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Lee Klein Waxes Poetic and Sea-Slime at The Cape Cod Room

Lee Klein's look at The Cape Cod Room begins with a saucy limerick and a look back at the "much-storied Bath Club," in which it resides. That said, the restaurant caters to "the hoi polloi," and Klein is "glad they didn't go for glitz; it's almost quaint that a room representing as prominent a restarateur as Ken Lyon is so understated." Understated, however, doesn't mean chic. "Add drab drapes to cover those windows, an incongruously designed bar that looks like it was swiped from a tiki room, and malodorously scented candles to counter an ambiguous mustiness, and you're left with all the pizzazz of a New Bedford Holiday Inn restaurant circa 1960."

After channeling Thoreau's Cape Cod for a moment, Klein gets to the Portugese-style onion loaves and cayenne spiked corn sticks and was as "giddy as kids at that shore." "The array of classic New England appetizers--steamed mussels, raw oysters, shrimp cocktail, smoked bluefish, clam chowder, lobster rolls, fried clams--increased our joy like a dozen beach balls falling from the sky." Klein's beach balls were deflated, however, with the lobster rolls, "a case of too much griddled brioche bread and too little Maine lobster." Not everything was deflated, though. "Starters are too pricey (most go for $12 to $24); entrees are too prissy! Why go to all the trouble of decorating your restaurant Cape Cod-style and rack up the expense of flying distinctive fish from Massachusetts and Maine, only to present the seafoods fancy-Miami-hotel-restaurant style?" Lobster potpie was "doubly disappointing . . . a puny crustacean beneath an overbaked, removable pastry cap. This is an inauthentic lazy man's potpie." Main codfish, however, is "prepared in a Cape Cod-like manner," but after the Florida swordfish, Prince Edward Island salmon, and lemon sole from Maine, Klein writes, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Nantucket anymore." After a brief culinary respite in Narragansett, The Cape Cod Room brings Klein right back to Miami Beach. "Complimentary saltwater taffies at meal's end are a nice touch. Not so a 21 percent service charge tacked to all checks . . .It brings two thoughts to mind: 1. We're slipping further and further away from what a tip is supposed to be. 2. Whoever came up with this idea is definitely the product of sea-slime." [MNT]

The Cape Cod Room

At the Bath Club 5937 Collins Ave., Miami Beach