Monday, July 5, 2010

Camden, Maine: Avoid Cappy's

After a 4 day nonstop sail from Annapolis to Camden, my crew and I disembarked (conveniently, right around lunchtime) and headed into downtown Camden for a well-deserved relaxing lunch. I was joined by my friend and co-skipper Steve and owners Hemant and Sonal, with whom I had made this trip two years ago with a great deal more difficulty. On that earlier trip, the three of us had dined at Cappy's Chowder House, a local institution in Camden in which I had had quite a few acceptable meals over the years. The dinner in 2008 was unremarkable but not actually offensive; after the ordeal we had been through, we could all barely keep our heads out of the soup anyhow.

July 5 was a very hot day in Camden as it was on much of the East Coast, and Cappy's is not air conditioned, although I think it is hard to fault a place on the Maine Coast for not having air conditioning, which is only needed a few times a year. Too bad Monday was one of those days. We were quickly shown to a table in the drab upstairs dining area, where a fan provided welcome air movement.

OK, the bottom line. I had a lobster roll and it was lousy. While it may not have been the worst lobster roll I have ever eaten (that honor most likely goes to a mercifully forgotten storefront somewhere down in the Kennebunk area) it certainly is in the bottom two or three. Finely chopped lobster meat (always a warning sign) with no taste, excessive and runny mayonnaise, untoasted and unbuttered bun. Not actively offensive, but so far from the concept of what a lobster roll ought to be that the people at Cappy's ought to be ashamed. They certainly know better. However, the curly fries that came with it were good. They ought to be, because they weren't included but carried a supplemental charge.

I regret that Steve followed my example and had the same disappointing lobster roll. Sonal had some kind of haddock chowder, which she seemed to enjoy (I thought it was way too hot for soup myself, but she'd just come from 4 months in Delhi, India). Hemant had a Reuben sandwich which looked much better than the lobster roll.

The price for all of this pleasure, with 6 beers and a cocktail among the four of us, was about $100. At that price, and for that food, what Cappy's says to me is...tourist trap. Stay away.

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