What's better than lunch with a friend on a gorgeous summer day? How about lunch with a friend on a gorgeous summer day with an amazing view?
The Mattabesett Canoe Club in Middletown (formerly Harbor Park) delivers on the view big time. In summer, it's all about the outdoor atmosphere here: Tables, overlooking the Connecticut River, are covered with brightly colored umbrellas, and a special patio menu carries the food we crave in summer: plenty of lobster choices, specialty burgers, wraps, wings, a raw bar, other seafood and more.
My friend and I start with the hummus platter ($12). Crispy carrots, crunchy cucumbers, olives and pita bread are served with a delicious, sweet hummus. We're a little disappointed that our server can't tell us what flavor of hummus we're eating (we loved it!), but he doesn't offer to ask the kitchen staff, so we let it drop.
Other appetizers include New England clam chowder ($5 for a cup, $8 for a bowl); calamari fritti ($10); a pear-and-fig flat bread for $11; a cheese platter ($18); and a chicken quesadilla ($9). Not everything is cheap here, but everything is worth it.
I'm a sucker for corned beef, so I have the Reuben, which, of course, comes with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. It also comes standard with Swiss cheese, but I'm just not a fan, so I sub American cheese. The sandwich ($10) is great; but I'm more intrigued with the Cajun-spiced potato chips that come with all sandwiches (plus a pickle). I'm not a huge fan of spicy, but these potato chips had the right amount of kick.
My friend orders the Lobster Cobb Salad. For $20 it was definitely a splurge, but the portion was big enough to share. A hefty portion of chilled lobster meat is served atop romaine lettuce and comes with bacon, sliced egg, sliced avocado, corn, red onions and a lemon honey vinaigrette. This salad was good, the dressing delicious. But we felt like something was missing. Perhaps a corn salsa instead of just corn niblets? But if you crave lobster, but not the price, order this salad with a friend.
Other entrees on the summer patio menu include a fried haddock po-boy for $13; Southwest chicken wrap for $12; ribs (full rack for $23 or ½ rack for $16); Canoe Club cheeseburger for $11 (add $2 for bacon); and lobster mac n' cheese for $22.
I've been told the key lime pie is delicious here. But we were too stuffed to try it.
So if it's a casual lunch with a great view you are looking for, grab your oars and paddle down to the Canoe Club.
>>Summer hours for Mattabesett Canoe Club, 80 Harbor Drive, Middletown, are Monday through Wednesday, noon to 9 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 11 p.m.; Friday, noon to midnight; Saturday, noon to 2 a.m.; and on Sunday, brunch is served 10 a.m. to noon and the patio is open noon to 10 p.m. 860-347-9999 and mattabesettcanoeclub.com.