While still in the land of early bird specials (and the week of both my parent's birthdays), we decided to try the deal at the Old Yarmouth Inn: Between 4:30-6:30 you can order three courses off their prix fixe menu daily for just $19.95.
The Inn, established in 1696, is the oldest on Cape Cod. The proprietors play up this heritage, seating guests in colonial dark wooden chairs and wall papering the room in a toile fabric patterned with an idyllic scene of children playing. Even the wooden molding, with it's square "dental" pattern, seems straight out of another era. The ceilings are a bit low (remember, people were shorter back then!) but, with two of the walls composed entirely of windows, the light and airy space never feels claustrophobic. One final welcoming touch is a pretty vase filled with fresh flowers on the table.
Having been out exploring Cape Cod all day, we were thrilled when the bread arrived. It was light and airy with a substantial crust. The sweet butter which accompanied it made for a simple and delightful mouthful, we were ready for our meal!
Not being a big fan of mixed green salads (how boring!) I chose to pay the $2.25 up charge for the Caesar salad. Now, normally I love the rich, creamy tang of the dressing, but this dish was completely overpowered by the anchovies in the dressing. I know there are purists out there who will claim that the anchovy taste should be present in a true Caesar, but I believe it should simply be part of the underlying depth of flavor, not the first thing that assaults your taste buds. The salad was very cheesy, but it seemed the sort of shredded Parmesan that you might buy at your local supermarket, not the delicate flakes I have come to expect. While the croutons were buttery and delicious, this salad certainly left a lot to be desired.
For my main course, I opted for the braised, boneless Short Ribs in a Hoisin and Beer Sauce. The meat itself was served steaming hot and fork tender, but it didn't have much flavor. The sauce was flavorful and rich, but I think they put in a little too much cornstarch as the texture felt artificially gelatinous. The carrots were way overcooked, completely falling apart. That's the sort of side I would expect at a cafeteria. The only redeeming items on the plate were the crispy snap peas and the creamy mashed potatoes. While it wasn't a bad dish, it certainly isn't one I will order again.
The final disappointment came with dessert. I selected the Lemon Cream Cake garnished with Raspberry Coulis. Dear reader, I kid you not when I say I have had better desserts from a supermarket bakery (which is where I suspect this came from). The cake was cloyingly sweet, yet still managed to have a slight bitterness. The best thing on the plate was the fresh strawberry. This restaurant is in desperate need of an on site pastry chef!
Overall, the Old Yarmouth Inn is clearly stuck in the past, but more an embarrassing 1980s big shoulder padded, neon colored, poofy haired sort of past. This place is in desperate need of a culinary makeover! It is a beautiful space with ample potential, however the food leaves a lot to be desired. I give this one belt notch.
Old Yarmouth Inn serves their three course special Daily from 4:30-6:30.
223 Route 6A
Yarmouth Port, MA 02675