New England dining >>> Cocke 'n Kettle, Uxbridge, Mass.

The Cocke 'n Kettle brings back the good old days of fine dining (CLOSED)

by Eric H.

It was 12 noon on my birthday, and I still had no idea where to dine that evening. My wife, Joan, had told me to make the choice, but nothing came to mind over the past 364 days.

Then, unexplicably, I became inspired. A cartoon lightbulb flashed above my head, and next to it was the town, Uxbridge. Yes, Uxbridge, a small, historic mill town in Massachusetts 30 miles from Providence and Boston and only minutes to Worcester. Then some Pythagorean and Einstein tendencies saturated my mind and the mathematical equation came together: Uxbridge + dining = The Cocke 'n Kettle Restaurant.

I had never been there, but heard many great things about its grand, Georgian architecture, old New England atmosphere and enough food to feed the Town of Uxbridge. I mentioned the Cocke 'n Kettle to Joan, and she said, "Yes, that sounds great, let's go."

We found out they didn't take reservations on this Saturday night, but our minds were so set on going that it was like parents of yesteryear ignoring every restaurant along the highway just so they could go to Howard Johnson's. This time, however, we knew the experience would go far beyond Howard Johnson's.

We arrived and saw a majestic white building, first the new section housing several function rooms on two levels and then the lovely, Colonial era, old home. Upon entering into a comfortable hallway with old antiques and beautiful floral designs, the hostess informed us that the wait would be about a half hour. We sat there, snuggling to the sounds of Vini Ames, a consumate lounge singer who covered Sinatra, Dion and the Belmonts and the Ramones (just kidding on the last one).

Through brochures and observation, we learned that the Cocke 'n Kettle has quite a history, dating back, quite possibly, to 1790, although the first prominent owner was known to have owned the home since the early 18th century. Literature states that in the late 1960s, renovaters found a Hessian Sword in a wall (prominently displayed in the main dining room). Uncovering this piece of history corrolates to the local legend that "German mercenaries had recruited Hessian soldiers into the English Army and they marched through the Blackstone Valley during the Revolutionary War. Some speculate this is how the sword came to rest, hiding for many years, in our wall."




In 1970, restauranteers Nick and Marjorie Sampson atteended an auction in Uxbridge hoping to obtain glassware and other plates for their Cocke "n Kettle restaurant in North Scituate, Mass. The Sampsons, according to literature, loved the Uxbirdge estate, and bid on and acquired the home. The second generation of Sampsons now own and operate the restaurant, obviously filled with pride and passion for their chosen business.

After our Sherman and Peabody tour through the way-back machine, a host sat us down next to the lounge. Because we were in a more quiet mood, my wife asked if it would be possible to be seated on the other side of the restaurant. That cost us another half-hour, but it was worth the wait. Upon entering the main dining room, we saw two warm fireplaces, carriage lamps, post and beam ceilings and charming window dressings. We sat down to find crackers with tasty cheese and bean spreads. Our waitress greeted us with good manners, professionalism and promptness. Young staff walked around offering delicious homemade corn fritters and popovers, and did so throughout the whole dining experience. The combination of those appetizers, warm, bakery-like bread, a fine mixed green salad and delicious clam-filled broth-like chowder left us almost full before the main course.

Somehow, we found room in our stomachs for the main course. The duck special with cranberry sauce was as good as ay we've had, noteworthy in New England where this is a specialty at traditional restaurants. Fresh vegetables and a heaping portion of a wonderful rice pilaf accompanied this comforting and delectable dish.

The surf and turf with a perfectly aged and tender filet mignon with two high quality baked stuffed shrimp put to shame those mediorce chain restaurants with snazzy television commercials that specialize in this type of dish. The Cocke 'n Kettle's version, was in fact, better than some high-priced Boston eateries.

The tray of desserts left us in a precarious situation. How could we find room for more food? Again, we did with the promise in mind to lay low the next day with caloric consumption. This thought process paid off well as we sampled yet another extension of the homemade theme at the Cocken Kettle in the version of a very tangy and ample lemon mousse.

Overall, the Cocke 'n Kettle experience was tremendous leaving us with a satisfied palate and a great New England feeling. This great New England establishment is indeed worth a special trip as there are very few traditional New England restaurants that offer food that lives up to the overwhelming regional charm. Three hundred and sixty four days before my next birthday, I definitely know where I'd like to go next time.

The Cocke 'n Kettle, 240 South Main Street, Uxbridge, Mass., Tel. (508)278-5518


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