14 Jun 2011

Nantucket Restaurant Week

Nantucket Restaurant Week

This past week was Nantucket Restaurant Week.  By Wikipedia’s definition, my husband and I spent the week being “foodies” – “amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation and news.”  What a palette of delectable treats we had to choose from!  There is no possible way to eat your way around this island in one short week, but we got a running start for summer.

A funny thing happened on our way to Nantucket the first time. A little over 18 years ago, our New England vacation began in Martha’s Vineyard and was scheduled to conclude in Nantucket.  While dining one evening in the Vineyard, we asked our waiter which restaurants he would recommend in Nantucket.  He thought for a minute and then replied that there really weren’t any good places to eat on “the other island.”  That was our first introduction to the rivalry between the two islands.  Turns out that Vineyard waiter was wrong.  Nantucket is famous for its countless high-end eateries.  I would venture to guess that per capita the island has more fine dining establishments than any place in the world.  Last week, many of them offered specialty “prix fixe” menus, which meant we could sample several premiere dishes with money to spare for a champagne toast.

On Wednesday we nibbled seared sea scallops and grilled swordfish at Oran Mor where we also shared an impressive granite platter of Charcuterie (a combination of sausages, confit and pates).  A couple nights later we slid onto a couple of barstools at what has always been our favorite Friday night spot – 21 Federal – now the new Ventuno, complete with new owners and chefs, an impressive menu and a new vibe.  Our friends Johnny B and Jody are still behind the bar, so we felt at home.  They served us yummy appetizers of Italian meatballs and Burrata cheese, a delectable roast chicken dish for dinner and a cheese selection for dessert.  Every dish was divine.  On Saturday we joined friends at the new Brick Bistro at the Jared Coffin House. It has been completely renovated and is quite simply breathtaking. Our cute and friendly waiter Jacob delivered chopped salad to start, then the salmon and mussels as well as the roast chicken for entrées.  All were unique and scrumptious.  Perhaps the most acclaimed dish of the week was the chocolate sin that capped off our meal at Brick Bistro.  A perfectly shaped pyramid of chocolate mousse perched atop a layer of creamy vanilla ice cream sandwiched between 2 layers of chocolate cookie crust all set on a plate drizzled with 3 different sauces.  It was moaning food to be sure and if we’d had the courage, a couple of us would have licked our plates when we were finished.

This was just a hint of the gastrointestinal delights awaiting all of us this summer on Nantucket.  The island is filled with Zagat rated restaurants and quaint neighborhood cantinas.  There truly is something for every appetite and budget.  If you are planning a summer trip to the island or perhaps you live here and are beginning to organize lunch or dinner itineraries for summer guests, make sure to schedule time to sample several of the island’s divine dining retreats.   When you find yourself presented with a menu filled with seductive and savory treats, take a walk on the wild side and try some dishes you’ve never had before…and should you encounter a dessert so good you can’t bear to miss a drop, go ahead and pick that dish up and lick it clean.  After all, you only live once!

Mmm, mmm good.

Shellie Dunlap

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