Friday, May 04, 2012

Know Your Appetite? Head for Van Rensselaer’s

Last year so many guests reported fine meals at Van Rensselaer’s that I decided it was about time Sven and I ate there. I noted the handicapped ramp as we entered the Route 6 restaurant, opposite the traffic light at Marconi. Owner Peter Hall greeted us at the door, then showed us to our table. The restaurant can accommodate 150 people and is always full in season. We were seated in a side dinning room where it was quiet, perhaps due to the soundproofing in the ceiling? Since we struggle to hear each other in many local eateries, this feature felt especially welcome. “We can actually talk!” Sven exclaimed.

Gretchen, our waitress, was extremely gracious in assisting with the menu, which offered a number of options, including three vegetarian entrées. I chose the tofu stir-fry, after salivating over the lobster ravioli, one of my favorites. Sven chose crusted salmon with fresh spinach and sweet potatoes. Gretchen said one of the most popular dishes is the Seafood Linguine, but some guests rave about the Baked Stuffed Lobster. Since we were ordering an entrée, the salad bar was available for an additional $4.95. (Vegetarians can also choose salad bar for $9.95 as a main course or soup/chowder, plus unlimited salad bar trips, for $13.50. I was very impressed by the freshness and variety, which included massaged kale, dressed with tahini-miso.)

Many of the entrées came in two different sizes, one a few dollars more than the other, a clever idea that no other restaurant owner in town has duplicated, unfortunately. It’s a feature that guarantees food is not wasted and makes doggy bags unnecessary.

For dessert, Sven had crème brulée. I went for the homemade bread pudding. We chose the “bistro” portions again. I felt like Goldilocks, with my mini-portion, smaller but just right.

Van Rensselaer’s has been in Peter’s family for forty years. He and wife Diane took over in 1980. We were able to admire a portrait of ancestor Luther Hall, a sea captain in Dennis, on the wall. I applaud the fact that the couple recently obtained Level-One Green Certification. (Kudos, Peter & Diane!)

We signed up for a fidelity card, which provides an instant discount and the possibility of amassing points towards prizes.

“I wouldn’t mind going here again,” Sven said as we left.

He’s right. Great food, great ambiance, speedy service.

Don’t wait as long as we did to discover Van Rensselaer’s.