Category Archives: Restaurants

Nantucket Prime – A New Steakhouse at the Jared Coffin House by Josh Gray

In the realm of fine cuisine on small resort islands, Nantucket is known to do pretty well for itself.

And as such, when a new eatery opens its doors on our small stretch of sand, residents and visitors expect a lot from new and seasoned restaurateurs alike. The owners and management of the steak house Nantucket Prime realize this and hope to bring a dining experience that patrons will appreciate and come to love. Situated inside the Jared Coffin House on upper Broad Street, the new restaurant revives a storied locale with hopes of opening in time for the impending Memorial Day weekend.

“We have met some amazing people already and are hoping to meet some more,” said Justin Ito-Adler, Prime’s General Manager. “One thing we are trying to figure out is what the people that live on Nantucket want in a restaurant. Though we will be serving a full dinner menu, we also want people to stop in for a drink or just to say hi. Those casual interactions have been incredibly valuable to us as we shape the direction of this restaurant.”

Ito-Adler, along with principal owner Matthew Sullivan (a Boston area restaurateur who currently co-owns Needham’s Blue on Highland), and Executive Chef Joshua Smith decided upon the long-vacant Nantucket Island Resorts property after searching available spaces on island and deciding it was just what they were looking for.

“We wanted to create a vibrant environment. The room has a great feel to it and the patio has such an amazing street presence,” said Ito-Adler. “We feel really lucky to be in a building with such an amazing history to it.”

Though it’s housed in a well-known, historic building, Ito-Adler was quick to point out that the group is looking to present a fresh feel.

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“When you hear ‘steakhouse’ or ‘Nantucket’ the image is definitely an old-world feel with white glove type service. We want to create something that doesn’t feel stuffy,” he said. “We want people to laugh, to enjoy themselves and to have the experience that they want to have, not the experience that they feel they should be having. We have an amazing kitchen that wants to create dishes that excite palates, and an incredible front-of-the-house staff of naturally warm and friendly people.”

Hoping to accommodate an array of tastes, Nantucket Prime will offer nearly a dozen cuts of steak, a raw bar, fresh, in-season seafood from the waters around Nantucket, salads and appetizers. They will begin by serving lunch and dinner daily, with the possibility of expanding to a breakfast menu later in the season.

“We will likely open in phases to make sure that we are putting out the food and giving the service that we want to,” said Ito-Adler, emphasizing a focus on quality.

The spaces open to patrons will include the main dining room (accessible from the front entrance of the hotel), featuring a six seat bar, and the outdoor dining patio that has a bar with seating for up to a dozen.

Management had hoped to have opened in time for the Nantucket Wine Festival, but after being delayed by unforeseen circumstances, they now expect to have regular hours the Memorial holiday weekend of May 23rd, excepting a possible, private, special pre-fixe dinner during Wine Fest.

New to Nantucket in varying degrees, Ito-Adler said he and his colleagues are just about ready to open after several months of planning and careful preparation.

“All of us are overjoyed to have the opportunity to work here,” he said. “Over the past few weeks we have already had such amazing experiences and met such amazing people. We are looking forward to meeting the rest of the island, and contributing what we can to an already flourishing Nantucket restaurant community.”

http://www.ackprime.com
For reservations, visit http://www.opentable.com or call 508.228.2117.

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The Boarding House: A Grande Dame Dons Gold Lamé

By Marie-Claire Rochat

The Boarding House opens tonight for its 20th season. Prepare to be wowed.

There’s a new chef in the kitchen (Stephen Maucarelle, formerly of Minneapolis’s Victory 44, will take the helm) and some new paint on the walls of the dining room. If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound like a big deal, get ready for a surprise: while the fresh new take on the cuisine of this beloved corner eatery will delight your palette, the fresh paint will awe your eyes.

For the last month, Latvian-transplant and 15-year resident of Nantucket, Evita Caune, has been elbow-deep in plaster. Drawing on a centuries-old art form used first by the ancient Egyptians and later by the great architects of the High Renaissance, this gloriously rich and textured finish is created by applying thin layers of buttery plaster with a trowel, then burnishing the surface to create a smooth and seamless finish. It’s hard work, admitted Caune recently, as we stood in the middle of the dining room – she, weary after a day with trowel in hand – and I, stunned by the reflection the lighting cast on the glossy, Burnt Sienna-colored walls. The effect, even without the tables, chairs, proper lighting and waiters’ stations in place, is truly extraordinary. Different seating “zones” have been created through the interplay of different finishes: there is an embossed stencil over a banquette which is bathed in soft, candle-like light and, in the “owner’s corner,” a silver and gold leaf design romances diners. The whole effect is warm and inviting and cozy and intimate – and fantastically chic, too.

