Type: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Pan-Asian
Location: 315 Ocean St. (Washington Commons Mall), Cape May, NJ 08204
Phone: (609) 898-0088
Price Range: $9 to $25 for entrees
Lunch Specials: Yes
Liquor License: No
We've been to this restaurant a couple of times over the years, while we've vacationed in Cape May during bird migration in Fall and Spring. Its website is here. Not many restaurants in Cape May are open this time of year, and those that are open are generally only open on weekends as of now, or tend to be located in hotels, or on the outskirts of town.
The first time we went to The Cape Orient, we found it by accident, when we happened to get hungry after trudging around trails and beaches in the sand and muck looking for birds, then returned to town to wander around for a break in the late afternoon. That was several years ago; we had Chinese food. The service was quick and attentive, and the food quite good. I forget exactly what we ordered, but it was probably a bowl of soup each, and one dish to split.
This time, it was one of the few places open on a Wednesday within easy hoofing distance from the B&B in which we were staying, so we figured why not try it again? It was just as good as we remembered.
I decided to go for Thai this time, and ordered the Thai spring rolls, plus the green curry chicken. I'd wanted the three-mushroom soup of the day, but at 6:30 pm, they were already out of it. The spring rolls made up for it. They were not at all greasy, and came with a wonderful light dipping sauce that was vinegary with herbs. The green curry was perhaps a little sweeter than I'm used to, but was very flavorful, and had snow peas, mushrooms, and baby corns in abundance, with just a few bits of red onion and red bell pepper.
Both my appetizer and entree came with some salad greens dressed in something a little more vinegary than your average Japanese carrot-type dressing, but with a touch of sweetness to balance it. I happen to like my salad dressing on the vinegary side, unless it's blue cheese or russian.
My partner in eating crime went for a Chinese combo that included soup, an egg roll, and an entree, in this case, some pork medallions, in a spicy sauce that had mostly the same veggies as mine, but with broccoli and no mushrooms. I snitched a taste of the sauce; it was spicy, but not hot enough to induce eyebrow sweat.
Neither of us have tried the Japanese dishes they offer, sushi, or otherwise. I cannot comment on those.
Decor-wise, it really is Pan-Asian. Some art is obviously Japanese, some is obviously Chinese, and one or two things are Thai. The lighting in the restaurant as a whole is not bright, but is sufficient.
Clientele-wise, it runs the gamut from couples to families with three generations. It's quiet, though. No kids run around wild, screaming, or tossing food. It appears to be popular with locals and tourists alike. The dress code is casual, but not too sloppy.
As far as the service goes, it's very prompt, polite, attentive, and not pushy in the least.
The waiter will bring your bill when you are done, but you pay up at the front desk, and leave the tip on the table. The Cape Orient does take credit cards, but we paid cash, and left a cash tip.
I would certainly go back the next time we visit Cape May. Both of us wondered why it hadn't occured to us to eat there more often. It's quite good, and certainly different from the usual pub grub, boardwalk eats, and seafood found at a beach resort town.