Sea fare worth sampling
Choose well at this Pelham eatery and your taste buds will reap the rewards.
One can dine very well indeed at Caffe Regatta Oyster Bar & Grill, a small, attractive restaurant set amongst village shops in Pelham. Just stick with what it does best.
With its serene blue walls and minimalist dÃ©cor in a nautical motif, Caffe Regatta has a soothing setting and a fairly small menu built around seafood and steaks.
A long banquette divides the room lengthwise; to the right is the main dining area. To the left, tucked into the back corner, is the raw bar, with neat lines of bluepoint, Malpeque, belon and Wellfleet oysters and cherry stone and littleneck clams. Right next to it is a handsome wooden bar with stools and a couple of televisions, which were quietly showing a professional women’s soccer game when we were there.
Because one side of the banquette seating faces the TVs, you may well find your dining companions falling silent and gazing over your head at any lull in the conversation. And the tables are the right height for the chairs, but uncomfortably high for the banquette seats. So I suggest that you sit at the large, well-proportioned tables against the wall.
For starters, we went with the recommendations of the captain, who served us with grace and panache. The signature salad was interesting: a big pile of arugula over slices of sweet, ripe mango and a half pound of lobster, with a slightly sweet dressing that pulled everything together nicely. The Maryland crab cakes tasted fine but were a bit on the “bready” side. The lobster and shrimp bisque was more a broth than a bisque. Though we didn’t try it, starting with the raw bar is probably the better way to go.
And when it comes to entreÃ©sâ€¦Caffe Regatta shines. The filet of flounder, lightly breaded and pan-fried in butter, was a truly outstanding piece of fish—fresh, light and flaky—cooked to a gorgeous golden brown. A beautiful green chive oil and beurre blanc made a lovely combination on the plate, and it was fun to swirl the little chunks of fish through them. The mashed potatoes on the side were chunky, buttery and nicely seasoned, and the generous portion of broccoli rabe was beautifully cooked and lightly finished with garlic and olive oil.
A thick cut of East Coast halibut, pan-roasted and perched on top of mashed potatoes studded with lobster accompanied by thin stalks of grilled asparagus, slightly charred and sweet, was outstanding.
Other interesting offerings include blackened Hawaiian mahi mahi, served with a sweet potato hash and sautÃ©ed spinach, or herb-crusted Atlantic salmon with wild mushroom and asparagus risotto. Beef lovers can enjoy grilled sirloin, 32-ounce porterhouse or hangar steak, served with vegetables and mashed potatoes.
For dessert, we again went with the captain’s recommendations and tried the Sachertorte filled with white chocolate bavarois—a very pretty, formal dessert that was a tad dried out. Honey-roasted peaches weren’t quite sweet enough to meld nicely with the marscarpone that surrounded them.
Bananas Foster was a modified version of the classic with a big scoop of fabulous vanilla ice cream that was so flavorful, so yielding that I would recommend you pay special attention to the last item on the dessert menu, gelatos and sorbets.
The things that Caffe Regatta does well, it does very well, so I would definitely go back—as long as I followed my own advice.
CAFFE REGATTA OYSTER BAR & GRILL
133 Wolfs Lane, Pelham
Lunch, Tue. to Sat. 11 am-2 pm
Dinner, Tue. to Sat. 5-11 pm, Sun. 4-10 pm
Brunch, Sun. 11 am-3 pm