I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague
Unless you’re a farmer, the summer of 2012 has been the best summer for weather on the Island in recent memory. It’s been magnificent. I’ve been to the beach at least a dozen times, out of sheer necessity more often than not. I’ve golfed a few times and I’ve had a good many cold drinks on patios. The one thing I hadn’t done before the second weekend in August was camp, and boy, were Jinny and I looking forward to it. We booked a spot at Northumberland Provincial park for Friday and Saturday. Then the forecast changed for the first time since the middle of July. It didn’t rain Friday, but did it ever come down on Saturday. Having no recourse, we secured our campsite and headed to Georgetown for supper at my new favourite restaurant down east, Clamdiggers Beach House and Restaurant.
Clamdiggers is on West Street in the former train station. The building, both inside and out, appears completely renovated and restored. The 1800 square foot patio overlooks the Brudenell River. It might be the best patio on the Island for size and scenery. It’s a beautiful spot. The interior has its merits as well. It’s split in two by the kitchen and bathrooms, with the bar on one side and the dining room on the other. Both sides are tastefully decorated with lantern style lighting, historical photos and hanging baskets. There’s a staircase up to a balcony in the dining room where the view changes from beautiful to breathtaking, although the staff say it gets pretty hot up there in the summer.
Chef Norman Day has assembled a menu at Clamdiggers that serves two purposes. The first is to tap into the tourist market by featuring fresh seafood and steak at mid-to-high-end prices. Most dishes on the dinner menu run twenty two to thirty dollars, but both the steak and crab and the seafood platter are closer to fifty. The second purpose is to cater to locals and families. The Island fare section of the menu features several varieties of fried fish, a steak sandwich and a club wrap all at reasonable prices. I saw one order of fried clams and fries come out of the kitchen and you couldn’t possibly have fit more food on one plate. The one thing lacking is a decent wine selection.
We started with the coconut curry mussels with fresh lime. The mussels were cooked well and while the broth was a fitting accent to the mussels, we found it a little salty on its own. All the same, it’s hard to go wrong with curry and mussels. For my main I ordered the daily seafood pasta. That night’s version featured a little bit of every sea creature in the kitchen in a lobster cream sauce served over fettucini. It was a lot of food, and a lot of lobster cream sauce, but it was good, and I was really impressed with the generous offering of seafood. Jinny had the chicken stuffed with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes with a bruscetta cream sauce mashed potato and vegetable. She moaned more than she spoke while eating and for while afterward, so I can only imagine she really enjoyed it and it was more than enough food. We decided to split dessert—a flourless chocolate espresso torte—and take it with us hoping the rain would clear and we’d get to enjoy it by the fire.
When we got back, the rain held off just long enough to get the fire going. After an adjustment or two to the tarp we were able to enjoy the torte in relative comfort for a few fleeting moments before the rain overtook us. I remember the torte being very tasty.
Clamdiggers is open through September and maybe longer. If you’re down east and hungry, it’s a perfect spot for lunch or supper. Enjoy the view.