Get ready for a fresh take on Cape Cod seafood. Acclaimed Boston chef Jody Adams is bringing her award-winning culinary techniques to Chatham this summer.
The James Beard award winner behind locals favorites such as Rialto, TRADE, Porto and Saloniki teams up with Chatham Bars Inn for a summer pop-up experience that kicks off on June 15, and runs through the end of October. Adams hopes the special menu will showcase a fusion of her Mediterranean style with traditional New England flavors and ingredients, sourced locally from the resort's proprietary farm as well as the nearby Chatham fish pier.
"[We're] taking clams, oysters, scallops, fluke and all of the things that come out of the waters right here and giving them a Mediterranean dressing, if you will," she says. "In Italy, south of France and places like that, the ingredients really shine through. The flavor comes from olive oil, citrus, herbs, garlic and a little bit of mustard here and there, some yogurt. But it's not complicated flavors and it's not manipulated in strange ways."
Adams and her Chatham Bars Inn partners want diners to have a more casual experience with the pop-up, which is why they're encouraging guests to "loosen their ties" as they munch on the Mediterranean-meets-New-England-fare. Menu items include hot grilled oysters made with nasturtium-garlic butter and horseradish deviled eggs; scallop crudo accompanied by whipped lemon yogurt, melon cukes and turmeric-ginger honey; and steamed lobster poached in crème fraîche with cured olives and bronze fennel. Non-seafood dishes range from lemon balm roast chicken with basil mashed potatoes and beefsteak tomatoes to a grilled rack of lamb made with mint chutney, Hakurei turnips and various fried herbs.
"We really want people to relax a little bit, bring the feeling of the Mediterranean here," Adams says. "When you're at the beach, you're not in a suit and tie. It doesn't mean that you come into the dining room in flip flops and cut-off jeans, but come in and just sit down, relax and have a really good time. The food is not going to make you stand up and salute. It's going to make you want to sort of fall into it."
The partnership with the upscale, beachside resort came about after Adams worked with Chatham Bars Inn for an event benefiting the nonprofit Future Chefs. The former "Top Chefs Masters" competitor was impressed by the property, as well as executive chef Anthony Cole and his team, so she was eager to partner with the Cape Cod instituion after being approached by their director of food and beverage John Collings.
“It’s an incredible property with a really warm feeling of a place where you really want to be,” Adams says. “The farm is just amazing. Working in a hotel like this that has a farm, that has access to these incredible vegetables, but also the water is right there. You can see the fishing boats come in, so it’s sort of a dream in terms of an environment to be in.”
The celebrated chef, who hails from New England and has spent a lot of time on the Cape in places like Barnstable, is excited to see the evolution of the area's fine dining scene.
"I think it's growing in a really nice, organic way," says Adams. "I'm excited to be a part of that."