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Nantucket, MA


baczkowski
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In a week my wife and I are going to take a day trip to Nantucket to see how the other .00001 percent lives. I've never been before and all I've heard is everything is ridiculously expensive. We're taking our bikes on a morning ferry and probably will have lunch and dinner somewhere that we can afford and would welcome us in our shorts. We were thinking a cheap eats place for lunch and a place for dinner with $25-30 entrees but I got the impression that that's a drop in the whaling bucket.
Any recs?

Pax,
Brian

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Without DR guidance, I looked at Boston's Chowhound and found a couple suggestions. Black-Eyed Susan's at 10 India Street turned out to be the no-brainer breakfast/lunch choice from CH's reviews, our experience, and confirmation from others we talked to during the day. With a Southern focus that dabbles in international influences, BES offers breakfast-only until 1 PM. The place is small and always packed, but we only waited 15 minutes for a table at 10 AM. When I was torn between which side I wanted--black-eyed peas, cheesy grits, or hashbrowns--the waitress said, "Why not get some of each?" Done. All three were great, but I loved the spicy kick and uniqueness of the black-eyed peas. For our meals, I got the best Huevos Rancheros that I can remember and my wife got a very strong Portuguese scrambled eggs that mixed in Chorizo (I think), red peppers, and spinach. I snooped through the restaurant to check out other people's food and saw amazing things, with the thick cut french toast seeming the most tempting. Though I rarely eat breakfast out, this was the best breakfast I've had in years. Total was $23 before tip.

Our late and filling breakfast allowed to hold off until 2:30 for a snack at the Juice Bar, which should not be confused with the Juice Guys of Nantucket Nectars fame. I had read on Chowhound that Juice Bar is by far the best homemade ice cream on the island and that for a limited time they offer a wonderful blackberry ice cream when they're in season. Unfortunately not enough blackberries are ripe yet, so they recommended the fresh strawberry ice cream. Once again I wasn't able to make a decision (this time torn between the strawberry and peppermint stick in a waffle cone) so they, too, let me try both. Both were outstanding, with the strawberry being the surprising winner despite knowing my peppermint bias. If you like the flavor of fresh strawberries and don't mind the seeds, get yourself a serving. Total was $4.

After biking many miles and enjoying the warm waters and sandy beaches, our last meal before being kicked out of the mega-rich's playland was based on a recommendation of a weak-US-dollar-exploiting Irish couple while we were waiting for BES. They highly recommended Pearl as their favorite restaurant over the last two weeks and our experience more than justified their praise. The menu outside lists some of their accolades which include the chef cooking dishes with Ming Tsai and Todd English for PBS plus multiple awards from national and local magazines. Their most recent award was Boston magazine naming their wok-fried lobster dish (2 full lobster tails and 4 full claws lightly breaded in panko before wok frying) the area's best seafood dish. The space reminded me of what Oya might look like if it natural sunlight ever crept inside and if it had a large historic home to work with as its skeleton. The food also had a similar Asian fusion edge but with less of an interest in dabbling in French food. We decided to share two apps and an entree that met with the approval of both our white-froed waiter and our mini-hawk dawning bartender: Yellowfin tuna martini with wasabi creme fresh, ginger, and sesame seeds; lobster rangoon fried wontons (the "dumpling of the day); and Thai curry scallops with Asian noodles. Both apps were fantastic, but the entree, which had spinach plus some type of pickled green mixed amongst the bean sprouts and (superfluous) fried noodles, declaratively made my wife's "Top 5 Dishes She's Ever Eaten." (To be fair, she told the bartender that Coconut Milk spread on newspaper also makes that dignified list, and he of course countered, "Were you here two nights ago?") To give you an idea about the type of service we received, two drinks were inexplicably comped simply b/c the waiter and bartender liked talking food with us and our entree that we split came out in huge bowls with servings that looked larger than a full order. All this for walking in sweaty and with hat-head at 6 without a reservation and snagging the only bar table since the dining room was fully booked (waiter recommended reservations 2 weeks in advance during peak season). By 6:50 we completed our amazing meal, said good bye to our well-tipped servers, strolled past the "beautiful people" who were streaming into this place, and lingered towards our 7:20 departing ferry. Two appetizers, one entree, and 2 un-comped drinks totaled $83 without tip. Ideal ending to a spectacular (and relatively affordable) day on the Uber-wealthy's Rock.

Pax,

Brian

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I'm heading up to Nantucket for a weekend with five friends in May and starting to look at restaurants. Anyone have any great recommendations? We'd love to try a few casual local favorites, one or two high end dinner locations and since we'll have a house for the long weekend perhaps a great local grocery/gourmet food-wine shop.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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