Monday, May 21, 2012
Matunuck Oyster Bar-A Gastronomical Swoon Fest
In the wild and crazy crowd I run with, no nursery crawl would ever be complete without a stop for food. And we love food! Oh do we love food! We adore food! We literally swoon over fresh, creative, well prepared food; food that is accompanied by a glass of wine, lively conversation and good friends. The food doesn't have to be served in a restaurant-we've swooned over many a home made meal. But when a restaurant is added to the mix, it's got to have atmosphere to qualify the experience as a true swoon fest.
A couple of years ago, we discovered the Matunuck Oyster Bar. Located on the road to East Matunuck State Beach, it's a convenient fifteen minute drive from Farmer's Daughter making it a perfect choice for post plant purchasing sustenance. On the outside, it appears to be a casual beach shack where one might stop for a fried seafood platter or a lobster roll.
The restaurant building is relatively small and comfortable. The only time I choose to eat inside is when the outdoor patio isn't open. Overlooking the pond where the restaurant owners farm their own oysters, the patio dining area sports plexiglass wind panels. Propane heaters stand at the ready as a defense against chilly weather. I'm partial to outdoor dining so in my opinion the patio is the place to be. Since MOB doesn't take reservations and tends to fill up fast we usually try to get there for lunch right when it opens. On Saturday we were ten minutes early (not too eager are we?) and were seated promptly at a primo table next to the water.
One gander at the menu and you can see why I don't opt for the fried clams (although I'm certain if you did they would probably rank right up there with the best you've ever had). Everything, and I mean everything listed on the menu is fresh. All of the produce is locally grown. The wine list is surprisingly extensive and many selections can be ordered by the glass.
At fabulous restaurants like this, I toss moderation to the wind and indulge in every course. The beet and goat cheese salad is garnished with candied walnuts and dressed with an orange-rice wine vinaigrette. Calamari is fried to perfection with peppers and capers, tossed with arugula and drizzled with a citrus aioli. One order of the calamari, in addition to two other appetizers and a couple of salads provided plenty to share for my party of five hearty eaters.
For the main event I chose the scallop special-large, juicy sea scallops baked in butter and white wine with roasted butternut squash, shallots and crispy bacon. Swooning! Sides dishes were roasted fresh veggies and potato wedges. Simple but perfect and plenty for even the most voracious appetite.
Judging by the choices, it was a scallop kind of day. One of my friends always gets the baked stuffed lobster, generously stuffed with scallops and shrimp. She claims it's to die for-a slight exaggeration perhaps but you get the idea. On the next trip it will be my top pick.
Make sure to save room for dessert. Rumor has it the owner's mother makes all the selections fresh daily. I went with the chocolate bread pudding served with coffee gelato and whipped cream. As you might have guessed, one bite into it and I was swooning!
Matunuck Oyster Bar is surprisingly not for everybody. A quick check of the restaurant review site YELP was overwhelmingly positive but did yield a few negative reviews-mostly by people complaining about the wait or the mandatory free valet parking. A few were grumbling about the prices. Perhaps the clam shack appearance leads some to believe that the food is cheap eats. It's not. I would classify it as casual fine dining and feel it is reasonably priced for the experience.