Month: August 2019

The Downyflake is still great

The Downyflake is still great

We’ve written praise of The Downyflake many times before. Never mind reading one. Just look at this terrific breakfast for $9.95.  Oh, and they also make great doughnuts!

donuts

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56 Union: Island charm and great food

56 Union: Island charm and great food

It’s been too long since we visited 56 Union and we are so glad we did. This lovely little restaurant, only a few blocks from downtown serves excellent food to enthusiastic diners every night. Peter (chef) and Wendy (sommelier) Jannelle put together an eclectic menu of global cuisine in a friendly, informal atmosphere.

You probably need reservations most of the year, since it is a popular spot. While it wasn’t all that busy at 6:15 when we could get a table, it definitely was quite busy by the time we left.

chicken dumplings

We each started with their delicious Chicken Dim Sum ($14): steamed Chinese chicken dumplings, served with a soy mirin glaze. They were easily manipulated with the chopsticks they provide, giving you the confidence that you still know how to use them. And the dumplings were moist, tender and flavorful!

lobster roll

For one entrée, we had their Maine lobster roll ($34), on a toasted brioche roll, celery, red onion, bell pepper, light pernod scented mayonnaise, slaw, and pickle, served with a robust pile of delicious pomme frites. How could you go wrong? (Maine lobster rolls contain cold lobster salad. Connecticut lobster rolls are warm and served with only melted butter.)

veal chop

And, our other entrée was a delicious tender veal chop ($46), cooked medium rare, with rosemary, bacon roasted fingerlings, broccolini, wild mushrooms, artichokes and parmesan demi glace. Veal chops seem to be getting harder to find and it is delightful that they serve such a perfect, juicy chop.

We are glad to recommend 56 Union for any meal or occasion. The service is friendly and attentive and the food is uniformly excellent.

tables

Via Mare: a new star at the Greydon House

Via Mare: a new star at the Greydon House

Nantucket definitely has a new star in Via Mare, the restaurant now occupying the elegant Greydon House hotel. (Hint: click on the Kitchen box to see the menu). And almost overnight, it is one of Nantucket’s best restaurants!

As we explained earlier, the former restaurant has been replaced by this elegant creation run by Chef Andrea (Dre’) Solimeo and Sarah Todd originally part of the team over at Ventuno. And, while the menu on line is fascinating and diverting, they make regular changes. That menu was from July 3, 2019, but there were several new ideas in last night’s menu.

tables

The menu is organized in Cichetti (bite size samples), Small Plates that you can share, but are still smaller portions, Pastas, which are quite substantial, and a few traditionally sized entrees, called “Livin’ Large.” The idea is that you might get 3 or more of the little and small plates, or fewer if you get pasta and even fewer if you get the larger entrees, which included chicken, tuna, beefsteak and a nightly special. You are going to be delighted whichever you choose, because the food is both imaginative and delicious.

hot chicken

We tried one of cicchetti, “Spicy fried chicken bite and Moroccan pancake. ($7)” This really was just one bite of chicken but it was spicy. The waitress said the chef called it her Nashville chicken after Nashville’s famous fried chicken and she could open a restaurant with that alone if she wanted: it was that delicious. The waiter asked if I wanted another one, (I really did) but knowing that there was lots more food coming, I respectfully declined.

Meanwhile, we also had their summer salad: “local melons, tomatoes, prosciutto and pickled shallot” ($14). This was quite a bit of salad and you could share it as we did. One picture shows it as presented, one after we opened it up.

whipped cod

Perhaps because I had my camera out, they also brought another cicchetti: “Whipped salt cod on crispy polenta” ($7), which was a nice surprise mixture of tastes, although you could serve anything you wanted on those terrific crispy polenta.

straticella

Our next planned small plate was “Hand pulled straciatella, olio verde and flakey salt” ($12). This is hand pulled mozzarella curds, cut and rested in cream. Olio Verde is  a premium olive oil. This was really filling, and we couldn’t really eat all of it knowing that there was still a pasta course.

 

aubergine

And, to make things more exciting they send out an experimental vegetable dish: roast aubergine (eggplant) in cashew cream with tomatoes and little dots of dressing,

Our pasta dishes were spectacular.  Mine was rigatoni with lamb sausage, broccoli, and pecorino di fossa ($23) and my wife’s was Spicy spaghetti alla chitarra, seafood ragu, passata, basil and breadcrumbs ($24). My rigatoni was rich in flavors from the pecorino and the lamb. The spaghetti was even richer than the rigatoni, and with bits of seafood in the sauce it really sparkled with flavor.

meringue

Finally, we split one of their three desserts, called “Fake Alaska.” It’s made of chocolate almond torta, Morello cherry sorbet, wild bay meringue and pistachio butter cream ($13). (We have no idea what constitutes a “wild bay meringue,” and all the meringues we have seen have been at rest.)

This was a simply spectacular meal and with 3 glasses of wine was still only $146, so it may have been one of the island’s great gourmet bargains as well. We can’t praise this new restaurant too highly. Everything from the food to the service to the décor were outstanding. Our repeated compliments to the chef!

