[Dennis Port, MA] Ocean House

We’d made a reservation on the basis of their interesting fusiony menu which incorporated East Asian dishes along with more obviously American ones (and, perhaps slightly incongrouosuly, pizza). We hadn’t appreciated that it was quite a smart restaurant – the sort of place where old fogeys won’t look out of place if they insist on wearing a jacket. But also the sort of place where someone wearing smart shorts and a polo also won’t look out of place. We like places with that sort of atmosphere – you always get a quick sense that they are going to do things well. Great location, as well – right on the ocean.

One of us went down the fusion route. Two crisp vegetable spring rolls came accompanied by slightly softened vegetables which had then been given a light pickling. They’d given the treatment to asparagus and batons of carrot and cucumber. There were a couple of dipping sauces – a quite citrussy ponzu one and the other a sweet soy and chilli. This was really good, the accompaniments lifting what would otherwise be bog standard fried spring rolls.

That was followed by Pad Thai which you can order simply with vegetables or with the addition of chicken, shrimp or lobster. That’ll be the shrimp please. We’re not experts on Thai food but this seemed a decent representation of one of the country’s national dishes. There’s noodles, of course. And, interestingly, what I think was watercress, along with mangetout. There’s also crunch from peanuts and a nice citrussy dressing.

Across the table, the order was more rooted in European food traditions. There was burrata to start – nice and creamy – topped with a finely chopped pistachio dressing. There was beetroot, some greens, pickled blackberries and toast. It’s really good.

You can’t come to Cape Cod without one of you ordering cod. You get two good sized fillets, topped with crushed chips (crisps to we Britons). There’s fries (not the best you’d ever come across – a bit soggy), an excellent fennel and cabbage slaw and tartare sauce.

We shared a dessert. The menu described it as “Vietnamese Coffee”. What you got was a glass filled with coffee mousse, topped first with whipped condensed milk, then tapioca pearls and, finally, whipped cream. It was everything we want from a dessert. Interesting, enjoyable flavours, a fun presentation – and not overly sweet. We finished with decent coffee (although not piping hot).

We ate this meal coming to towards the end of nearly three weeks in America. It proved to be the best meal of the whole trip. Not necessarily the best individual dishes, but the best overall enjoyment of both meals.