For the artist, the opportunity to showcase her talent in the main dining room of this popular restaurant is sweet reward after years of supplementing her decorative painting career with house painting. For Boarding House owners Seth and Angela Raynor, the chance to re-decorate the dining room of the “firstborn” in their mini restaurant-empire (which includes The Pearl and Corazon del Mar), became a necessity after a major disaster last summer.

When the ultra-cool, 475-gallon, salt-water fish tank on the floor above the Boarding House dining room ruptured last July, the room was destroyed in a matter of hours. Insulation was coming down in clumps, recalled Seth, and it didn’t take long before the floor was buckling and the electrical wires were corroding. Island-based Arena Construction worked miracles and The Boarding House was serving diners 12 days later. It was the quick fix they needed, but the dining room lacked the aesthetic the Raynor’s wanted. They knew that they would re-do the space when the restaurant closed for the season.

The result of that re-do is stunning. Inspired by trips to Burgundy and Montreal over the fall and winter, the design was very much a collaborative effort between owners and artist, explained Angela.

Seth and Angela are thrilled with the result and are quite sure that Boarding House devotees and first-timers alike will be share that feeling when they walk down the stairs from the bar for the first time. Cheers to a very good year!

Photos after this message.


Marie-Claire Rochat is a Nantucket-based writer, public relations consultant and real estate agent. Favorite topics to write about are design, art, fashion, food – and people who have an interesting story to tell. Hobbies include running, skiing and poking around New York or Boston whenever possible, as well as spending time with two busy children, Mia and Stefan. Her new column will be a regular feature in Mahon about Town.

Cru Oyster Bar


THE CRU OYSTER BAR

The Cru Oyster Bar will open this May at the end of Straight Wharf in the former location of The Ropewalk, with Jane Stoddard, Carlos Hidalgo and Erin Zircher as owners.

The idea for the three to collaborate and open Cru evolved from a shared vision to create something new and unique on the island by combining their different experiences and strengths.

I sat down with Jane and Carlos recently to find out more. My first question was what kind of a restaurant would Cru be. Their answer: “fresh and pristine seafood with a new take on New England classics, an upscale clam shack, gorgeous and casual.” The Cru press release calls it “casually elegant cuisine in a visually stunning waterfront location overlooking Nantucket harbor.”

As one of the few island waterfront locations, Jane and Carlos want to complement rather than compete with other waterfront restaurants, and will offer something new without redundancy. Cru will cultivate a lively nighttime bar scene, with Saturday and Sunday brunch.

WHY “CRU”?
Jane explained. “We were initially drawn to the name for the French meaning “raw”, and with our desire to have a strong wine program, the wine connotations of “premier” quality also spoke to us. The wine reference to “first growth” was also appealing because it’s our first project together. The play on the word ‘crew’ has also been fun to watch evolve.”

THE CREW

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Erin, Jane, and Carlos

Jane Stoddard initially moved to Nantucket to work with Grace Grossman, and eventually took a job with Juice Guys Care, the non-profit arm of Nantucket Nectars, where she played an integral role in essential island fundraisers such as the Ozone Surf Classic, Iron Teams Relay, and Circus Flora.

After Juice Guys, Jane served as the development director for the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club for more than three years, responsible for public relations, fundraising, event planning and promoting the benefits that the club provided to the island.

From 2008-2011, Jane worked with Angela and Seth Raynor as the general manager and director of operations for the Boarding House, Pearl, and Corazon del Mar.

Carlos Hidalgo had frequently visited Nantucket for many years, moving here in the spring 2010 to work as the manager of The Boarding House and The Pearl, which he did through the end of 2011.

Before he came to the island and at the age of 24, Carlos owned and ran the multiple award-winning Bomboa in Boston from 1999 to 2006. Some of the awards Bomboa received included the Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” from 2000-2005, Food and Wine’s Top 10 New Chefs in 2001, and Bon Appetit’s Best Latin Restaurant in the Country 2001. People Magazine named it Boston’s “sizzling dinner spot to go and to be seen” in 2001, and the Food Network named it Best Cocktails in America in 2000.

