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Unforgettably Terrible: The Island Merchant

28 May

Some mediocre meals are simply forgettable. Other however, are so terrible you can’t stop talking about them during the drive home. The dinner my boyfriend and I shared at The Island Merchant  in Hyannis Port, MA, was one of those meals.

Shocked by the $20 parking fee at the beaches in the Hyannis area, and disappointed by the beaches themselves –  small, dingy, and situated very near the road – we hoped that a nice meal in downtown Hyannis would improve our impression of the area. That didn’t happen.

I had purchased a Groupon to The Island Merchant based on good reviews I had seen online. Our dining experience however, can only be described as an exceptional waste of time and money. Despite having made reservations, we were seated on rickety stools at a slanted bistro table – an afterthought of a table situated under a flat-screen TV, between two drafty vents in the floor. The candle at our table was the only one in the restaurant left unlit.

When we ordered the mussels appetizer, the waitress responded, “sorry, we’re out of mussels…and salmon.” That was surprising, because it was only 7 PM on a Saturday night. We settled on jerk chicken skewers, which turned out to be a plate of four plain grilled chicken breast pieces, two of which were haphazardly speared with wooden skewers . The sauce drizzled over the chicken tasted just like the cheap Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce I have at home.

My boyfriend ordered the beef tenderloin ($26) as an entree. When he asked if he could add a side (it only came with mashed potatoes), he received a terse “no.” What arrived was a small plate of beef tips. Later, we overheard the waitress telling another couple that the restaurant had run out of beef tenderloin, and were serving beef tips instead (for $26!). I wondered why we weren’t given the same warning.

My chicken napoleon was decent, although there was a large gaping cut through one of my chicken pieces, as if an amateur chef had to check if the meat was thoroughly cooked.

Dessert (part of the Groupon deal) was another disappointment. The waitress sauntered up to our table, asking, “can I bring you a slice of key lime pie?” Apparently, the restaurant had run out of every other dessert.  I don’t normally care for key lime pie, and the version at The Island Merchant did not change my mind.

I wish there was a single good thing I could say about this restaurant. Sadly, in addition to the terrible food, the service was cold, and the entrees were slow to arrive. I’ll never return to The Island Merchant.

Island Merchant on Urbanspoon

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