Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary by trying a new restaurant here on Cape Cod. New to us that is. ABBA, located at 89 Old Colony Way in Orleans, opened in November 2001, but yesterday was the first time we had an opportunity to dine there. We were welcomed by the effervescent hostess, who gave us our choice of tables from a cozy nook in the corner to a lively table near the miniscule bar, or on the tented terrace with its billowing ceiling and airy feel. We chose the intimate corner, of course, to mark the special occasion.
Renowned for its pan-Mediterranean menu, ABBA’s Israeli chef specializes in unusually flavorful dishes with a distinctly Thai twist. Our waiter, Tom, was attentive and knowledgeable, sharing his insight into the restaurant’s menu offerings and proffering a confident review of the spices used to infuse each dish with its unique flavor.
I chose a starter of grilled scallops with an eggplant salad dressed in a grapefruit vinaigrette. It was, in a word, exquisite. Perfectly grilled, the scallops were lightly seasoned and accompanied by a creamy eggplant custard topped with fresh greens. Rich opted for a grilled calamari Thai salad with watercress, and declared it perfection.
The wine list is extensive and is composed of highly rated wines at excellent value. I chose a French red from the Rhone region, but was highly intrigued by the offerings from the chef’s native Israel.
The dining room is an intimate affair, with candles flickering in hand-painted Moroccan tea glasses, banquettes strewn with pillows in rich fabrics, and tables set for 2, 4, and 6 casually, but elegantly placed around the small dining room.
Our main courses were simply divine. I had grilled tuna with a vegetable nori roll in a balsamic, miso, and mustard sauce. The tuna melted in my mouth and the nori roll was a delightful mix of sticky rice with crisp vegetables done tempura style. Rich tried braised beef cheeks in a masman curry, which was accompanied by a golden Yukon potato puree wrapped in a grilled strip of zucchini and a side of grilled broccolini. It was clear his choice hit the mark, as he is still raving about it today.
Dessert for him was panna cotta infused with lavender, and I chose the Oxymoron after-dinner drink fashioned from a mix of Stoli Vanilla, Kahlua & Espresso. The perfect ending to a perfect meal. In the words of our good friend, Jerry McGuire (the one and only) ABBA just became our “new favorite Cape Cod restaurant”.