Club Car Classics
Best deal on Nantucket?
Some people’s opinion are more valuable than others. I have a friend to whom every meal is fabulous. She will swear that the food at the family reunion buffet at the Howard Johnson’s in Secaucus was fabulous. Perhaps it was, but I am suspect...
Thus, I have been leary of being too effusive here; if EVERYTHING is always FABULOUS, then perhaps the writer will be perceived as too eager to offer praise. However, while everything is not always fabulous, I simply choose to write about what is excellent in my opinion and leave out the bits that are less than dazzling. Few meals are perfect from start to finish and it’s the whole experience (service, ambience, company) punctuated by a few “aha” moments that add up to a wonderful evening. My intent is to recommend those bites and sips that will most likely provide an “Aha” moment or at least make your tastebuds smile.
At the risk of over-enthusing, I will say that dining at The Club Car is always a wonderful experience for me. The food is outstanding and the service consistently professional. Chef Tom Proch presents a broad menu each night, offering a range of dishes from Continental classics (eg Sauteed Calf's Brains with Brown Butter, Lemon, Capers, Aged
Balsamic and Grilled French Bread) to his own interpretations of Nantucket’s farm and ocean fare (eg Pan Seared Cod, Sliced Vine Ripened Yellow Tomatoes, Lemon
Basil Sauce, Crispy Fried Maui Onions). Two of my long time favorites are the first course Oysters "Charlemagne" on the Half Shell with Citrus Segments glazed with orange and the seasonal Maryland Soft-Shell Crabs sauteed, with Brown Butter, Lemon and Roasted Pine Nuts, paired with Spinach Risotto. Divine.
The wine list is awfully simple for such a world class menu, but there is always a good bottle to be found and the Donelan Family wines represent particularly good buys. Even with a good buy on the wine list, however, dinner at a fine dining restaurant like The Club Car does not come cheap--unless you go on Thursday night.
In the Fall, The Club Car rewards anyone with the good sense to still be on island with a dinner deal to rival any on Nantucket--a five course menu with wine pairings for $75. Called “Shannon’s Classics” after original chef-owner Michael Shannon, the lineup includes each of The Club Car’s most famous dishes--And wine! These may be small plates but this is not light fare and portions are deceiving--we ended up with a number of doggie bags and savored the leftovers the next day for lunch. See the menu below and drool. Not every wine is a match made in heaven, but that is probably a good thing--if I hadn’t skipped the chardonnay it would have been way too much to drink!
A final tip--enjoy every bite of the supremely perfect creme brulee (large shallow oval ramekin resulting in maximum torch area) but save your port for an after-dinner song at the piano.
1 Main Street
Oysters "Charlemagne" on the Half Shell with Citrus Segments glazed with orange
Maryland Soft-Shell Crabs sauteed, with Brown Butter, Lemon and Roasted Pine Nuts, paired with Spinach Risotto
DONELAN FAMILY “Nancie” Chardonnay
DONELAN FAMILY “Two Brothers” Pinot Noir
SHANNON’S CLASSICS MENU (5 course, $75 including wine):
*Maryland Crab Cake
Mustard Cream Sauce (Louis Bouillot Cremant)
*Shrimp Scampi Sauteed
Garlic, Shallots, Brandy, Vermouth, Mustard,
Tomato Concassée, served with Angel Hair Pasta (William Hill Chardonnay)
*Roasted Almond & Walnut Crusted Swordfish
Pecan Butter and Mascarpone Polenta (Angeline Pinot Noir)
*Roast Rack of Colorado Lamb
Fresh Herbs, Honey Mustard Glaze, Minted Madeira Sauce (2003 Bordeaux)
*Creme Brulee (Port)