Located across from the Flying Horses Carousel adjacent to the one of the most dilapidated movie theaters you will ever see is the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company. In a spot that has seen a few restaurants come and go over the last decade my bet is MV Chowder Company is here to stay. It’s upscale, but not too upscale. It’s pricey, but not too pricey. It’s casual, but not ghetto. Are you going to come home from vacation telling everyone you know that they have to eat at the Chowder Company? Possibly. Are you going to tell people to avoid the Chowder Company? Definitely not.
I’ve been a fairly frequent visitor to the Chowder Company since they first opened a couple of years ago. One of the best things about this place is it’s opened year round. They have a good sized bar when you walk in and will be glad to serve you dinner and a couple drinks there. They do have a bar menu or at least a burger you can get at the bar which they “hide” from you unless you ask for it. While it isn’t a sports bar there are a number of televisions where the staff will gladly put on your game of choice. I’ve never had bad service here. This is a place you can walk in by yourself and sit at the bar and have dinner or a burger and not feel like a fool.
We ventured out last Friday night to the Chowder Company. The place is pretty much always busy. They do take reservations for dinner. I would recommend reservations if you are going to go on a weekend in the summer. We ended up sitting at the raw bar. We had a great little waitress who very impressively rattled off all the specials from memory. They have a good amount of beer on tap including my favorite Wachusett Blueberry. I opted for a blueberry vodka and soda to start with and my martini girl loves the “Pomma” Ave Martini.
We started out with six fresh Katama Oysters. I’m wanting some just writing about it. So good. They are served with coctail sauce and a little horseradish if you like. They are also served with some kind of champagne mignonette. I have no clue what this is. I just copied the word from the web site. I tried it on one but would rather do just the cocktail sauce and horseradish. The oysters are incredible here. I could eat 100 of em. After the oysters we split a ceasar salad. Typical ceasar salad. Kind of hard to mess up unless it’s not fresh.
For the main course I got the scallops over squash risotto. My girl got the salmon. My meal was good. There were four medium sized scallops served over the risotto. The scallops were fresh and delish. It was a rather small portion but was enough with the oysters and salad. It was served on a fancy long plate which almost made it look like an appetizer. The risotto was decent but it lacked flavor and I had to douse it with salt and pepper for some flavor. One thing is kind of funny about this place is they don’t have salt and pepper shakers. You ask for salt and pepper and they come over with grinder and for the salt they will give you this little cup with salt in it and a tiny spoon. Kind of more of a pain I think than it’s worth. Salt and pepper shakers work fine for me.
My girl always gets the salmon here and always loves it. This time she said the fish cake it was served with was very dry but the salmon was really good. Other things I have tried here are the fish and chips which are delicious. The burger is very good. The buttermilk chicken sandwich is very good. They used to have a pork offering on the menu that was very good but I didn’t see it this time. The “cho-co’s”, chowder fritters served with tartar sauce are awesome. They seem to have gotten smaller and smaller since they opened, but if you like a new england clam cake you will love these. Very similar. Of course what would a blog post about the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company be without a mention of the clam chowder. It’s good. It’s actually very good. It’s 8.00 a bowl which is pretty damn expensive. Personally I would opt for the Cho-co’s but I don’t think you will be disappointed with the chowder either.
All and all chowder company is a great place to go in Oak Bluffs. It’s consistent and good. It has something almost for everyone if you want to sit down and have a nice dinner or just opt to have a cold one at the bar. Mvfood guy gives Cho-co as we call it on the Island 4 out of 5 stars.Follow @mvfoodguy