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“Dine at the bar when possible....”
Review of Chillingsworth

Ranked #13 of 42 Restaurants in Brewster
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$50 - US$75
Cuisines: French
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, After-hours, Reservations
Reviewed 9 July 2014

Dining at the bar here is great, It is a very small bar, 6 or 8 seats, but service is always great and you don't need a reservation. Dining in the main restaurant is generally slow, and by dining at the bar it is quick and fun!

1  Thank And0verM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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123 - 127 of 279 reviews

Reviewed 27 June 2014

Last week we had adult family celebration dinners at Chillingsworth on two nights in a row. First night was 6 of us in their bistro and the second was 9 of us in the more formal restaurant. Wow!

Food was fabulously prepared both nights. The bistro dinner of small plates were all excellent - none were merely "OK." The formal restaurant was an ordered-ahead seafood tasting dinner, a succession of elegantly served small courses. Superb ingredients prepared with imagination and skill, artfully presented, and delicious. In 40 years of business and vacation travel, my only other dinner in the same league was a special menu in Hong Kong on a New Year's Eve. Two of our group had dined several days ago at a Manhattan restaurant famous for its food and panache - they said both meals at Chillingsworth were better and significantly less expensive.

Atmosphere is wonderful in a modified antique home on Cape Cod. The formal restaurant has very nice antique furniture and furnishings. The bistro is more contemporary. Another reviewer wrote that the space is 'outdated' - I think she missed the point - it's charming and the bistro a bit funky - it is not glitzy.

Service was excellent. In the bistro our waiter was on his first night on the job. But he was an experienced waiter, and served us very well, with a nice light touch when he needed to confirm a piece of information about a dish. In the restaurant on the second night the wait staff that handled our party was a polished team.

Value was surprising given a fabulous experience at a reasonable cost. If we lived closer to the Cape we would visit Chillingsworth more often.

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1  Thank don_Chewbaca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2014

We ate in the bistros part as there is also fine dinning. We sat outside and was lovely. Staff were great. Meals were good. Overall very nice, I'd go again. Don't understand why low in ratings as I would put it above others listed.

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1  Thank Crazy2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2014

1) The space is VERY outdated and poorly kempt and with all the front doors, it is hard to know where the entrance is-- it is like they have changed their use of the space without bothering to change their layout.

2) The descriptions of the meals sound wonderful (and my husband and I love eating in restaurants with similar menu offerings) but the dishes overwhelmingly disappointed. My husbands flounder was nearly flavorless and his Truffle-fries were just expensive french-fries. I am still confused on why half a chicken in garlic gravy and mashed potatoes was $26 when there was nothing gourmet in the flavor or presentation and accompaniments (what we ordered for our 5 year-old). My shrimp was overcooked (how does a gourmet chef overcook shrimp?? and how does it get served when it is obviously over-cooked??) and my crab dish had very poor composition-- A creamy crab crepe was the description but what was served was plain crab, cooked without flair and stuffed in meat strands in a crepe, that had been cooked perfectly but was then drenched in a thin "cream sauce".
3) Our waitress while friendly and charming, failed to notice that we were not given our bread ever-- until (just after our meals were brought) I saw another table receive it. While it may have been a different part of the staff's job to bring the bread, a good waittress would have noticed.

4) Making the the bread debacle even worse, our appetizers were brought 30+ minutes after they were ordered. Our waitress checked 3 times with us, and each time reported we would receive them shortly as they had just put them in . . . Our children were starving. The waittress and manager both came to apologize for how late the appetizers were-- noting it was much later than usual and they felt bad about it-- we wouldn't have known ourselves that this was different than usual for them and hadn't complained or acted disgruntled. However, even then neither noticed no one had given us bread, and we were still charged full-price for them, including the mussels which overly large and had significant sandy remnants-- I did gently notify the waittress of this.

5) We had ordered the 3-course dinner options, and given the late hour took our desserts to go. By then our waittress had realized they never brought us bread, but we waited an additional 15 minutes for the desserts to be packaged and brought. Given that we were taking them to go, my husband asked for no ice cream but when we took out the hot cobbler at our vacation home we noted the lake of melted ice cream in the container. AND the other dessert-- it was not what I ordered (lemon cheescake with blueberry compote) but instead an over-sized and overly tough cream puff (called a profiterole-sp?)

