“Lobster Mushroom Caps”- appetizer- $21.50Cdn. La Coast, Shediac NB. Served in garlic-butter and with garlic-bread. “Awesome”
I’m not much a reviewer, probably because I’m long-winded. But occasionally I will do a little free promo work because certain things are deserving of praise. Listed above is the raw data on the ‘Budda Bing Shrimp’ that I ate at the Doryman Pub and Grill in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia (pop 3,000) and the lobster-stuffed mushroom caps, that Honey ate at ‘La Coast’ in Shediac, New Brunswick (pop 6,660). Both dishes are highly recommended if you should ever find yourself in either of these towns, for heaven only knows what reason. I rank them as ‘you won’t be disappointed’ items, and they receive my ‘very many gold stars’ rating. This is the second-best rating I can give. Only a ‘life-changing’ rating is better.
The Budda Bing shrimp are pan-fried in a sweet glaze with a mild taste of spice, not hot but not bland. It is served sizzling on the skillet. They were insanely good! I should have ordered two, instead of the bacon-wrapped scallops. The scallops were good but the shrimp was incredible! It was different from all the seafood I had tasted up until then, and afterwards, for that matter. You don’t even need to like shrimp, to like this dish.
I never actually tried the mushrooms, but I’ll put my rep on the line, based simply on the fact that Honey is still talking about them as being the best dish she ate the entire trip, and she keeps reminding me, that I missed the boat when I ordered the $18 chicken sandwich! I became so jealous, that I considered taking a three-hour detour off the highway as we started our return journey home. All Honey had to say was, “Sure, I’d eat that again,” and I’d have turned toward Shediac at the next exit! She had made the dish sound too good to have missed! Her eyes would glaze over every time she talked about eating it!! Based on that alone, I recommend this dish. Don’t be like me and miss the boat.
We also drank local craft-beer at both places and we would recommend any of the three pale ales we drank. Kitchen Party (Cheticamp), Picaroons Dooryard and Cavok La Coast Lime, were all great beers, and easy to drink. Keep in mind that I usually drink Corona, so my preference is towards a lighter beer. We didn’t drink a lot; it was never a necessity. Don’t forget that this is Canada (nudge, nudge… wink, wink). But the occasional beer with a meal, wasn’t unusual. Honey is not usually much of a beer drinker, but she frequently choose having beer with her meal, as opposed to ordering something called the ‘Slam Dunk Cocktail’. When I asked her why the change, she said Corona was the “safe” choice, and drinking beer looked better than sucking back cocktails does, especially when you’re drinking in public at one in the afternoon.
I don’t want to give you the idea that ordering locally-brewed beers was some kind of effort to look trendy or Millennial, and it wasn’t on any bucket-list of things to do. We ordered Corona first, but it seems that there was a Corona shortage in the Maritimes, and even though most places had it listed on their menu, they were all currently out-of-stock. I’m not talking the occasional restaurant; it was nine out of ten! From Quebec City to Charlottetown, every Corona had been consumed before we got there, and there had been zero-resupply!! Damn Russians!!! As a result of this shortage, we drank the local pale or blonde ales, which went okay right up until ‘Fortress Skank’. After that, Honey went to the ‘Ceasar’ as her fall-back, if a restaurant had no Corona.
Both of the restaurants were clean, and the service was excellent. ‘La Coast’ was a bit more upscale in its décor, glass, chrome and wood, tailored to high-end tourism and business lunches. The ‘Doryman Pub and Grill’ was the local pub, lots of tables that could be constructed to accommodate family dining, or large get-togethers with friends. They were quite different in appearance, but both were welcoming environments, and I experienced no discomfort eating at either place dressed as a tourist. This was largely in part because of Janelle at ‘La Coast’ and Ainslee at ‘The Doryman’. Both were courteous and efficient, as well as personable, as they worked our table. Willing to answer questions about the menu, or their respective communities, or both and neither one asked me “how is everything?”, when my mouth was full of food!! That alone is A+ service in my book!!!
I should also add, that both places offered live entertainment at certain times. We were not there during those certain times, which I honestly don’t regret, but the entertainment that each advertised, reflected their atmosphere. ‘La Coast’ being a more intimate space, had a small stage at the front for a solo performer. To play background music for the evening diners. It brought up images of Phoebe from Friends preforming at the coffee shop. I may have even started humming ‘Smelly Cat’ when I noticed the set-up. The Doryman occupied a huge space. It had a full stage at the front of the room, and they advertised live fiddle music on the weekends. I had no problem imaging a room full of beer guzzling, foot-stomping, two-stepping, fiddle-loving, patrons. Diners to the back, drinkers to the front! This was a party space!! They even held a talent night every Thursday!!! It made me think of rowdy weekends, spent drinking and dancing at the hotel beverage room in the town of ‘End of the Road’, when I was twenty. That thought made me happy it was Monday.
It is unlikely that anyone who reads this, will end up in Shediac or Cheticamp, but this is the www, and anything can happen. So, if you should be there, be sure to check out these places and try these dishes. They come with my ‘many stars’ rating, and my ‘you won’t be disappointed’ guarantee. How could you go wrong?