Nate About TOWN in Nantucket

By Nate Waig

I had a chance to sit down with the new Executive Chef of Town Restaurant, Thomas Walsh, to sample and discuss a few of the highlights from the upcoming spring and summer menu.

New to the Town kitchen this winter, Walsh has continued the international bistro approach of John Keane’s stellar addition to neighboring Queequegs. A former chef in Boston and the Berkshires, Town offered the perfect place to practice his craft. Incidentally, I met Walsh on his second day on Nantucket while bartending. I like to think the last-call shots of espresso martini helped turn a three-day weekend visit into a four-year stay, culminating in Executive Chef-ery.

Town’s menu is well-rounded in composition and flavor, which affords many great choices for diners.

For appetizers, I had Duck Spring Rolls with Hoisin Dipping Sauce, and then a nice bowl of PEI Mussels. The Spring Rolls were nice and crispy; the mussels had a great smokey flavor from the chorizo sausage chunks and the sourdough was good for dipping in the saffron broth.

The bestselling Tuna Tartar Tower was a treat, with Nan Flatbread Triangles to scoop, and a line of Sriracha as an optional dip for some heat if desired. (My favorite.)

Entrees are of good size and range from $21 to $27, which for the quantity and quality of food, service and decor are an excellent deal indeed.

For entrees, a nod to France came with the Cassoulet D’Canard – a rich and meaty duck leg with a duck sausage and applewood smoked bacon over a white bean ragout, at a very modest $24.

I also had a taste of the Halibut, which has an awesome Korean Bulgogi sauce on it. Not a spicy dish, the fish is nicely complimented by woody flavored Asian mushrooms and crunchy baby bok choy.

The best-selling Lobster Tandoori makes its return this spring with some vegetables added to the plate. Tandoori is a term derived from oven cooking – (think Tagine) – but really is the particular combination of flavors that comprise the creamy textured sauce. Very subtly flavored so as not to mask the briny lobster, with hints of cardomom, clove and cinnamon, this dish represents a new, and in my opinion, better way to eat lobster on Nantucket.

Remaining on the menu is the Vindaloo, which is a chicken or lamb curry in traditional Indian fashion. I love curry, and have heard from world travelers that Town’s Vindaloo, is better than that of Mumbai. IMAGINE THAT!

Look for Graeme (cover of Scottish Vogue ’98) and Lisa behind the bar serving up the good times. Oh, and pay attention to the complimentary yoga tutorial carved into the bathroom door. Enjoy!

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