Our ONLY saving grace was that, as we had young kids, and it was clearly a formal establishment, we asked to be seated on the extensive patio. As we were the only ones there, it afforded our children the opportunity to meander about the grounds. Which as above were poorly kempt, with shards of broken glass on the walk. However, we were seated directly infront of the entry door and front windows, clearly visible-- it was no excuse to leave our water glasses empty and delay our being fed.

2  Thank Rebecca M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2014

So the highlight of our 'fine dining' experience was that the quality of the food was very good. Some items were very good and excellent, others I would deem to be very average/ordinary.

In full disclosure, we had only been to Chillingsworth once previously (2-3 summers ago) and had also gone the 'fine dining' route. Our expeience on that evening was much different -- excellent service, good timing on delivery of the courses of the meal, and on the whole well above average dishes/taste/etc.

On this evening, we were seated in a perfectly fine timeframe and manner (i.e. couple of minute wait to be brought to table, etc). Our seating was at 7pm, and we were seated by 7:05pm -- so certainly no complaints there.

In terms of the service, I guess I would term it to be (very) friendly and wanting to be helpful, but in our case, there was a complete lack of experience on the part of our waitress. (In no way am I blaming her or suggesting that she shouldn't be working that room, but someone should be training her along the way.) She had a great personality, but in my opinion had too many tables to deal with as the evening wore on b/c we saw less and less of her, and by the end of the night it took 30 minutes from the time I asked for the check to receive it, hand a credit card back and then receive a copy of the bill. (It took so long I had to ask a 2nd person to go find my credit card and bill so we could finally leave the restaurant).

An example of the lack of experience was filling a water glass by reaching over the table (and dishes with food on them) while water dripped off the bottom of the metal glass pitcher into my wife's dish. (Nothing like a shrimp/avocado appetizer receiving a small rainfall of water...)

In total there were 5 courses + intermezzo. Appetizer/Soup/Salad/Intermezzo/Entree/Dessert. Again, in full disclosure we didn't drink too much -- my wife had a couple of glasses of wine, and I stuck with soda as it is about an hour drive home for us and I don't like to screw around with drinks if I am going to drive home. In total, we were there for 3 hours ... from my standpoint this is a screw up on the part of the restaurant ... that is simply too long of a meal for 2 people who aren't also having some cocktails/bottles of wine, etc with the meal ... waiting 25+ minutes between soup and salad, and then 45 minutes between salad and entrees is insanity.

The highlight of the meal was probably the Lobster Bisque...the lowlight was the Venison special. While it was cooked perfectly (Mid-rare), the chef and/or owner have some serious never putting out a plate that contained 3 ... yes 3 ... wait, let me say it again...3 strips of Venison. (Each strip was possibly 3 inches long, .75-1 inch wide, and maybe .25 inches thick. Since the entire meal is priced off the price of the entree (with a couple of up charges for specific appetizers/desserts) I can't really tell you what the cost of my entree was. However, i do know that my wife ordered the Tournedos of Beef and my dinner was more expensive than hers. (While I wouldn't describe her cut of meat as large, it was reasonably sized for what you'd expect for a filet). The simple fact is that I may have received 3-4 oz of Venison. It was a complete joke, and while under different circumstances I would likely wind up back at the restaurant in the future to give it a 3rd shot, I will never step foot in there again. In my view, what they pulled is a flat out insult.

Long story short, I'm going to go with the belief that Chillingsworth is trying to live off their reputation at this point and milk however many more years they can out of the place. if I was a business owner, I'm not syaing I wouldn't find myself in the same position at some point and that I would do anything differently. But as a customer who paid pretty good money to dine there, I'd at least like to give a heads' up to others who are going there to at least be prepared for what is in store. I read the reviews before we went this time and chose to disregard them thinking that the complaints were from peopel who had inappropriate expectations, or hit the restaurant on an off night ... at the very least, add me to the list of unhappy customers.

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1  Thank Jeff S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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