Restaurants & Bars

Nantucket Report (Long)

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Restaurants & Bars

Nantucket Report (Long)

MommaJ | Sep 24, 2004 12:16 AM

We just got back from a short stay in Nantucket where we managed to hit three Chowhound favorites with great success. As promised by some posters, we were able to get in everywhere with no waits or reservations, and the weather was divine! Our first night, after a rough weekend at home and a day of travel, we weren't up for a serious meal and went to Captain Tobey's for fried clams at the recommendation of our taxi driver (dumb, yes, but you do dumb stuff when you're tired and hungry). Of course, they were out of fried clams. Their "world famous" clam chowder was very tasty, but so thick you could stand your spoon up in it. Some places seem to think that's a plus, but I come from the Bay State originally and know that gloppiness is not the hallmark of good chowder. Captain Tobey's lobster rolls were good (made, as I think they seem to be in most places on the Cape, with a light dressing of mayo). The waitress recommended the strawberry shortcake, made with their "homemade" corn bread (really a thin, sweet corn cake). Well, as it turns out, corn bread is not a felicitous choice for strawberry shortcake, nor are frozen strawberries and canned whipped cream.

Breakfast on day 2 brought us to the famous Black-Eyed Susan's for brunch, where hubby declared the pancakes the best he had ever tasted and I thoroughly enjoyed my French toast. (Beware when asked if you want real maple syrup, that it comes with a $2 surcharge!) We split a side of homemade corn beef hash which disappointingly contained far more potatoes than meat. Dinner that night was the 7 p.m. seating at Company of the Cauldron (fixed menu), a real treat. When making my reservation, I had requested that they leave the blue cheese out of my vinaigrette, which they graciously agreed to do, and when they served us the first course, it came just as requested without any further ado. The first course was a medium rare grilled breast of duck, almost beefy in flavor, with an Asian type sauce and salad, that was just delicious, and I normally don't even care for duck unless it's well done. Next came a tomato consomme with tomato sorbet, light, intriguing, and just the essence of summer tomato flavor (tho hubby was unimpressed). Our main course was braised short ribs, meltingly tender, amazingly flavorful, fabulous (and I'm not usually a big beef eater), with lemon flavored couscous. Dessert was a flourless chocolate concoction, rich but not overly sweet--sheer heaven! Service was efficient and unobtrusive. I loved the place, and would return anytime, for any menu, as they clearly work magic with their ingredients.

Day three involved a quick continental breakfast at our hotel before an island tour, then an unremarkable lunch at the Ropewalk (on the wharf) because we felt like eating outside and watching the passing parade. We ate lightly in preparation for our last dinner, at Le Languedoc. This restaurant is one of the best French eateries I have ever had the pleasure of trying. Our room was small (just a few tables in each room of this converted house), charming, and presided over by an informal, motherly waitress who gave enthusiastic explanations and recommendations. My (NOT THICK) corn chowder was manna from heaven--the waitress said the kernels were added at the end and were virtually raw. They crunched lightly and were incredibly sweet; the broth was creamy and intensely flavorful. I could have eaten two more bowls and gone to bed happily. Hubby raved over his braised littleneck clams in a heady broth. We then shared an exquisite dish of sweetbreads (well, I got one piece). Hubby's main course was pork cheeks (we wondered if this was just a more elegant way to say hog jowls), slow cooked till very tender and tasty--he loved them. My main course was a bit of a miss, though. Described as poached lobster with polenta and asparagus, it arrived with the polenta stuffed into the lobster shell with the claw meat mixed in, while the tail meat had to be pried out. Both lobster and polenta were somehow bland, as well as being a bit of an unattractive mess on the plate. The asparagus was tasty. Hubby skipped dessert, but I dove into a gorgeous chocolate pot de creme.

Last day brunch took us back to Black-Eyed Susan's for more pancakes for hubby and a very good Portuguese scramble (eggs, linguica, spinach, tomatoes) for me.

Now I'm afraid to get on the scale, and I owe it all to you Chowhounds! Thanks for all the good advice.

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