Your mouth starts watering the minute you begin planning a trip to Cape Cod. Clam chowder. Freshly shucked oysters. Fried clams. Lobster rolls. Steamers drenched in butter. Every meal features seafood, of course. But what if Sippewissett oysters were grilled, chilled, and then topped with roasted duck jelly? What if Nantucket Sound scallops were poached in grilled beach rose butter? What if Atlantic bluefin tuna—plus the tart cherry, the sunchoke, the nori served with it—were all black? What if mulberries were fermented in last year’s mulberries and served under sour beer? And what if your tea looked like dirt since it was made from the soil of a coniferous forest? It’d be pretty weird, right?
Weird food is exactly what the Buffalo Jump is going for. The restaurant takes locally grown, fished, and foraged ingredients and then goes crazy. The two chefs, a married couple, start experimenting with techniques that they learned at Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. The results sometimes surprise them and usually shock their diners. It’s a New England-meets-Nordic vibe in East Falmouth.
The Buffalo Jump started as pop-up dinners at Coonamessett Farm in 2016. Chef Brandon Baltzley was relocating to the Cape to open another restaurant; Chef Laura Higgins-Baltzley was returning to her hometown to start a family. Their sustainable ingredients, wood-fired cooking, and delicious food quickly gained a huge following. Last spring, they opened a cafe and bakery, which offer breakfast and lunch, and started serving tasting-menu dinners three nights a week at the farm.
East Falmouth sits on the south shore of Cape Cod overlooking Vineyard Sound. The ferry to Martha’s Vineyard departs from nearby Woods Hole. This area was first settled by English colonists in the 1660s. They became salt producers, sheep farmers, and whalers on land that sits on glacial sands. The train from Boston arrived in 1872. Second homes quickly followed. Cranberry bogs, strawberry fields, dairy farms, and oyster beds did, too. It’s now a popular summer destination for its beaches, historic sites, and food. Oh yes, the food.
Dinner at the Buffalo Jump begins with a tour of the farm. You get to meet the chickens and pet the goats, pick peas and taste ripe strawberries upon your arrival. Three- and 14-course tasting menus are offered. There’s a chef’s table, too. Drinks are BYOB, so you can pick up a few bottles of cheap rosé en route or dig into your stash of Tree House Brewing Company IPAs. The food is served on floral plates and locally crafted pottery. Plus, given enough notice, the chefs will accommodate all—yes, all—dietary restrictions. They obviously thrive on challenges.
Speaking of challenges, here comes your first dish of the night. It’s called “White Kim Chi: A Study in the Removal of Aggression.” The small bite features kimchi that was cooked until it caramelized and then wrapped in a tatsoi leaf. 7 Up is poured over it after the dish is set in front of you. It’s a surprising, daring, and definitely weird way to start the meal. Your mouth is watering for more.