Oran Mor Bistro

Oran Mor Bistro

Oran Mor has been fine temple of New American Cuisine for years and was taken over by chef/owner Ned Claflin three years ago. After a shake-down period the restaurant is humming along nicely with excellent service and quite a varied menu of interesting items.

rolls

The lovely restaurant on the second floor at 2 South Beach St seems airier than it used to, and the staff is unfailingly helpful and friendly. They now ask if you want bread (it’s free) and you should ask for it, because it is delicious. The waitress told us that they only make the Pretzel Bread on Mondays, and this is a shame because it looks as tastes like pretzel, but is as tender as any dinner roll. The other bread was rosemary focaccia, which was also very good. Both were served warm.

octopus

 

I took a risk and order an interesting but odd appetizer called Spanish Octopus and Pork Belly ($18). This was what my wife would call a “novel idea.” They were served with Putanesca sauce, Niçoise olives, fried capers, white anchovies and Mizuna (Japanese mustard greens). The pork belly was nice and tender but there was so much octopus on the plate that we couldn’t finish it. It was an interesting idea, but I don’t think it worked that well.

gemelle

On other hand, my wife ordered an appetizer sized portion of Lobster Gemelle with chanterelles, corn, leeks, lobster, cream and tarragon ($19). This was elegant and delicious with quite a bit of lobster and quite a bit of pasta for a half-portion. Actually, she found it too much for an appetizer, but you may love how generous this dish is. The flavor is rich, and with umami flavor of the chanterelles quite stunning.

duck

For my main entrée, I ordered Long Island Duck Breast ($34) with honey glaze, warm duck confit and potato hash, spring onion, peach and Calabrian pepper salsa. This was a great success, with the duck and peach interacting with the terrific potato hash. Top notch.

roast chicken

My wife’s entrée was a Smoked Half Chicken ($34), Pickle Brined with pimento cheese grits, braised greens and white barbecue sauce. This was tender and juicy and not the least dried out as roast chickens often can be. The pimento cheese grits (which the waitress identified as polenta [close!]) were a little overpowering, but overall this is a really excellent dish.

Oran Mor has again come into its own and you should give it a try. As far as we can tell, there is no handicapped access to this second floor restaurant, but they may have a way if you ask in advance.

 

Galley Beach: utterly top-notch

Galley Beach: utterly top-notch

Galley Beach remains one of Nantucket’s top restaurants in service, atmosphere, and especially in food. Under creative chef W. Scott Ossif, the food is not only gorgeous to the eye, but it tastes that good, too. You just about can’t go wrong here: the food is that marvelous.

The restaurant is perched right along the beach, with the outer dining room covered, but with side curtains open to the air if it is warm. The windows face the sunset and you can watch that lovely sunset almost any night.  

Starting with the Oyster Stew offered last night (shown above), the dish is simply a dazzling presentation, not some dull gray bowl of seafood and cream. And incidentally, it had 6 creamy, tender, whole oysters in it, not just a few pieces chopped up. And notice the thin sliced radishes, parsley and bits of red onion on top along with droplets of flavored oil! This is certainly best oyster stew we’ve ever had!

caesar

Meanwhile, our other appetizer was an elegant Caesar salad with fresh little white anchovies topping the toasted crouton bread. It was an outstanding presentation.

tuna

One of our entrees was also a menu addition, a medium rare tuna steak on wild mushrooms and little ends of summer squash and served with a sweetish peanutty sauce. It was both moist and tender throughout and perfectly prepared.

filet

Finally, our other entrée was Filet Mignon with tomatoes, cipollini onion. fingerling potatoes. And tomato vinaigrette. It was as you can see a beautiful creation, and the meat was moist and tender.

brownie

For dessert, we shared a warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and surrounded with salted caramel sauce and topped with a thin cookie. A perfect end to a fantastic meal.

Galley Beach is one of the islands most outstanding restaurants, and we can’t recommend it highly enough. Note that there is a $15 valet parking fee you pay in advance when you hand over your car.

 

 

The Proprietors: a breath of fresh air

The Proprietors: a breath of fresh air

If you’ve been eating at a number of Nantucket restaurants, you soon discover that their menus have an essential sameness and that is why you want to have a meal at The Proprietors.  The menu is made up of clever small plates of things you aren’t likely to find anywhere else: like Pig Ears, Bluefish Pate Focaccia, Chickpea Socca pancake with eggplant, and seared Halloumi cheese. And all of them are delicious. They also have Michale LaScola’s fabulous charcuterie platter.

Most of the plates are small, although they become more substantial as you go down the menu, and the last five or six are full entrée portions. They suggest two orders per person, and you can all share, of course.

One addition to the menu the night we were there was Crab Puffs ($19.50), more or les a crab salad spread on puff pastry. We were glad to be able to share that one.

Our other starter was the Pig Ear Fries ($19.50) with Cholula (shown above), lime and micro cilantro. If you aren’t familiar with it, Cholula is a well-known Mexican hot sauce that spiced up the pig ears. Fortunately, there was a jug of cold water on the table. No one could call this a small serving of pig ears, but in any case we couldn’t finish them all, delicious though they were.

trout

One of us ordered the large Chicken Fried Trout with Green Goddess, bacon vin and lemon confit ($22.50). You don’t get delicious crunch trout very often, but this is an exceptional dish.

rigatoni

The other entrée was Cavatelli with smoked corn, ricotta cream, chili and tomato sugo ($22). This was quite tasty, but we wish the cavatelli had been cooked just a bit more.

dessert

We weren’t entirely sure what we’d be getting when we split a dessert called Banana Bread Toast. (The diners at the next table had become very loud at that point.) It seemed to be chocolate banana bread, topped with chocolate ice cream and decorated with sweetened popcorn ($15). But it was a delightful surprise and a bit lighter than I’d feared. But I still miss the Flying Elvis!

You are sure to have a fine time at The Proprietors. There are so many items to choose from. We certainly welcomed its variety, and will be returning every year.

 

 

Or, the Whale: a Nantucket bistro

Or, the Whale: a Nantucket bistro

The new restaurant or, The Whale opened this summer at 38 Main St, the site of the late, unlamented Met on Main. The new restaurant is bright and airy and nicely decorated, and the staff are unfailingly pleasant and helpful. The morning menu is labeled “brunch” and has both breakfast and lunch options intermingled. But there are the usual pancakes, eggs and omelets.

The name of the restaurant is the subtitle of Melville’s Moby Dick.

They are still getting into the swing of things: with inexperienced end of season staff not knowing which plate goes to which diner.  We were seated in the front bay window which seemed very nice until we realized the table and chairs they put there made it really difficult to squeeze into the table, and there was little place for purses or bags.

pancakes

But they brought coffee and tea promptly. We ordered pancakes ($11) and bacon ($5) because the only sausage on the menu was chorizo and while that might go Ok with eggs, we couldn’t see having it with pancakes. However, let us note that the pancakes were huge and delicious and once we got the syrup I tucked right into them, and could not finish these large, oval pancakes. But they were very good.

omelet

The omelet of the day ($14) had peppers, spinach and onion and was rather too dry and flavorless because it was overcooked. This was also true of the potatoes.

This is their first season and we really need to be understanding, as getting experienced help and opening a new restaurant is a huge undertaking. We wish them well as they gain more experience.

tables

 

Lola Burger

Lola Burger

Lola Burger Is located at the Sparks Avenue Rotary and they provide valet parking at busy times.

Speaking of busy times. try to figure out how to eat this 2 patty monster without it collapsing all over your hands and lap. Knives and forks for sure!  Or just order 2 single patty versions for a better grip.

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.