The wine director and sommelier will be Jenny Benzie, also formerly at The Pearl. Jenny is the owner of Pour Sip Savor, “an assemblage of sommelier services in Palm Beach, Nantucket and Beyond”, with a “free wine tasting guide so you can sip like a pro.” Pour Sip Savor also offers social tastings, corporate wine events, wine brand ambassadors, wine cellar and collection management, wine program development, service hospitality training, and a wine newsletter. Jenny is based in Palm Beach in the off-season.

DESIGN
Carlos wants the place to feel like an old yacht with driftwood, mahogany, brass and teak. The physical layout will remain basically the same, but with most of the furnishings changing.

The first room will feature a larger bar than in the past, a raw bar, and communal tables.

The middle room will showcase the broad wine selection, and will include a fireplace and new bathrooms.

The actual bar in the “back bar” will be slightly smaller than last year, with two U-shaped banquettes filling the space on the left when you walk into the room.

Susan Stacy and Jim Gauthier from Boston’s design firm of Gauthier Stacy are the designers for the project – Stacy was the interior designer of the Great Harbor Yacht Club. BPC Architecture is the on-island architect team. The renovation work is being done by Jay Hanley’s Blue Star Construction.

FOOD

Erin Zircher, chef de cuisine for 8 years at The Boarding House, is Cru’s executive chef, and as a partner in the restaurant, is excited to be opening her own place. Jane describes Erin’s style as “Mediterranean combined with a French bistro palette, with a fresh take on New England classics”.

A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Erin’s culinary skills have been featured in the Wine Spectator, Zagat’s, Fodor’s, Rachel Ray, Nantucket Today, The Cooking Channel and Boston.com.

The Cru menu will highlight fresh local produce and pristine seafood. Signature dishes will include local summer flounder meunière and a Provencal-inspired seafood stew with Nantucket striped bass, saffron and Pernod.

To give you a feel for what the menu is likely to include, other items expected to be offered, subject to change of course, are:
~ A large selection of oysters featuring at least 12 varieties from east and west coasts
~ Seafood towers of oysters, clams, shrimp and other seasonal seafood
~ New England clam chowder with house-made oyster crackers
~ Local lobster rolls served either warmed and buttered or chilled with herb mayo on house-made brioche rolls
~ Cape Cod mussels steamed with Muscadet and lemon thyme, served with hand-cut frites
~ Native grilled lobster with spicy sausages, Chatham littlenecks, local potatoes and sweet corn salsa verde
~ Black angus sirloin with roasted fingerling potatoes, Pumpkin Pond Farm arugula and béarnaise.

The wine list will be broad in varietals, countries and price points, with a substantial champagne list to compliment the seafood focus. And, of course, there will be hand-crafted speciality cocktails.


ESSENTIALS

Cru should be open by May 10, in time for the Nantucket Wine Festival, and will close in mid-October, then open again for Stroll. The restaurant will serve lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, and will be open all afternoon serving most items on the menu, including takeout, from 11am to 11pm.

www.facebook.com/crunantucket

508.228.9278

crunantucket@gmail.com

Nantucket Restaurant News 3.21.12

Bartlett’s Farm has applied for an annual license to sell wine and beer for off-site consumption.

I contacted John Bartlett to get an idea of what he’s planning out there:

We will offer wine and beer as an additional offering and are not removing
any products to make room for them.

We have approximately 7,500 square feet
of total retail area in the farm stand. We will dedicate approximately 90 square
feet of existing retail space for the sale of wine and malt beverages for
off-site consumption.

Exactly what we’ll carry is still in the works, but we want to have a nice small selection of domestic and imported wines and beers that complement the food we’re growing and cooking. We’re thinking around 12 whites, 12 reds, and a couple of sparkling in a median price range.

Our focus will be more on the wine, but there are some great craft beers out
there that people love with food so we want to serve that customer as well. We’d love to carry Cisco products.

I see this as an extension of our
existing business and also a service to our customers. My staff is really
enthusiastic about me moving forward with this and I’m working closely with
my Head Chef, Neil Hudson to put it all together.

If the Selectmen approve the license, the application will then go to the State for approval. I hope to have the license in hand by June 1st.


Co-owners Chris Morris and Michelle St. Martin, formerly of Arno’s at 41 Main, have applied to the Board of Selectmen to operate The Pit Stop year round at the Trading Post on Nobadeer Farm Road.

