Off-Season Dining on the Cape is Still a Fresh Catch

Afraid you'll be missing out on seafood while visiting New England during the shoulder season? Fear not.
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Contemplating taking an off-season trip to New England but think you'll be missing out on the seafood? Think again.

Off-season dining on the Cape is a whole different animal from the summer (literally and metaphorically) because of the seasonality of the catch and what species of fish are preparing to migrate for winter. The result is a perfect complement to a heavier, savory menu that lends itself well to colder weather.

Wequassett Resort & Golf Club on Cape Cod's Executive Chef James Hackney explained that as we get into the fall and winter, swordfish and tuna are getting ready to migrate and are fat and plump, perfect for their cold-weather menu. This is opposed to the striped bass, which is their biggest catch through the 4th of July and into the rest of the summer.

Wequassett's kitchens source everything as locally as possible, working closely with Chatham fishermen and shellfish farmers for their two restaurants, fine dining establishment Twenty-Eight Atlantic and their upscale casual dining space Thoreau's, which extends out into the verandas. The concept of farm-to-table dining is important for both spaces, as they know exactly where their fish and shellfish was sourced as well as who procured the goods for them. It's a big draw for customers traveling from all parts of the world looking to enjoy the fruits of New England and still get a foodie scene outside of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

Aside from the local fish catch, oysters in the fall are also still a big deal. Oyster farming doesn't stop just because you stopped tanning or no longer feel the burning desire to pair your dozen with rosé. In general, East Coast oysters are meatier and more savory and than West Coast oysters -- the former's saltwater flavor pairs well with lemon, while the latter is good with sweeter pairings like a champagne mignonette.

In fact, fall oyster shucking and traditional clam bakes are a big draw for Boston corporations that want a more hands-on yet still luxe atmosphere for corporate getaways and meetings.

It may be the shoulder season, but you can still get New England luxury offerings for a fraction of the price and without the crowds.

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