In the summer of 2010, we posted an article on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site that focused on five very hidden Boston-area restaurants, and a couple of months prior to that, we had put up an article on five places near Boston that have lakeside dining. Well, it turns out that there is an eatery that actually could have been featured in both articles, as it is in a very unlikely location and also happens to overlook a secluded pond. The restaurant, which is the focus of this review, is called the Dudley Chateau, and if you know about this Wayland dining spot and watering hole, consider yourself among the fortunate few.
To say that the Dudley Chateau resides in an improbable location is an understatement. It is found at the intersection of an almost comically narrow waterside lane and a twisty side street that dead ends on a peninsula in the middle of the pond. You can access either of these roads by taking a left off Route 27 just north of Cochituate Village in Wayland, and as you do, chances are you'll be saying to yourself (or your passengers) "This can't be right." But it is indeed there, perched in a little corner of the eastern edge of the pond and looking a bit like someone's weathered summer cottage (in the past, it had been a private fishing lodge as well as a speakeasy and a men's drinking club, the last of which was visited by baseball legends Babe Ruth and Ted Williams). The interior is where things get really interesting, with the tiny lower level being a dark woodsy bar area that looks a lot like a tap room at a rustic Adirondack lodge, while the vaguely nautical--and divey--feel of the upper level makes one wonder if Quint from the movie Jaws might walk in at any moment and start singing "Show Me the Way to Go Home" with the locals. The upper level is pretty much the main area of "The Chat" (as it is called by locals), with several chairs found at the boat-shaped bar and more seats set up to the left along a counter area, along with tables throughout the space (including three window tables with fantastic water views and a couple of others on the other side with a partially wooded view).
With a place as unusual as this, you might find yourself wondering exactly what kind of food and drink can be found here. The truth is, the Dudley Chateau seems to be a mix of dive bar and family restaurant, with both cheap eats and full dinners, along with inexpensive beer, wine, and liquor sharing the drink menu with microbrews and martinis. Appetizers at the Dudley Chateau include a hearty chili that is heavy on the beans, veggies, and shredded cheese; a Caesar salad that can be ordered with steak tips, turkey tips, or chicken tips; a chunky gazpacho that is available on special every now and then; crispy and crunchy steak and cheese spring rolls that are overloaded with shaved steak and come with a slightly hot horseradish sauce; and onion rings made with sweet vidalia onions and a thick Panko bread crumb batter that put these rings over the top. Meals include a juicy quarter-pound all-beef hot dog that is cooked over an open flame, placed on a torpedo roll, and served with chili and sauerkraut on the side; a plate of the aforementioned steak tips with the meat being extremely tender and the marinade being mild but tasty; an equally-good turkey tip skewer plate that comes with peppers, onions, and mushrooms; a grilled sausage sandwich that features Revere's Bianco and Sons Italian sausage stuffed with cheese and garlic; a huge plate of fish and chips that includes a particularly crunchy and tasty batter that coats the fish; and a number of burger options, all of which are sloppy, messy, juicy, and delicious, with such toppings as pickles, chili, hickory-smoked bacon, and blue cheese (one option has the blue cheese stuffed inside the burger as well). Desserts are also offered at the Dudley Chateau, with chocolate cake being one of the options.
The Dudley Chateau is the kind of restaurant that seems made for the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, as it is nearly impossible to find, is a place frequented almost exclusively by locals, and feels like it could be 220 miles from Boston, rather than just 20. We do have a handful of personal favorites among all the places we have reviewed, and the Dudley most definitely ranks up there near the top of the list.
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