The elegant Stars Restaurant is where head Chef Chris Jenkins and executive Chef Anthony Cole combine their seasonal culinary experience bringing a refined take on classic Cape Cod summer fare, utilizing the Inn's proprietary farm in Brewster, fresh local seafood from Chatham Harbor and blending those flavors into a fine dining experience for both visitors and locals year round.
My husband was unavailable so I asked the publisher of Cape Cod Today to dine with me the other evening.
The chandelier-lit dining room was elegant and the views breathtaking. Light jazz filled the room. We were seated directly in front of a huge bay window overlooking the beautiful landscaping and Chatham Harbor facing east across the street.
While studying the menu I ordered a refreshing Blueberry Gimlet ($14) mixed with Coldriver blueberry vodka, lime with a touch of sugar. Bob chose the Harbor Watch ($8) from the non-alcoholic selection consisting of pear, ginger, Q ginger with a sprinkle of fresh floating colorful marigolds. He said it was "like a taste of springtime". The two drinks together looked like a beautiful, colorful painting. In addition to the cocktail menu there's an interesting wine selection of fine European labels.
Our server, Pete, delivered a basket of house baked bread with delicious soft butter. The options included Anadama bread, some flat crispy slivers with sea salt and garlic, and multigrain rolls. I hardly ever eat bread before dinner, however, after one bite the basket was empty.
For starters I had the Musk Melon Gazpacho($18) This chilled gazpacho had pieces of grilled cucumber, pickled onion with edible summer blossoms making the accompanying diced vegetables attractive. The ruddy, brick-red, refreshingly acidic soup was perfect for this warm evening. Bob had a craving for clam chowder, however, he didn't see it on the menu. Our server said "no problem" and brought out a a rich, creamy steaming bowl of chowder that is usually served in their tavern. The chowder here is medium-thick, with bite-sized pieces of tender, briny clams. Not to be missed!
To clear our palates, we both enjoyed the lightly dressed Chatham Bars Inn Farm Salad ($16). Knowing that the greens were harvested from their local farm in Brewster that day we couldn't resist. The generous portions of a perfectly super fresh blend of greens was enjoyable enough to have for an entree. We discovered something different in every bite and remarked on the freshness of this locally farm grown salad
We finally were ready for the main entree. I was torn among ordering many different entrees. Usually I always have fish, however, being Irish I had a craving for lamb. I chose the Salt Meadow Lamb ($51), cooked medium rare and had a choice to leave some fat or have it removed. I chose the latter. It was served with white turnip, mint and a sprinkle of garum to enhance the flavor.
Salt marsh lamb is a delicacy in Canada. The sheep graze on salt marsh plants and are raised in the coastal marshes. The meat is far from tasting salty but is light, sweet and flavorful. I never had better.
My dining companion ordered the locally caught Pan Seared Sea Bass ($35). It was an attractive dish surrounded with summer squash, garden caponata and bush basil. He said this piece of fish was so fresh, moist and perfectly seasoned that it literally melted in his mouth.
After dinner we noticed a dessert trolley circling the dining room with a large selection of delicately crafted desserts, most of them pretty constructed pastries. We couldn't resist. They were all made in-house by Pastry Chef Caitlin Follett.
Our server, Pete, was truly outstanding - friendly, courteous, gastric knowledgeable and very professional - making us feel at ease but not overly intrusive.
The freshness of the local Cape fish and farm grown vegetables makes a huge difference in the quality of the food.
We highly recommend this dining experience. nothing was overlooked except the view.
There are four distinctive options for meals. In addition to "Stars", "The Sacred Cod offers cocktails, appetizers and tavern meals. The Beach House is a beachfront dining spot that hosts clambakes and family themed dinners during the season.
We will have to return and try them all.
If You Go
Open year round
Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Chatham Bars Inn
297 Shore Road, Chatham,
(508) 945-0096 www.chathambarsinn.com