42 Degrees North Restaurant & Lounge
690 State Road, Plymouth
Hours: Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Major credit cards accepted
Accessible to the handicapped
South of downtown Plymouth, the choices for dining out are fairly sparse, making the 42 Degrees North Restaurant & Lounge on State Road a particularly welcome addition to the community’s Manomet neighborhood.
The restaurant, named for the latitude coordinate of its location, opened its doors in June, just in time for the arrival of the area’s considerable influx of summertime residents.
While the summer crowd may be long gone, one recent fall evening proved 42 Degrees North remains a draw, both for locals mingling at the expansive bar that runs the length of the dining room, and for a brisk dinner crowd.
The fare is billed as American cuisine with an emphasis on fresh fish, capitalizing on the restaurant’s seaside location, but there are plenty of choices for those who prefer chicken or beef.
Shortly after we were seated, the waitress brought a basket of crusty focaccia bread, tweaked with a mouth-watering blend of herbs and a hint of cheese.
We settled on opening with an antipasto board ($13), generously laden with a tasty assortment of Italian meats and cheeses, roasted peppers, pickled vegetables, and crisp asparagus spears set off by a tangy balsamic drizzle.
The dish was more than enough for our three-person party, but the menu’s variety of appetizers was dizzying, ranging from sautéed mussels, calamari and Maryland crab cakes to meatballs in sweet marinara, chicken wings and chicken tenders, and even homemade mac and cheese fritters. Prices hover around $10 for most.
The menu also featured a good selection of salads ($7 to $10) that could be topped with grilled chicken or shrimp, as well as New England clam chowder ($6) or a lobster corn chowder ($8).
Our favorite main course turned out to be an item from the evening’s specials: chicken and shrimp pad thai ($20). A crispy panko crust encased tender and moist shrimp. The marinated slabs of grilled chicken were equally good. But the taste-bud pleaser was the steaming bowl filled with rice noodles nestled in a sweet and spicy sauce.
Thanks to some helpful advice from our waitress, the roast prime rib ($24) was ordered medium-well-done, and arrived with just the right hint of pink. The cut was tasty and tender and topped with a rich-tasting beef jus.
Accompaniments included mashed potato, although Delmonico and baked potatoes were also offered. The winter squash was the only disappointment, since it seemed to lack any spice enhancement.
The pork osso bucco ($19), the best I’ve tasted anywhere, was melt-in-your-mouth tender and made even better by a thick brown sauce containing bits of carrots and onions.
The meal was partnered with a spicy ratatouille and gorgonzola mashed potatoes, all too good to leave behind.
We were well beyond delving too far into dessert offerings, so we opted to split a fluffy slice of lemon mascarpone cake ($7) drizzled with a berry sauce and garnished with twin dollops of homemade whipped cream, each capped with a raspberry and blueberry. It was a fight for the last forkful.
The owner of 42 Degrees North is Kevin Hynes, an industry veteran who has opened 10 restaurants on the South Shore, including four in Plymouth, during his 30-year career.
Hynes has sold many of those past operations, but still owns Stockholders in Weymouth and the Inn at Bay Pointe in Quincy.
This latest endeavor is managed by his son Erik, who has his own considerable background in the food business. The younger Hynes managed several restaurants in Boston before returning to the South Shore, where he joined his father in opening Stockholders and 42 Degrees North.
42 North also serves lunch, offering the same soups and salads as dinner, along with a varied list of sandwiches and burgers, a clam roll and the restaurant’s “signature’’ lobster roll.
About a half-dozen dinner-type items are also available at lunchtime. Prices range from $10 to $15.
The restaurant recently added a Sunday brunch ($17 for adults, $8 for children 6 to 10 years old, $5 for children under 6).
The full menu (except for brunch) is also available for take out.
Our recent dining experience at 42 Degrees North was one we hope to repeat in the near future. We found the food to be good, the service prompt, and the wait staff helpful.