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Beet Salad from Sea Grille in Nantucket

Sea Grille --Dishin' It Out

Caesar Salad at Sea Grille Nantucket
Bouillabaisse at Sea Grille Nantucket

This well known, family oriented, family run restaurant is a favorite among so many. I have always loved the SeaGrille. You can feel the Cheers theme song playing as you enter the doors of this fine establishment. “Everybody knows your name…….” The staff immediately makes you feel like family. So I went to dinner there last week. I was reluctant because the last time I enjoyed my meal, I couldn’t but help focus on how the prices had increased and not how food the food actually was.

Once again, I was met with brown floors, brown booth fabric, brown tables and chairs. Dark, dark, dark. The artwork looks more like a chic SoHo gallery instead of a local hot spot favored for fresh seafood and fish dishes. Not the best way to start your dining experience. So I thought, let’s look past this and see what good can come of it. Once again I was shocked, the prices had increased. Expressing my concerns to my dining partner, they too were shocked, but offered to pay. I quickly declined, not to let on that I was on a strict dining budget.

We were greeted by a lovely blonde waitress who immediately introduced herself, told us the specials and offered us beverages. Really professionally done and she left an immediate good first impression on me. After doing a quick, but detailed scanning critique of the dining room, my dining companion reminded me that we were not there to “critique” the restaurant. Unbeknownst to her, that is exactly what I was doing. Mentally in my mind, making notes to remember the exact minute of disappointing vision that the space was dull, dark and not going to overshadow the high prices that had already shocked me on the menu.

I ventured on with gusto, looking for something to redeem itself. Our waitress returned with my friend’s pinot grigio which I’m sure was to wash away all the negative comments I had already made up to that point. I never bothered to ask if it was working. I chose the swordfish and broccoli since I was still on this crazy diet and I was looking forward to dinner which arrived on a nice large square plate. Unfortunately, my piece of swordfish was about 5” x 4” and maybe ¼” thick or should I say thin. Definitely not what I was expecting for the money it cost. I immediately tried to calculate the number of pieces that can be cut from a swordfish and what the restaurant was charging so I could understand what the entire value of killing one fish came down to. The dollars and sense (pun intended) of it all. I understand that restaurants need to upcharge what they actually pay for their food, but this was still shocking. I ate the small piece of fish slowly as to enjoy every mouthwatering perfectly grilled bite, but in the back of my mind, I kept saying “really, I mean really $34 for this". “Where’s its mother?” I was wondering.

Still I must admit, that my friend thoroughly enjoyed her steak which was perfectly paired with a medley of grilled vegetables and perfectly formed cup of rice. Overall my meal wasn’t bad, just expensive. As I mentioned, I have eaten there many times and love their signature lobster bisque with dill crust, their freeform ravioli and of course their bouillabaisse. The bar is a great place to sit as the conversation is always lively and as I said, everyone knows your name.

Two weeks later I jumped at the chance to let the SeaGrille redeem itself when a colleague invited me to dinner. We had a great seat in the middle of the dining room, perfect for people watching and I quickly decided on the Caesar salad and the Bouillabaisse. Yes, it is probably one of the more expensive items on the menu, but I was feeling lucky. My friend chose the Beet Salad and the swordfish, although I chose not to tell him about my last experience.

Our lovely waitress turned out to be one of the Harvey girls. Always pleasant, always with a smile on her face. The conversation lively, the atmosphere buzzing and the smells coming from the kitchen were making my mouth water for my dinner. The salads were beautifully presented, thus the photos, and then came the main course. Delivered from the kitchen presented to us like kings were the most beautiful plates I’ve seen in a while. The aroma of my Bouillabaisse was beckoning me to dig in and I chose to forgo the lobster bib that sat just to my right. “Forget that, jump in with both hands” I said to myself. This is a messy dish as there is some work involved to get to the lobster meat, and other clams but it’s worth every drip of succulent broth that comes with the mess. My friend enjoyed the swordfish which looked much better than my last experience which I was very pleased to see. So they won me over and over that night. I will certainly be back and like I said, The SeaGrille is the type of place like Cheers that everyone knows your name. You feel at home and like part of the Harvey family!

Dishin’ It Out has a passion for Nantucket Food.

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