Monday, April 18, 2005

The Chateau, Norwood, MA

Sometimes nothing beats an old pair of shoes. Well the same thing applies to a good, trustworthy restaurant where you know you can always go for a nice meal. For me, that place is “The Chateau,” a family owned (Nocera) restaurant. I like the Norwood location personally, as they do have 3 other locations. Saturday I took my other half there for the luncheon specials and for the most part we were not disappointed.

I had the fried clams which were fabulous though are still considered out of season. They had the large sweet clam bellies, my ultimate favorite, and I am a connoisseur of clam bellies. As a matter of fact, short of the Cape and "Cookes" for inland restaurants closer to Boston, they may have the best fried clams around. They are certainly better than “Legals,” the most overrated and overpriced tourist trap in Massachusetts. And they are a million times better than “Kelley's” on Revere Beach, yet another overrated, overpriced, shrinking portioned restaurant that had it's heyday like 30 years ago before clam belly fans discovered that farm raised clams with corn meal bellies are not that good. I find it funny that Rachel Ray, the self proclaimed queen of the “Food Network” and of the imaginary 30 Minute Meals, visited Massachusetts and went to “Kelley’s”, where she proclaimed it the best fried clams and seafood. One more reason to note for the Food Network's audience that she is such a fraud. How would she know what are the best clams in Massachusetts?! She asks someone if they know of any place and someone sends her to “Kelley's.” What a joke! How about all of Cape Cod?! Even the tiniest of clam shacks down there blows “Kelley's” away. The order came with a nice helping of fries and sweet, creamy coleslaw for sides. And lest I forget their homemade bread served first was fresh and soft. As for my other half, she had the fried haddock sandwich, which was a large piece of haddock, delicately fried with fresh lettuce and tomato on a bun. Her plate came with nice lightly battered onion rings. Her sandwich was quite packed and both of our meals, for luncheon specials, were quite filling and satisfying.

It’s too bad it couldn’t have ended on that note. With her last bite, my dinner companion noticed a fairly long hair buried deep into the fish batter; not what one wants to see! And the luncheon price on the menu for the clams was $13.99, but when the bill came, they were listed as $15.29. When I mentioned that to the waiter he apologized for not telling me sooner that they were a seasonal price. It would make sense to change the menu listing it as “seasonal” vs. a fixed price. Both of these moments made it a very disappointing ending to what was a great meal.

In conclusion, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt as they do always deliver, but more moments like that from them again and I may need to find a new pair of shoes.

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