The Beach House: More Than Just Bar Food
By: Elise Hugus, November 16, 2011
Don Parkinson - Six dishes from the new Beach House menu: (from top left) cheese burger, lobster ravioli, bone-in pork chop, clam cakes, steak and cheese egg rolls, and cranberry walnut salad.
Anyone who has spent their fair share of time at The Beach House in North Falmouth knows there are really two Beach Houses.
The first is populated between the hours of 4 to 8 PM. Its inhabitants tend to have white hair or small children and scare easily at loud noises.
The second-wave crowd tends to come out only at night.
Wearing tight jeans and backwards baseball caps, these vampires apparently are not mortal, for they never eat. Instead, they prance back and forth from the cleared-out dining room/dance floor to the bar, and spend at least half the night outside in the “smoking lounge.”
Owner Pat Bonzagni thinks it’s time for these two Beach Houses to come together. So he’s bribing them with food. Not the “basket food” you might’ve eaten in a drunken haze during the game. Good food, tasty and healthy, and served on nice white plates.
“Just because we’re family-oriented and fun doesn’t mean you can’t have a great meal,” said Bonzagni, who opened up the restaurant six years ago with a few buddies.
Eating with your eyes
Since October, Bonzagni and his new chef Ryan Murphy have been crafting a new menu that stays true to The Beach House’s casual vibe while ramping up the quality.
Murphy, who comes to North Falmouth after a stint as executive chef at the now-defunct Vox Populi in Boston, says he’s understands the fish n’ chips cravings of Cape Cod diners, but strives for ingredients that are as fresh and locally-sourced as possible (all seafood comes from The Clam Man and produce from Jack in the Beanstalk).
“We’re using top-of-the-line ingredients and all sauces are made from scratch,” Murphy says. “Everything makes sense now. All the flavors go together.”
Although the food is now served on square white plates, prices have remained the same for Beach House favorites like burgers ($10/ $5 on Mondays), nachos, and quesadillas ($10).
The restaurant’s specialty pizzas ($5-10) are available until 10 PM Sunday through Tuesday and until 11 PM the rest of the week. Wednesday night remains $5 pizza night, taking the edge off an evening of music with John Beninghof and Dan Byrnes.
Those who prefer the lighter side of bar food will enjoy the seasonal salads ($8-12), baked haddock ($16), or a bowl of house-made French onion soup, chili con carne, or New England clam chowder ($5-6).
Gluten-free options are available for all pizza, pasta, and sandwich items.
Some items, like the ubiquitous spinach and artichoke dip and Jamaican dishes have not survived the menu makeover, but Bonzagni insists that diners will find plenty to tease their taste buds without hurting their wallets.
Speaking of specials…
On a recent Monday, IO’s own Esta (of Esta’s Kitchen fame) and our web guru Don checked out the $5 burgers, a nice slab of beef on a grilled bulkie roll with fresh tomato, lettuce, onion, pickle and a choice of side.
If it weren’t for their beer and vanilla vodka habits, they could have gotten away with a $10 meal. How’s that for an awesome cheap date?
Tuesday follows up with a little more class, with “2 for $40” dinner specials. And every weekday, those on a liquid calorie diet can soak it up without getting hosed with half-price appetizers at the bar from 4 to 6 PM.
Invited to sample the Beach House’s finer offerings, Don was especially taken with the crab cakes, made with whole chunks of leg meat and minimal amounts of bread.
The bone-in pork chop was met with a sigh of pleasure from our devoted web guru, who was impressed by the moisture of the delicately braised meat and the brandy apple chutney side in place of applesauce. Smashed potatoes and asparagus rounded out the plate nicely.
Less awesome, but still quite edible, were the lobster ravioli with marinara sauce. The steak and cheese egg rolls put a whole new meaning on “da bomb,” he said, delighting in a mouth full of cheesy goodness.