When the weather turns colder and the rain starts to fall, it’s easy to turn nostalgic about the summer. That’s how I felt when I was scrolling through my photos and came upon the ones I took when Empanada Boy and I were in Cape Cod with Auntie Pasti and Corn-y Uncle. We went over Labor Day weekendâ€” not exactly the height of summer, but while it was still warm enough for ocean swimming. I had not stayed at Corn-y’s mom’s place in Eastham since I was a kid. It was hard at first to recall all of the traditional Cape activities, but they quickly came back to me through Auntie Pasti’s descriptions. We ended up doing many of them. We rode bikes to the beach and along the paths; we watched the sunset over the bay and ate perfect tomatoes in the screened in porch. But one Corn-y family tradition I hadn’t yet experienced was the pilgrimage to Moby Dick’s, a seafood shack in Wellfleet. After a morning of bike riding, we decided to make the trip.
Moby Dick’s is a large, rambling place with exposed wooden walls and seafaring knick-knacks decorating the walls around the menu behind the counter. After ordering, we climbed the stairs into the red-and-white-checked dining room and sat down at a sunny table. While we waited, we realized Moby Dick’s was a BYOB establishment. Aunti Pasti drove down the road a ways and bought a six-pack of beer, arriving back at the table at the moment that one of the Eastern European teenagers flown in to work for summer came in with our food.
Auntie Pasti and I ordered the classic lobster rollâ€” a ton of lump tail and claw meat with a tiny bit of mayonnaise in a soft white hot-dog-type bun. (I’ve read that purists consider it sacrilege to add anything more to the meat than a touch of mayo. Scallions? No way!) The meat was tender and rich, with more retained moisture than lobsters I’ve had in the shell. Corn-y Uncle got a delightfully crispy-briny fried oyster sandwich in the same kind of bun. The bun seems unappealing at first, but as you eat one of these sandwiches, you realize that it is basically only there to create a proper pedestal for the proteins. Eat it in a lobster- or oyster-filled bite, or don’t bother eating it at all.
Never one to pass on the dish, EB got the fish and chips. I though this dish was disappointing: the fries were generic and somewhat limp and the fish could have been crispier. To me, the best fish and chips has the crackly exterior and a soft, flaky interior. The exterior of this was light, leaving me without that satisfying moment of breakthrough from the crust to the fish.
I can’t wait for the next time we get to go to Cape Cod. (That assumes Corn-y Uncle’s mother will invite us back, of course.) Then EB and I will know exactly which activities tradition dictates we spend our days doing. We’ll probably cook most of our meals back at the house in Eastham, but we’ll make a special trip to Wellfleet for lobster rolls at Moby Dick’s. In the meantime, I’ll be sure to remember the taste of that fresh seafood if the cold of winter starts getting me down.
Moby Dick’s Restaurant
3225 Route 6
Wellfleet, MA 02667