Michelle and Chris plan to offer “family style barbeque, southern fried chicken and all the fixin’s available by take-out or ready to go items in the hot box. Bulk delivery and on site catering is also available. Breakfast sandwiches will be served daily in the hot box starting at 7 am.”

Expected to open in April, The Pit Stop will be open daily from 7 am to 8 pm, closed on Sundays.

The Trading Post is still serving takeout Thai food on weekends, presumably until The Pit Stop takes over.


Tess Anderson, owner of The Hub, has applied to the Selectmen to provide take-out light food and beverages at The Hub, including coffee, cappucinno, lattés, muffins and light pastries, cookies and fruit. All else will remain the same at The Hub.


Pazzo has applied to the Selectmen for an entertainment license for live instrumental music (guitar, saxophone, and keyboard) and a vocalist, as well as a dj.


The Nantucket Epicure: Thai House Restaurant


The Nantucket Epicure


By Mary Beth McCahan


Thai House Restaurant is Off to a Good Start

ThaiHouse

I unexpectedly found myself without dinner plans the other night and thought I’d take the opportunity to try out Nantucket’s newest restaurant, Thai House, located at 118 Old South Road across from the airport, in the space vacated by the Dancing Pickle last year. Thai House is operated by the Thairatana family, and they offer not only Thai specialties, but also a number of Chinese-, Asian Fusion-, and Japanese- inspired dishes, including a full sushi menu.

The layout of the restaurant hasn’t changed from the way it was when the Pickle was there – the kitchen is situated along one side of the building, separated by a counter, but open to customer observation. The opposite side of the building contains a small and nicely decorated dining room where table service is available. The place is bright and clean, and both times I’ve walked in (first to pick up the takeout menus and the second time to pick up my order), the room has been filled with appealing sweet and spicy aromas. Service, both on the phone and in person, was prompt, friendly, and capable.

ThaiHouse

ThaiHouse

For my first experience with Thai House, I decided to focus on their Thai dishes. I ordered a broad selection of items to get a good feel for efficiency, quality, and technique (yep, I have a lot of leftovers). My food was ready for pickup in about 20 minutes from the time I called, which I thought was pretty reasonable given the number of different things I’d ordered and the fact that there were several customers ahead of me. As I arrived, I ran into a friend who was getting takeout from them for a second time, which I took to be a good sign.

On the whole, prices were reasonable, portions were generous, and quality was good, with appetizing ingredients carefully and competently prepared. Flavors were bright and authentic, though in a few cases I felt that they could be better balanced, as I’ve noted in the comments on specific dishes that follow. Spicy dishes tend to be pretty hot as prepared, so if you don’t have a great tolerance for spicy heat, you may want to ask them to tone it down a bit when you order.

Of course, I never miss an opportunity for testing wine pairings, and this was no exception. Optimally, I would have balanced the heat in the dishes with an off-dry wine (like a Riesling, Gewürztraminer, or Vouvray), but since I didn’t have any around the house, I settled for an interesting white Nebbiolo I’d gotten last year from Beth English at Current Vintage (2009 Pietro Nera Chiavennasca Bianco La Novella) – though dry with distinct minerality, it contains floral and fruity notes that provided a nice counterpoint to the dishes.

Here’s what I thought about the specific items I tried:

Tom Kha Kai Soup (Coconut milk with galangal, lime, mushrooms, and scallion) – Rich, tasty, and satisfying, though with a lime tartness that was a little too strong and could have been better balanced with the other flavors in the soup. My enjoyment was also briefly interrupted by a couple of overly tough pieces of lemongrass that I’d rather had stayed on the cutting board.

Fresh Rolls (Lettuce and other fresh vegetables with fried tofu and noodles wrapped in rice paper and served with slightly sour peanut sauce) – While certainly fresh, I found these rolls bland and uninteresting, though the appealing peanut sauce helped to punch them up a bit.

ThaiHouse
Fresh Rolls

Crab Rangoon (Crabmeat with cream cheese wrapped in crispy wonton skin served with sweet and sour sauce) – I know, crab rangoon dumplings aren’t Thai, or even Chinese (word is that they may have been invented in the U.S. by Trader Vic’s in the 50s), but I wanted to try them because I haven’t found ones yet that I liked, and I thought I’d give Thai House a chance to change my mind. And they did. Usually when I’ve had them at other restaurants, they’ve been in thick wontons so overly fried that I could hardly taste the filling, but Thai House’s version were in lighter wontons that were lightly fried like tempura, creating a very nice balance with the creamy centers. Of course, fried things rarely do well in take-out situations, because they tend to get a bit steamed and soggy while waiting to be picked up, taken home, and eaten. But even with that complication, these were appealing (so much so that I broke my “working” rule and had more than just one). Next time, I think I’ll order them in-restaurant and eat them as soon as they come out of the fryer to taste them at their best.

