New England dining
'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.
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
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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