 

 

Dune: always an imaginative Nantucket restaurant

Dune: always an imaginative Nantucket restaurant

Dune, a creation of chef Michael Getter has been around for ten years now and we realized we hadn’t visited it in a couple of years. All we can say is that it keeps getting better: more imaginative and with more interesting flavor combinations.

The restaurant on Broad St is next to several others, but you really need to go to Dune at least yearly to take in Getter’s clever and fascinating menus. The restaurant is not large: one floor of an old house and includes a popular bar area where they create unique cocktails. But the food is the star here so let’s get right to it.

The evening started with fresh, warm bread served with butter sparking with pink sea salt.

And the night we went Tuna Tartare was a welcome menu addition: fresh tuna chunks molded with cucumbers, avocado, raw green beans and a few peapods. Served over a slightly spicy lemon grass broth, it was an amazing winner!

tuna tartar

Our other appetizer was a simply gorgeous beet salad, with several types of beets, some sliced thinly to show their bullseye pattern and some in chunks, served over whipped goat cheese, beet vinaigrette, pistachios and balsamic vinegar.

beet salad

For me the outstanding dish was the halibut with Thai coconut-lemongrass broth, purple creamers, bok choy, snap peas, broccolini, shitake, and basil. It was moist, delicate and flakey unlike almost any halibut I’ve ever been served.

halibut

Finally, our other entrée was a Grilled Heritage Pork Chop with lemongrass + pineapple fried rice, shanghai sausage, herbs, grilled green beans, and sweet and sour sauce.

pork chop

The flavors were very nice but the chop was a bit overcooked and tough. Pork really needs to be serve still somewhat pink so it doesn’t get so chewy. Some customer may be taken aback at first, but the USDA recommended cooking temperature is now 145˚ and really anything over 138˚ is perfectly safe.

Our dessert was dubbed a Pot du Crème with peanut and chocolate crumble and vanilla whipped cream. But really this was chocolate pudding just like my mother used to make. Only she used walnuts. What a great comfort food for dessert!

pudding

We are so glad we went to Dune again this year and you should go there, too!

 

We again visit Millie’s

We again visit Millie’s

Millie’s remains one of our favorite family restaurants on Nantucket. Their friendly service and excellent food draw us back every time we come to the island. It is always our first stop, because we can walk their from our house. But their menu of (mostly seafood) tacos, po’ boys and quesadillas is always a creative delight.

This year, we started with their sweet corn and clam chowder ($10), warm and filling on a cool late summer evening.

chowder

One of our entrees was new to us, Coatue: Fried oysters on a brioche bun ($21) with red cabbage slaw and tartar sauce. It was very good, but we have to admit we miss their Millie’s Bridge fried clam roll which easily had the best fried  clams on the island.

oyster po boy

Our other entrée was Esther Island (22): seared scallops in flour tortillas with creamy red cabbage slaw, guacamole, blue cheese, crispy smoked bacon. This was beautifully constructed but a bit too scallop for  a taco.

scallop tacos

And, of course, we always go for the Cisco Whale’s Tail beer on tap while we’re there.

beer

Millie’s remains a delight that we’ll go back to again and again.

Gallo restaurant in Ridgefield

Gallo restaurant in Ridgefield

Gallo in Ridgefield (5 Grove St) is an outstanding Italian restaurant with excellent service. We went last Saturday, and while it was busy, the staff was more than up to the challenge. The menu is varied and imaginative with several really creative touches from Chef Raffaele Gallo and Executive Chef Giuseppe Castellano.

table setting

On weekends they utilize valet parking, so there is no parking problem and we were seated immediately at a spacious table not far from the windows. Interestingly enough, there was a little girl coloring with crayons on the floor near our table, although her family had come early and was about done. It is refreshing to see how welcoming they are.

breadThey provide you with a basket of delicious breads a bread sticks with olive oil, although butter was quickly supplied on our request.

 

For appetizers, one of had a spectacular Caesar salad ($12) with lovely slices of parmigiana cheese and an excellent homemade dressing.

caesar

Our other entrée was called Ceci ($17), Chickpea fritters with stracciatella cheese, prosciutto San Daniele and fresh figs,  and from that unique description, we simply had to try it. The crunchy fritters blended well with the Stracciatella cheese and the prosciutto. It was such a large serving that you could probably split it if you anticipate having a large entrée.

ceci

One of our entrees was an excellent Emiliana-style meat lasagna ($23, above). It had a really rich flavor and excellent meaty texture, and certainly was a substantial portion. You could go there just for their terrific lasagna and be perfectly happy.

bream

Our other entrée was Orata, or Pan seared sea bream filet with wild mushroom and lemon sauce ($31), where the lemon sauce was buttery and terrific. Our only comment was that one of two pieces of fish was a bit dry. But it was honestly quite wonderful.

mocha

Despite all those entrees, we ordered dessert, an amazing mocha ice cream cake. And yes, we shared that one and still came out really satisfy.

Don’t let the plain white building put you off. This is an excellent restaurant that we’ll be going back again and again.