Chicken Satay (Slices of chicken on a stick, marinated in coconut milk and light curry sauce, served with peanut sauce and sweet cucumber sauce) – The chicken was tender, tasty, and nicely grilled. An uncomplicated and pleasing appetizer.

ThaiHouse
Chicken Satay

Kung-fu Basil, with ground chicken (stir fry with basil, red and green peppers) – Simple, fresh, and flavorful, but very spicy (or so I thought, until I moved on to the green curry.)

Green Curry, with shrimp (rreen and red peppers, onions, zucchini, and fresh basil) – Good flavor, with nice, fresh vegetables that retained some pleasing crispiness and perfectly cooked shrimp (read: not overcooked, which isn’t easy to achieve with take-out). Sauce was on the thin side, but tasty. The spicy heat in this dish sneaks up on you, starting subtly but gaining significant strength as you continue eating. Definitely not unpleasant, but if you’re sensitive, you may want to ask them to tone it down a bit. I’ve had subtler, more sophisticated and better-balanced green curries in my time, but this one was definitely a contender, and I’d order it again (with less heat).

ThaiHouse
Green Curry

Velvet Salmon (steamed salmon filet sautéed with mushrooms, carrots, onions, red and green peppers, celery, and scallions, with ginger sauce) – A generous portion of salmon, in an appealing-sounding preparation, but it didn’t do so well in the take-out scenario. The plentiful vegetables in an aromatic and tasty ginger sauce were a little overcooked to begin with, and didn’t improve with the waiting time. And, piled as they were over the salmon, their heat resulted in an overcooked piece of fish, as well. A bit more careful planning on the chef’s part could correct this, of course, but if you like salmon, I think it might be better/safer to try this dish on a night you’re eating in the restaurant, rather than getting it for take-out.

Pad Thai, with pork (stir fried noodles with egg, ground nuts, bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, and scallions) – Nicely prepared, with yummy and surprisingly tender pork.

ThaiHouse
Pad Thai

Pineapple Fried Rice, with chicken (stir-fried rice with egg, pineapple, onions, peas, carrots, and raisins, with a light curry powder) – I have to say that this is not the best pineapple fried rice I’ve ever tasted, but it had a certain je ne sais quoi about it that usually is possessed by the best comfort/hangover food. The chicken and egg were nicely cooked, but none of the other ingredients, on their own, were particularly inspiring (frozen carrots and peas, non-descript and slightly gluey rice, etc.). However, together, they created something that was strangely compelling. I’m not sure how it was achieved, because as far as I could tell, the chicken wasn’t grilled and nothing else in the dish seemed to have been charred, but the dish had an agreeable charcoal-ly flavor that balanced very nicely with the sweetness of the pineapple and raisins, as well as the other components of the dish.

Yum Nur Yang (sliced grilled beef mixed with onion, carrot, scallion, lemongrass, mint, ground sweet rice, lime juice and Thai spices with Thai dressing) – This one didn’t shine for me – flavors and textures just seemed very unbalanced. The steak was on the tough side, the dressing was too strong and tart, the vegetables were wilted (from heat, spice and acidity), and the spice was so hot that it came close to obliterating everything else in the dish. I was surprised about the lack of flavor and tenderness of the steak, because judging from the other dishes I had, the chef seems to have quite a way with meat.

ThaiHouse
Steak Salad

Steamed Jasmine Rice — The steamed rice that accompanied most dishes was unremarkable – not much aroma or flavor, and rather clumpy. It provides additional texture for the various dishes, but it would be more pleasing if it was firmer and fluffier, and a bit more aromatic.

Thai-Style Fried Banana (Deep fried, with grated coconut in sesame batter) – Really, what more can I say than, “What’s not to like about a fried banana?” If I’d had ice cream and caramel sauce, I would have been in heaven.

The Bottom Line

Thai House serves creditable Thai cuisine, offers a nice range of other Asian alternatives, and is definitely worth a try. It may not be Thai nirvana, but it’s good, authentic, and satisfying, and also provides a convenient lunch and dinner alternative for customers located mid- and East-island.


