12 Federal Street,
These guys could hold their own in the New York dining scene, but we’d much rather eat on the patio, prime for people-watching smack in the heart of town. Then again, the newly revived and cozy inside dining is just as alluring these days, especially on a rainy or chilly fall night. The vibe is warm and the bar is buzzing with locals and tourists alike eager to sample chef and owner Seth Raynor’s creations. The menu embraces everything about Nantucket, from the fish to cheese and lettuces. Order a Blueberry Spring Thyme cocktail, a blend of meyer lemon, blueberries, vodka and fresh thyme while you wander the menu. We rarely insist on a dish, but we take exception in matters of “5 pm Fresh Ricotta.” Believe me, you’ll want to secure an order the moment you sit (before they run out!) It’s drizzled with honey and a sprinkling of fleur de sel, and paired with sliced peaches and crostini. There’s plenty of other great dishes worth trying, including the beautifully Seared Beef Carpaccio, renewed with a charred aioli, watermelon radish, lemon cucumber, and horseradish tuile. But our favorite dish on the menu is the Nantucket Fisherman’s Stew, a tangy, tomato-based broth, studded with a wondrously fresh melange of local Lobster Knuckles, Nantucket striped bass, clams and corn succotash. And don’t skip dessert. The pastry chef, Sarah Rebello, worked at A Voce in New York, before settling into The Boarding House’s kitchen. Our only complaint about dessert here is that there are too many good ones. The best of the bunch are the Raspberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding and the freshly baked Nantucket Creme Doughnuts filled with Sea Salted Caramel Creme, dusted with powdered sugar, and drizzled with a chocolate ganache dipping sauce. They’re open for brunch as well. (Think French Toast Bread Pudding And “Down South Eggs Benedict.”) We consider this gem of a restaurant a Nantucket rite of passage.