The restaurants housed at Mel’s Tee Off in Litchfield have had their ups and downs over the years. First up was Greenfields which in my opinion had some of the best corned beef hash that I’ve ever eaten but unfortunately the owners weren’t able to make it work. Next and most recently was Woodman's. Sadly, they never seemed to recreate the success of their flagship property in Essex, MA.
Over the winter as we were driving by, we noticed the sign announcing a new restaurant, The Naticook Fish & Grill. We weren’t too excited thinking that this was just going to be another fried seafood joint. After my wife checked out their Facebook page and spied some of their food which looked delicious we decided to stop in for a visit.
Restaurants at Mel’s have a difficult conundrum. In the summer and fall they are very busy with people coming from miles around to visit their entertainment park which includes batting cages, go-carts and mini golf. There are plenty of hungry people around and most restaurants don't require any help to find customers. In the off season it can be for lack of a better word a ghost town. Restaurant owners must decide if they will stay open during this slow time or close and wait for Mel's to reopen in the Spring.
Upon entering the restaurant we noticed that they had kept the same basic layout and added a few updates including the shades to block the view into the kitchen and a new hostess station. A dividing wall has been added which gives the dining area a cozy feel and pictures of fish line the walls. There are also some tables outside for those of you that want to enjoy the sun and catch up on your Vitamin D.
We were seated at one of the large booths on the side. Our waitress, Sarah, was very nice and she stopped by quickly to take our drink order. I ordered water (exciting) and my wife a glass of sangria which she enjoyed very much. Now it was time to look over a menu that I had never seen before. This is one of my favorite and not so favorite parts of a new restaurant, trying to find something that you are really going to enjoy. They have just about everything here. Yes, there is plenty of fried and baked seafood but they also have sandwiches, burgers, salads, steaks and pasta's along with a kids menu with curly fries.
One of the appetizer’s we were trying to decide between was the cheese steak spring rolls or a special for the day, crab cakes. My wife had seen these on their website the night before and they looked fantastic so we went with those.
One thing you will notice if you go to the Naticook Fish & Grill is that everything is presented beautifully, the chef deciding to take extra time in this regard. With plenty of crab not fillers, these were served with an Asian red pepper slaw and a house made remoulade. We enjoyed these although the price did seem a little high at $13 for two small cakes.
Next one of our favorite parts of the meal, the rolls.
Again nicely presented with a cream cheese and sun dried tomato butter, these were wonderful.
It was a warm spring day and I was in the mood for fried seafood, thus my entree selection was fish & chips.
This was accompanied by the cole slaw, onion rings and fries and was well made.
Having asked our server for her recommendation, my wife chose the seafood tagliatelle.
She was shocked at how much seafood was packed into this dish. Between the pasta, scallops, and shrimp, she had more than enough to take home to enjoy as another meal.
One of the nice surprises we found out at the end of the meal is that all of the desserts here are home made. Of course we had to check them out and chose the cranberry apple tart:
It looks as good as it tastes.
We look forward to our next visit at The Naticook Fish & Grill. Chef/owner Marco has created a unique restaurant for this location. Do yourself a favor and take a drive to find out what you’ve been missing.