Mary Beth McCahan escaped from the corporate world a few years ago to write, enjoy life, and pursue her passions, which are centered on food, wine, and Nantucket. Her recently launched blog on those subjects, Nantucket Epicure, can be found online at http://nantucketepicure.com.

Nantucket Restaurants Open This Week

RESTAURANTS OPEN THIS WEEK

Click anywhere on the list below for the most current version of this list, and to download a printable pdf. Thanks to Nantucket Visitor Services, especially David Sharpe, for providing the most current restaurant list. Please report changes or errors to David Sharpe at Visitor Services at 228-0925. For last minute guest room availability, call Visitor Services at 228-0925.

New Nantucket Restaurant: 12 Degrees East

Jonas Baker, owner of Slip 14 on Old South Wharf, has taken over the former location of Cambridge Street Victuals which closed for good at the end of last year. Photos of closing party.

The new place will be called 12 Degrees East, and will “feature foods from around the compass” according to Jonas.

Jonas ran Bluefin from 2000 to 2005 in what is now LoLa 41, and then launched Slip 14 on Old South Wharf in 2006.

Jonas was a big fan of the old Cambridge Street, so will keep many of the same elements and add a few new ones.

In order to focus attention on the restaurant more than the bar, you will enter through the other front door, the one closer to the harbor. Jonas says “I want this to be a restaurant with a bar, not vice versa.”

On your right as you enter will be a room for private parties of up to 12 people. Turn to the left and on your right will be a 6 seat raw bar with a chalkboard menu featuring seafood from Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Cape. Walk on through that room and you’re in the bar room, with tables generally arranges as they were at Cambridge Street. The bar will be just where it was, no changes there, and the open kitchen is still the open kitchen.

The full menu will evolve throughout the season. Most entrees will be in the $12 to $20 range, “simple and affordable” says Jonas. Cambridge Street was famous for its barbecue, and many will be happy to know that you’ll find barbecue on the menu at 12 Degrees. The seafood section of the menu will include Fruits de Mer and a cold seafood dish of raw and cooked shellfish. Apps may include a variety of things including cheese and charcuterie plates, ceviche, trio of sliders, tartars and flatbread, along with a small “Bar Snack” menu.

One welcome addition will be a late night bar menu in high summer – we never seem to have enough places to eat at 11 pm, do we. 12 Degrees will serve a reduced bistro menu from 10 to 11:30 pm, weekends to start, nightly if the demand is there.

12 Degrees will be open year round for lunch and dinner – most likely 4 days and 7 nights in the summer, and 3 days and 4 nights at other times of the year. Evening hours will be from 5 pm to 1 am. Reservations will be accepted, and walk-ins will always be welcome. Casual attire will prevail.

Behind the line, former Cambridge Street chef Dante Benati (at right with Trish Gallen) will join with Timothy Thatcher-Renshaw (Slip 14 and Cinco) as co-chefs; Matt Oakley (Slip 14) will be the sous-chef.

The restaurant manager will be Sara Balloffet (Slip 14), who will also be bartending along with Lonelle Rogers (Slip 14).

Jonas expects to dedicate a lot of his time at 12 Degrees while also working with his team at Slip 14. 12 Degrees will open around the first of April with a year-round food and full liquor license.

12 Degrees East
12 Cambridge Street
12degreeseast.com
508-228-1112
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Cinco’s Michael Sturgis Takes Over the Jared Coffin House Restaurant on Nantucket


Michael Sturgis, former owner of Cinco, will be opening a new restaurant this spring, the Brick House Bistro, at the Jared Coffin House on Broad Street.

Michael describes the cuisine as “sophisticated comfort food with a little twist”. The wine list will be “moderately priced and well crafted”. Though it’s too early for Michael to talk about specific menu items, he does say that half orders will be available for dinner, and some Cinco favorites will migrate to the new menu.

The Brick House Bistro will be open Daffodil weekend through at least Columbus Day weekend, serving breakfast (8 am – 1 pm), lunch (11 am to 2 pm) and dinner (5 pm to 10 pm) seven days a week.

In season, there will be a raw bar on the patio from 4 to 8 pm, with $1 oysters from 4 to 6.

The restaurant includes the first floor main dining room, lounge and bar, as well as two outdoor patios. (This is the former location of the Harbor Wok, not the Tap Room.)

