Clam-tastic on the Cape
Come summer, there’s only one thing I look forward to more than sunning my vitamin D-deprived skin on a Cape Cod beach, and that’s lobster. Oh, and clams, and corn, and chowder, and watermelon… In other words, all the fixin’s of a down-home clambake. So I was more than a little excited to head down to Dennis this weekend for a friend’s 30th birthday fete, where just such a seafood feast awaited.
Of course, the Cape and islands play host to dozens of clambakes every year; the ones at Chatham Bars Inn and Ocean Edge Resort in Brewster are annual traditions. Many are big productions, where a staff goes through all the rituals of digging a pit, laying the coals, layering all the uncooked edibles with seaweed, and allowing the whole mess to steam on the beach. For better or worse—and I’m thinking way, way better—we did things the easy (lazy?) way, and ordered in.
Kudos to Chapin’s Restaurant in Dennis, whose rave reviews from neighbors won them the job. As we lay poolside sipping margaritas, Executive Chef Kevin Violet set out a feast: silver trays of steaming red lobsters, littlenecks with broth, corn on the cob, redskin potatoes, crispy-sweet cornbread, at least a half-gallon of clarified butter, and a giant crock of the lightest yet richest clam chowder that’s ever crossed my lips. (Forgive the hyperbole, but it was that good.)
Even better, the Chapin’s staff dropped off everything from oyster crackers to crab crackers (for extracting the sweet claw meat) and plastic bibs for all, then returned two hours later to clean up our clammy, lobstery mess.
Of course, I’m still looking forward to my first true clambake—any recommendations?—but for a no-fuss get-together like this, it’s darn nice to call for delivery. And if I ever want to host a bake downtown, I hear Legal Sea Foods sells DIY kits, which come with seaweed and all… Leaving me more time to kick back and soak up some vitamin D.
Image of Chapin’s Restaurant from their website