Cooke’s Seafood – Cape Cod, MA (Mashpee Location)
Fresh seafood is one of my weaknesses. With this being in mind I traversed over to Cooke’s Seafood (CS) as they have won Best Seafood Award from Cape Cod Life magazine every year since 1993. With a twenty year stretch of winning the big one, expectations were high.
The ordering system of CS is that you order everything you will eat immediately upon entering. This puts you on your toes, especially since the menu overtook not only every inch of space above the cashiers, but also three mock menus hand written on paper hanging on the wall across from the cashiers. Your head is spinning back and forth trying to figure out the perfect combination for a meal.
I ordered the Clam Chowder, Quahog Clam, and Baked Stuffed Scallops & Scrod topped with their special crabmeat stuffing and a side of steamed veggies. You are given a number and then your meal is walked out to you on all paper products and plastic silverware. Everything is self serve from the napkins to the ketchup.
My chowder arrived and was thick as molasses, missed any flavor profile, and was very light on clam pieces.
The Quahog Clam picked it up a notch, as the seasoning was nice, had some decent sized pieces of clam throughout, moist in every bite while having a nice crisp on the top, and something I would recommend.
Unfortunately CS came stumbling back to point zero when the Baked Stuffed Scallops & Scrod arrived. I will start out by saying the veggies were steamed nicely with a dash of seasoning making them quite nice. Enough of the niceties, now to the bad. First they served the dreaded breaded french fry. It boggles my mind why any restaurant would bring them self down to the lowest denominator buying these things when fresh cut fries are so easy and cheap to make. Then they said it would be topped with a crab-meat stuffing. I did not bring a microscope, so sadly I was not able to see or taste any crab on top of my meal, but it was plentiful in the crumby and plain tasting department. Looking to let them slide on the topping, I dug into the dish searching for a scallop to enjoy trying for a fresh start. I dug, and I dug, and I searched and I searched to no luck at all. I swallowed my pride and did something I NEVER do, I approached the cashier to inquire about the dish. The young lady behind the register looked over my order and said indeed I did order the Baked Stuffed Scallops & Scrod and asked if she could look at my dish. After she dug through it could not find a scallop either, she called over to the manger and stated she could not find a scallop either. The manager who was only standing on the other side of the room and not working in any manner yelled over “I am busy, I know we put scallops in that thing, they have to be at the bottom.” I in turn, scooped the entire thing upside down and indeed did find ONE tiny scallop in the dish. I yelled over my finding as did the cashier and the manager still refused to even walk over and just yelled across the room “You are going to have to keep searching, there should be more than one.” The cashier responded saying there was only one, to his reply, “I know there is more than that, I don’t have time to deal with this, we throw them on the botton of the dish.” At this point I did not want to make any more of a scene, picked up my dish and stated it should be called ONE baby Scallop & baked Scrod. I tried to make the best of a bad situation, but nothing could be done. The Scrod was so dry and tasteless it could have been used as the crumb topping of the dish instead and could have possibly been better than what they put on top. I have never in my life thought I could be a vegetarian, but I would have been better suited to be such during this meal as the vegetables were the only highlight.
I have never read Cape Code Life, nor did I see one of their magazines anywhere during my stay in Cape Cod. I do not know how their chose their award recipients, but they may want to take a closer look at who is getting them. It is an extreme rarity for me to complain to someone about a meal, and to be treated the way I was is a complete disgrace and whoever owns CS should be embarrassed.
CS should be thankful for how tasty their Quahog and steamed veggies were, otherwise this could have been my first review in the negative category.