Chef Alex Sigeti will be the Executive Chef – Alex worked as the Chef de Cuisine at Queequeg’s last summer, and in restaurants in Buffalo, N.Y and Telluride, Colorado.

The patios together can seat about 90 people. Michael is working with the HDC to bring back an awning over one of the patios, as it had been in the 60s.

“When I first came to the island in 1981, the Jared Coffin House was the heart of the island. I’m thankful to Steve Karp, Khaled Hashem and the Nantucket Island Resorts family for this opportunity to revitalize the restaurant at the JC House.”

Michael was head bartender and manager at The Opera House, 21 Federal, and the Brant Point Grill before opening Cinco, and for most of his time behind the bar, was known as the island’s best bartender.

Kathleen Hay Designs is making over the interior, adding a contemporary touch to the historic rooms. Kathleen is a Nantucket-based award winning interior designer, recognized three times as one of the leading designers in the world in the 2010 International Interior Design Awards.

New Owners at 21 Federal on Nantucket

New Owners at 21 Federal



Scott Fraley, Amanda Lydon, and Gabriel Frasca at the 2010 Nantucket Wine Festival

The management team of Straight Wharf Restaurant has taken over operations of 21 Federal restaurant. Chefs Amanda Lydon and Gabriel Frasca, along with General Manager Scott Fraley and Jock Gifford recently signed the new lease, and expect to open in time for the Nantucket Wine Festival, then open at least through Columbus Day.

21 first opened in 1985 as a year round fine dining restaurant under owners Chick and Mary Walsh, Michael Maloney, and David Fine. Nelson Doubleday became the majority owner sometime in the 90’s, and did not to renew his lease this year.

I asked Gabriel if he knew yet at which restaurant he and Amanda would be spending most of their time, or more to the point, who will be the chefs at both restaurants?

“Amanda and I will have a strong chef de cuisine at all three locations (Provisions, Straight Wharf, and 21). Mayumi Hattori, who has worked with me for eight-ish years, is already in place at Straight Wharf, and we have started to target a few candidates for the other two positions. Amanda and I will spread our time amongst all three places. One piece of the puzzle that fit so nicely when we were considering 21 was that this coming year we are very fortunate to have almost all of the Straight Wharf kitchen returning. That will prove incredibly helpful given the attention and energy necessary to get 21 to where we’d like it to be (or at least close). Straight Wharf is not a baby anymore, and though it still needs parenting, I think it will be good for it (and our incredible, dedicated staff) to take some steps on its own.”

I’d been hearing that the new 21, whatever it will be called (the name may not be available), was to be an “Italian restaurant”, which would increase the number of Italian restaurants from 2 in 2010 to 4 in 2011, so I asked Gabriel to clarify.

“21 will not be just an ‘Italian restaurant.’ It will be a Nantucket restaurant, seasonal, local, hand-crafted and modern, filtered through an Italian lens. Calling it an Italian restaurant will not be a limiting factor at all.”

“Italian cooking to me is the least humble of the peasant cuisines. One of its gifts is coaxing the best flavor and texture out of a secondary cut of meat, or often overlooked fish. In other words, roasting a pork shoulder instead of a chop, or a lamb belly instead of its loin. And, with the help of today’s cooking tools (circulators and planchas, for example), we hope to be able to fully realize those techniques.

“I never think of us as being in competition with other restaurants on the island – Italian or otherwise. Enough diners will come into our restaurant once, and if we do our jobs well enough – provide great service, warmth, genuine hospitality, good and interesting food, offer value, and leave our guests with the feeling that they’d like to come back – we’ll have a successful season. If we do that for a few seasons in a row, hopefully we’ll become a part of people’s lives and of their traditions.”

It’s too early in the process for Gabriel to name any of the dishes that may appear on the menu, but he did talk about his general concept.

“I think you’ll see sharable tastes of things as cheap as five dollars, pastas in the low double digits that could be doubled and turned into entrees, and some fish and meat items priced as high as the low-mid thirties. If we can find a great, local, humane steak that we feel good about serving, it will probably come with a low-interest loan.”

Will you be baking your own bread on the premises?

“As at SWR, 21 will be a scratch house where we make everything on premises, including (as of this writing), all of our pastas.”

Dinners are a given. What about lunch?

“Lunch and brunch are definitely possible. I would love to see the back patio filled with happy diners as much of the day as possible.”

Bartenders. Any thoughts?

