I met a friend for dinner recently at the Old Yarmouth Inn in Yarmouth Port. The night was extremely cold—sixteen degrees Fahrenheit—our first real cold snap of the winter. But inside, the Inn was warm and welcoming. A wood fire roared in the lobby fireplace and the tavern had its gas fire on high. Our table by the window had a heater on the floor next to my chair so I was nice and warm even though the cold wind blew on the other side of the glass.
It was a good night for some comfort food. My friend ordered the sole picatta, which is one of my go-to meals in the summer. The sole is lightly battered in egg and flour and pan-fried in butter with lemon and capers. Served on a bed of angel hair pasta, it’s a nice, light summer evening meal. On this cold night, I wanted something heartier.
I settled on the chicken pot pie.
Served in a six-inch tall round crock with a puff pastry on top, I was unsure how to tackle it. My first inclination was to use the spoon on the serving plate to scoop the contents out of the crock, but the doily under the crock seemed to discourage doing that. So instead I broke through the pastry with my fork and dunked a chunk of pastry in the rich, creamy gravy beneath.
Drenched in the gravy were sliced carrots, peas, chopped red potatoes, pearl onions, and big chunks of white chicken pieces that needed to be cut with a knife. Absolutely delicious and exactly what I needed.
Complemented by a glass of the house Chardonnay, the meal satisfied to such an extent that I ate the whole thing. At first it seemed that there’d be too much gravy and I’d have to resort to using the spoon to slurp it all up, but the pastry absorbed some gravy with every bite so by the end I was scraping the sides of the crock with forked chicken to get every last drop.
While the presentation has nothing on the Daniel Webster Inn’s chicken pot pie, which has long been the gold standard against which I judge chicken pot pies at all other restaurants—at the Daniel Webster Inn, the server puts the puff pastry on the plate and breaks it to make a bowl into which she scoops the contents of the pie, all of which is done at table—the pie itself is possibly even better than Daniel Webster’s. And that’s saying a lot.
Only one other chicken pot pie has ever come close to the gold standard—the offering at the Picadilly Deli in South Yarmouth, which has a nice rosemary flavor in the gravy and a light puff pastry served on the side. But Picadilly is a breakfast and lunch place. It closes at two in the afternoon so is not an option for a cold, winter night.
I highly recommend the Old Yarmouth Inn’s chicken pot pie.
Old Yarmouth Inn
223 Route 6A Yarmouth Port, MA
Daniel Webster Inn
149 Main Steet • Sandwich, MA 0256
1105 Route 28 South Yarmouth, MA 02664