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As we explained earlier, the former restaurant has been replaced by this elegant creation run by Chef Andrea (Dre’) Solimeo and Sarah Todd originally part of the team over at Ventuno.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!