“21 has a wonderful tradition of great bartenders, and we’d certainly be interested in working with people like that in the future. I’d be very disappointed if there weren’t lots of familiar faces smiling back at you this year.”

And the back bar?

“It’s fair to say that we are interested in making the back bar more open, not less.”

Do you expect to attract the same clientele as 21, or would you be looking change it in any way?

“We’d of course like better-looking diners, big tippers, and perhaps an aging philanthropist looking to adopt a mid-30’s father of two. All kidding aside, we are not presumptuous enough to try to choose our clientele. Hopefully the new 21 will still appeal to guests who have always liked it, and maybe pique the interest of those who haven’t been in for a while. We will work ridiculously hard, hew closely to what we believe in, and hope to find like-minded individuals who dig what we do. Clearly, there are a lot of 21 regulars who will be justifiably disappointed that a place they love is not coming back. That just makes it more imperative that we provide true hospitality from the moment we open our doors, as we try to convince people that change can be a positive.””

Any planned changes down at Straight Wharf?

“There are always refinements and improvements planned for the mothership, but nothing terribly drastic. In fact, this year, more than any other, I hope that no one will notice a difference.”

Any other thoughts?

“Just that we are thrilled, scared and humbled by this opportunity. We weren’t hoping to see 21 Federal leave, but once it became clear that that was the case, we jumped at the opportunity to write the next chapter.”

Nantucket Restaurant News 1.21.11

Off-Island Emissaries
Angela and Seth Raynor will be in Boston this weekend for the “Big Night 12: Mardi Gras”, a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters, their eighth time doing so. The Boarding House, Pearl and Corazon owners are listed as celebrity chefs, and will put out the second course. Other celebrity chefs include frequent island visitor Michael Schlow (Alta Strada, Radius, Via Matta), Chris Schlesinger (East Coast Grill, Big Brother), and Joanne Chang (Flour Bakery, Myers + Chang). The Neville Brothers and Michael Franti and Spearhead will perform.

The event was founded by Nantucket home owner Jim Pallotta, former Tudor Investment Corporation Principal and Chairman of Raptor Capital Management. Big Night is an annual event that has been consistently named the party of the year by The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald. www.bbbsmb.org/bignight/.


Dune Mid Week Special
Dune is now offering its special 3 for $25 menu on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, along with $5 glasses of wine.


$5 Burgers
Brotherhood on Mondays

Kitty’s on Tuesdays

The Restaurant at Miacomet, all day Thursday


Miacomet Specials
The Restaurant at Miacomet is offering a Friday night buffet for $17.99, and burgers are $5 for lunch and dinner on Thursdays.


Outdoor Dining at DeMarco
DeMarco restaurant has applied to the Board of Selectman to add outdoor seating for 20. The tables will be under an awning with sides, on a patio accesible only through the restaurant.


Cisco Brewers goes state wide
As of February 1st, Cisco Brewers Triple Eight Spirits will be distributed by United Liquors in Massachusetts, which means that any restaurant or liquor store will be able to carry Triple Eight Products.


Boston Magazine likes Cisco’s new Winter Woods beer

Boston Magazine recently gave an excellent review of Cisco Brewers new Winter Woods beer in their December issue. Winter Woods is one of seven of Cisco’s “The Woods” series, all aged in barrels instead of the stainless steel most commonly used.


Two other new beers in The Woods series are expected in 2011. White Woods will be a Belgian white ale aged in wine barrels. And Pechish Woods will be fermented with fresh peaches and aged in oak barrels.


From the article:
“Winter Woods … is a blend of a four-year-old Flemish red and last winter’s seasonal, Santa’s Beered, which contains honey, malts smoked over cherry wood, and mulling spices. Horner also added whole sour cherries to 3 of the 14 casks used for the blend.


“The resulting brew is a bright, coppery red when held up against light. The nose is slightly metallic, with a faint scent of those sour cherries. It tastes lighter than we expected — the smokiness is tactful, with just a touch of sour flavor right up front. It has a hint of breadiness, followed by a fantastic dry finish, making it delightfully easy to drink.


“The new brew will age well”, says head brewer Jeff Horner. “It’s a big beer; it’s 9 percent alcohol by volume. It’s only going to get better with age — up to 10, 15 years even. It will gain a sherrylike character.”



Epernay Liquor License Approved

Epernay Wines has been approved for a full liquor license, supplementing their current seasonal wine and beer license, and will reopen in the spring.