A jaunt out to the New England coastline means hearing water crashing against the sand, dipping toes in the great Atlantic and eating delicious authentic seafood! Oh, my goodness! People, I have seriously been craving some fried clams! Hmmm ~ I wonder where we could find some. How about Fathoms Bar & Grille?
Our family of five had decided to make its way over to Cape Cod for a little end of the summer getaway before the school year started again for our three boys. We chose to stay just off the Cape the night before to save a little on our expenses and allow ourselves the opportunity to begin our exploring early. By the time we reached our final destination for that day, we had three famished monsters ~ but it was just mid afternoon! We decided on an early dinner, but we knew we wanted to eat local. No chain restaurants for our crew this trip. Once in our room, we spent a little time doing some research on local eateries and even asked the front desk clerk at the hotel what he would recommend. He was a HUGE help when it came to narrowing down our prospects! Thanks, Nate!
Fathoms Bar & Grille flew to the top of the list quickly. It’s situated on Popes Island in New Bedford, Massachusetts, right on Route 6 at the corner of a bridge that turns once an hour to let the boats and ships pass through (that was fun to watch). Hubby had called ahead to check on the kitchen’s ability to manage severe food allergies (eggs, peanuts and tree nuts) and the manager, Mike, said he would speak directly with his staff to see what they could do for our little guy. Looks like we were off to a good start!
Upon our arrival, the hostess let Mike know we were being seated. We chose to sit on the deck so that we could see boats, smell coastal air and just enjoy the beautiful late summer afternoon. Within minutes, we met our server, Aubrey, a young mother of a little guy herself. She was extremely cordial and very understanding as we told her we were waiting on Mike to discuss safe food options for our son.
Mike arrived at the table, full on Boston accent and all, and shared how their kitchen works when it comes to preparing foods for those dealing with food allergies. We reviewed a few options on the menu and came up with a few items to verify were safe. While he took care of that, the rest of us perused the menu for what we were going to eat. The offerings included quite an array of seafood fare, but also had your chicken and steak entrees for those not too keen on eating fish. For the less adventurous, they even have soups, salads and a variety of pizza options!
Upon Mike’s return, he brought with him at least one ingredient list and more information regarding the safety of our son’s other choice. After careful review and discussion with our youngest, it looked like we were going to have one happy little boy at our table as he was going to be getting EXACTLY what he wanted to order. I’d say they were scoring some points here!
The weather was literally perfect! Not too hot, just enough breeze. Nothing was blowing away and we weren’t sweating profusely. The ambiance was casual and it wasn’t too crowded at that point of the day. Later that evening, they would host crowds as Thursdays and Fridays are their nights to feature live entertainment. (NOTE: When we passed by later that evening, the parking lot was packed!)
While we waited for our entrees, I enjoyed a small cup of lobster bisque, while the boys gulped down some lemonade (I lost count of the number of refills they had). This bisque was amazing ~ packed with lobster meat and full of flavor, but not overpowering. It had a perfect consistency and is something I would order again in a heartbeat – only in a bowl and not a cup!
Our main courses arrived in good timing, our youngest’s meal being delivered personally and separately by the manager himself (always a safe thing to have done when eating out). Our little guy had ordered a medium well done burger and a side of mashed red potatoes (the fries were cooked in the same vat as chicken tenders ~ potential egg contaminant). The burger was shaped and cooked to perfection and the mashed potatoes were generously piled up on their own little plate. It was also a relief to find a restaurant whose hamburger buns did not contain egg! We had a very happy ten year old.
Everyone else’s plate was filled with East Coast goodness! Everything looked appetizing! From lobster mac and cheese to the seafood platter, fish ‘n chips and a nice full plate of fried clams – we were satisfying our seafood itch all in one night!
Our middle son enjoyed his lobster mac and cheese – a first for him as he was taking quite a chance having never eaten lobster before. It had been a toss up for him between this dish and shrimp scampi…but I think cheese will win out every time with him. His final review was that it was filling (which is an accomplishment for this bottomless pit!), creamy and he loved the panko bread crumb topping. There was certainly a generous portion of lobster in the mix, as well. Final thoughts, he doesn’t think he would be a fan of lobster on its own, but did appreciate its flavor in this particular dish. Thumbs up!
The oldest ordered the seafood platter, wanting to avoid anything this meal that didn’t come from the sea. His plate consisted of sea scallops, fresh scrod, native frying clams and calamari. This was a first for him, as well – calamari? What was he thinking? Well – he was thinking he wanted to be adventurous…and he was rather glad he took the leap! He actually enjoyed the calamari, as well as the scallops and scrod. It was the whole bellied clams he could have done without. They were just a little too chewy for him. I think his favorite portion was the scrod, nice and flaky and cooked all the way through. Another satisfied tummy!
Fried clams – now that’s where I was a happy camper. I had been craving fried clams since before we left our cozy home to venture East. I ordered a full plate, which was accompanied by a side of fries and cole slaw. The slaw was not a favorite for me, but it’s not a favorite of mine in general. I had simply forgotten to ask if I could substitute sides. It all worked out, though. Hubby took care of whatever I left on my plate. The clams were lightly breaded and not very heavy at all! As I noted above, they were whole belly clams, which is what I really think was unsettling to our oldest, but I enjoyed them very much. Yum!
Hubby knew he was going to be enjoying some of my fried clams (I don’t have a huge appetite), but he ordered a plate of beer-battered English Fish ‘n Chips to make sure he had enough to curb his manly appetite. He says it hit the spot, nice light flavor, crispy and exactly what he needed that night, coupled with a nice cold glass of dark Guinness.
In between bites, our server, Aubrey did a great job checking in on us and keeping us hydrated. We engaged in some great conversation about blogging, parenting, food allergies and more. She was real and attentive – that meant the world to me as a mom and as a customer.
Okay – so the food was great and the service stellar. The best part of the meal,though? Our son was able to eat something he wanted without experiencing any kind of obstacle or reaction. The kitchen staff did a great job avoiding cross contamination (note – there are almonds and pistachios used in this facility, so please beware if you have an airborne component to your allergies) and they took the time to listen to our concerns and requests. Mike even took a few opportunities to check in and make sure that things were going well.
Craving satisfied!!! In fact, we were too full to check out the dessert menu (which looks delish!) If you ever find yourself in the New Bedford, Massachusetts, area and have a hankering for some really good seafood and tremendous service, make your way over to Fathoms Bar & Grille. Tell Mike we said hi and ask for Aubrey as your server! We hope we find opportunity to get back there some day!
See the Fathoms’ sign? The first picture embedded in the post…yeah, that one! See the flags? Those are part of the nautical alphabet. Each flag represents the letter above it to spell out the name of the restaurant.
Fathoms Bar & Grille Info:
The above is our family’s experience at this fantastic restaurant. We received no compensation for our review. The above is all based upon our own honest to goodness opinions. Enjoy!