Here's the run-down on the eats in Oak Bluffs this weekend - a perfect weekend to be on the island.
Started out on the Fast Ferry out of New Bedford late Friday night - No food to speak of (Combos, bag of chips), but for $6, I got the largest Jack Daniels on the rocks I've had in many months! Very generous pour and definitely made for a very pleasant voyage. :)
BEST OF TRIP: Friday night...
Getting into Oak Bluffs late, we scoured the Circuit Ave. strip to find that only Sharky's Cantina was still serving food. We got a seat at the bar and ordered a chicken quesadilla and chips with guacamole. The place was about half-full, and those present made for a fun scene - mostly local 20-30 somethings. The bartenders made great big mojitos (mascerating the mint and lime within view) and again, very generous pours on shots, to the brim.
The chow was surprisingly tasty - generous amount of chicken and cheese in the quesadilla - gauc was tasty with chunks of avocado, diced onion could be seen and heard - free extra chips that tasted fresh and lightly salted. I think this might be a little local chain (one on the Cape too?) and the O.B. version definitely did not let us down. Granted, we were "really" hungry.
The next morning, we walked to the M.V. Gourmet Bakery next to the O.B. post office...This is the place which serves the famous "Back Door Donuts" in the evening (more on that later) - we had a delicious front door ham-n-cheese croissant and an apple fritter that was the size of my head and studded with apple pieces ($2.75). Good breakfast eats.
Biked over to Edgartown - wonderful day - stopped in for a light lunch outside at the "Among the Flowers Cafe." Split a large field greens salad, with three generous lumps of goat cheese, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts with a cranberry viniagrette dressing. Also split a fresh egg salad sandwich on a bulkie, with bacon, lettuce and tomato. With lemonade...sitting out among the flowers...a pleasant lunch before a stroll through town.
WORST OF TRIP:
Having read some good things on this board about 67 Circuit, we decided to give it a whirl over its better-known neighbor, the Sweet Life Cafe. (Logic: We know SLC will be there next time.)
67 Circuit I found it to be really disappointing. First off, there were only 5-6 apps and 5-6 entrees on the menu, but the best looking ones of each (gnocchi with duck, beef wellington short ribs I think) were each sold out for the evening. Ok, fair enough, but at 8pm in the off-season running out seemed a little early. (A couple of folks came in later and actually left the place when they found out about the missing beef...they knew something we didn't.)
The room is friendly enough, although it is literally a living room of an old MV house...and the couch is still in the dining area - a little off-kilter, but heck it's the Vineyard. Somehow, everyone was speaking in very hushed tones...I felt like I was in someone's house it was so quiet.
Dinner started off with a small salad - some greens and a couple of pieces of herbed, roasted tomatoes - very light - dressing was a little salt and pepper with a beet reduction and parsley oil. I don't honestly recall seeing this on the menu, so it was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately for me, the best part of the meal.
Apps: My date had lobster and cheese filled fried wontons with some sort of a brown sauce - I tried one and the herbs inside were very pleasant - the brown sauce was somewhat mysterious, almost a hint of chocolate, but complimented the dish.
I ordered duck confit "Wrapped in filo" with a tomato salsa and steamed spinach, iirc. Not exactly wrapped in filo - it was merely sitting in one sheet open-face - The confit was overpoweringly salty - I have a very high tolerance for salt so for me to notice this, it had to be pretty bad. I didn't say anything having absorbed the M.V./O.B. vibe all day, but if I had been in Boston, I would have sent it back. It also was not evenly salted, so some parts were ok. It wasn't really a confit in the sense that it was not compressed - it was just a mash of shredded meat, almost like pulled duck.
My companion had duck, with risotto and wilted spinach - it was just ok - she also thought and I confirmed that the risotto was too salty!
I had a rare tuna steak served with some sort of brown sauce (again) with shiitake mushrooms, wasabi mashed potatoes and sauteed pea pods. First, my tuna was cold (shame on me for not sending it back to be warmed up) - but the brown sauce was so SALTY, it made the dish almost unpalatable. (Again, shame on me for not sending it back, but again that O.B. vibe really got into my veins, and this was supposed to be something of a romantic dinner...so I didn't want to make a big stink.) Again, it was just appalling how salty this dish was. Ack!
The wasabi mashed were barely there - I think I could sniff a little of that bite -
After the plates were cleared, I told our server that the confit was too salty and the tuna sauce was too salty - She sort of looked down her nose and said, well, the confit was supposed to be salty. (Sure, but not so salty that it could substitute for a salt lick).
Look, this place was the sort that you really want to like, but I have to say that unless I get more feedback from proven non-shills on this board, I would never return.
The quality of the food, the fact that the most interesting items were gone and the very high price point (mid-teens for apps, high 20s or above for ordinary entrees) just don't make it a very good restaurant.
SAVING GRACE - DESSERT of a BACK DOOR DOUGHNUT
By the back door of the bakery in the center of town, in the parking lot of the O.B. supermarket, there glows a light...around it flies all manner of adults, smiling and giggling, giving each newcomer that knowing wink of something illicit....indeed, the delicious doughnuts that come straight out are warm, soft and lightly glazed (and substantive...Take that, Crispy Creme!). As each one is dispensed to waiting hands, the recipient quickly shuffles to some darker corner to indulge...it's only a crime if you have more two. ;)
Apparently they're open until the end of October, starting at 9pm...not sure if it's every night, but if you're in Oak Bluffs in the evening, especially a cool evening as fall settles in, make sure you indulge in this little treat...very fun. Just follow the smell!
A medium wait to get into to Linda Jean's, the breakfast institution on Circuit Ave - We got our money's and chow's worth here -
Alabama special was a salad plate sized chicken fried steak, two very fluffy eggs over easy, lightly spiced red potato w/skins homefries, two biscuits and gravy, with good coffe.
My companion had three fluffy pancakes with a side of corned beef hash that she thoroughly enjoyed.
p.s. - I avoided the large bourbon on the boat back, but I thought about it.