’s Cape-born chef is willing to cater to customer’s creativity: just recently, The Starvin’ Marlin served up its first cheeseburger club by special request.

Cape Cod Dining Guide

Marlin pleasantly surprised my guest and me with three delicious dishes: a Rack of Barbeque Ribs (1/2 rack: $14 or full rack: $18), a Hearty Bacon Cheeseburger (5 oz.: $6 or 10 oz.: $11), and the Spicy Seafood Stew ($19). His choices did not disappoint. The meat from the ribs literally fell off the bone—no knife necessary. Basted in the chef’s peach barbeque sauce, these savory ribs are finger-licking good! The hearty bacon cheeseburger, served on a grilled English muffin, was cooked to perfection—the meat is ground fresh daily and never touches the freezer—and served with fluffy, golden French fries. And last but not least, the stew brimmed with a generous portion of seafood: shrimp, mussels, scrod, calamari, and clams galore. But be warned: you’ll need a drink to wash this fiery feast down.

The beauty of The Starvin’ Marlin’s menu is its variety. No matter what your preference or who you’re trying to accommodate, there is something for everybody. “It all depends on what type of food you’re in the mood for,” Marlin says. Customers can come in for something quick and light or they can sit down for a full meal. Live Irish music on Tuesday evenings and local rock music on Saturday nights bring the house down.

On any given night, a personable and cheery Marlin greets customers at the door. Marlin says what he enjoys most about owning a restaurant is the people—the staff, the customers, and the family they form. The Marlins have been working hard to become a part of the neighborhood. “We’re just trying to put out a good product and stand by it,” says Marlin, “but we try not to take ourselves too seriously.”

––Hillary Wenzel

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