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Red's at the Seacrest Beach Hotel

Sailors’ Delight - The “gastro-pub” in the recharged Sea Crest Beach Hotel will satisfy your coastal fare fix

It may seem a little unexpected or even odd: to name your hotel’s restaurant after legendary Celtics coach and president Red Auerbach. But Auerbach was one of the original owners of Falmouth’s Sea Crest Beach Hotel, where new ownership has just taken over this year, spent $15 million dollars in worthwhile renovations, and is making a play to be the nicest resort west of Bass River. So, the historic relationship seems apropos to highlight.

I seemed a little hesitant about its categorization as a “gastro-pub,” however. After all, it sits right on the pristine sand adjoining Old Silver, Buzzards Bay’s most popular beach. With its airy and colorful nautical-themed atmosphere, it seemed like the seafood theme might have been a no-brainer. And many people—who haven’t gotten the memo that the trendy “gastro-pub” is any different from crappy old “pub”— might understand Red’s to be a little on the low-end. But the menu here has no boundaries, as chef Daniel Kenney has whipped up a surprisingly tasty assortment of small and large plates to satisfy any palette. And it’s affordable to boot.

My wife and I were so intrigued by the seafood selection among small plates that we made our casual meal out of a soup and four apps (maybe we are in a seafood joint!?). The shrimp gazpacho was a cool, cleansing introduction to the numerous flavors that would follow. The grilled oysters, lightly smoked, were excellent, but the day boat scallops and the baked mussels had us thinking we could’ve just kept ordering rounds of them throughout the night. The day boat scallops were perfectly cooked with a hint of garlic and charcoal from where the delicate flesh hit the hot iron of the grill. The mussels were baked in a mélange of spices and covered with buttery cracker breadcrumbs. Delicious.

Chef Kenney definitely understands the “fresh take on Cape classics.” Before joining the new team at Sea Crest, he was executive sous chef of the Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica and the executive chef at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C. But he’s no stranger to New England. He graduated from Johnson and Wales, began his career at the Boston Harbor Hotel, and prior to his Willard gig, served at Boston’s Le Meridien Hotel, which was later rebranded as the Langham Hotel Boston.

The wine list is way beyond the expectations of a pub. We elected to try both a malbec and cabernet sauvignon, and had trouble choosing which one to accompany dinner as both were so good. The desert menu is pretty straightforward, but I will admit I was very pleased with my fruity crème brulée. The service was great; our waiter was one step ahead all night long.

The Sea Crest remains open year-round and management hopes to attract more locals to Red’s throughout the off-season. Expect them to be bringing in entertainment on weekend nights and change up the menu here and there. For instance, in October during restaurant week, Kenney offered a three-course prix-fixed menu for $28 per person with menu items—roasted sugar pumpkin bisque with cornbread croutons, a cracker crusted Chatham cod loin accompanied by harvest vegetables and lobster sauce; Block Island swordfish brochette with Delicata squash—that reflect the season. Sunday brunch could be a good draw for folks looking for a memorable but casual setting—for either a special occasion or just because.

With 263 guest rooms and suites, some with fireplaces and private balconies, management will likely be offering good room deals for locals looking for a not-so-far getaway. One can enjoy a great meal at Red’s and take in a beautiful sunset over Buzzards Bay. After all, the sunsets don’t go away with the summer weather.

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