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Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet Peas

Nantucket Yacht Club - Dishin' It Out!

Caprese Salad
Crispy Calamari at Nantucket Yacht Club
Flatbread Pizza

I had the pleasure and I’m saying pleasure with my nautical, New England and yachtsman tone (plesha), to be invited to the Nantucket Yacht Club for dinner the other night. This is a special treat for me and anyone that is not a member of this long time, elite and historic club knows what I’m talking about. One can’t even get past the guard at the gate house without explaining why you are there, who you are supposed to meet or who you know. They, can immediately see you are not a member because you don’t have a sticker on your car that says “I belong, I belong.” I drove in with confidence that there wouldn’t be an issue and I was right. They were expecting me, I was on the list, “I’m in” I thought to myself and smiled as I said thank you to the gentleman and then proudly found a spot among the other “club” cars.

My friend and I walked through the lobby past the concierge as if we knew where we were going. I had been in the building several times for weddings so I was familiar with the layout. The lobby was lined with bulletin boards announcing all the fabulous activities from children’s activities and after glancing quickly at what we were missing out on, we made our way past the lovely wicker with snappy navy striped cushions, through the grand room with the badminton net set up for the junior day program to the hostess stand on the far side.

My host, happy to see me guided us to the patio to experience their Summer Grill menu. This was their first night of serving this menu and the opportunity to train the young incoming staff. I was willing to be guinea pig for the chance to sit on the patio, overlooking the beautifully manicured lawn, flags flying high on the mast and Nantucket Harbor with dozens of boats bobbing on the water. I was thinking, “pick me, pick me, sure I’ll come to dinner.”

The staff stood at attention along the wall to the kitchen door and wore khakis with pressed white button down shirts and striking ties. Smiles on their faces showed their eagerness to please their guests on the first night of service. We vowed we would not give our server a hard time, but be patient with him.

We ordered the Caprese salad which was beautifully presented and the fried calamari. I’m not a big fan of fried food, but lately I have been experiencing fried food that isn’t so heavily breaded which allows more of the natural flavor of the main ingredient to come through. I chose wisely as the calamari was seasoned perfectly, a little crispy without being over cooked and accompanied by a spicy togarashi aioli. Ok, now I have to look this one up as I’m sure you may not know what this togarashi is either. Let’s see.. flipping through the pages of Food Lover’s Companion…her we go, Togarashi is the Japanese word for red chili peppers and a general name for a group of condiments that blend chili pepper with other ingredients. So there you go.

As we inhaled the fresh yacht club air and people watched a bit we took the last bite of the appetizers and shortly thereafter the entrées appeared. I opted for the individual pizza, with goat cheese, caramelized onions, olive and pesto on a thin crust. Unfortunately, this entrée fell short of good. I realize that this was more of their summer grill menu, and the menu would be less formal than the main dining room, but I can actually make a better pizza than this one. So I have to be honest here, because if I didn’t well, I would feel like I wasn’t doing my job. I know that every restaurant would like a fantastic review, however, that will not happen. There are so many elements that need to work beautifully simultaneously to succeed in the restaurant business. The key is to have an owner and manager that sees the importance of the balance of all these elements, that means, décor, lighting, music, food quality, presentation, service and pricing. The pizza could have been a bit bigger and needed more pesto and more goat cheese. The amount of caramelized onions was great. Now my friend had the scallops which were terrific. Remember, I have this amazing deal where if I bring my friend, they have agreed to let me taste everything.  They were mouthwatering seared sea scallops, creamy mashed fresh peas and whole peas which gave the plate a wonderful bright color. Oh and the best part of this dish was the warm bacon vinaigrette. I like pretty plate presentations that also taste as good as it looks. This scallop plate was a winner.

I think we were our servers first table of the night and by the end of our meal, he seemed a bit more relaxed. As promised, we went easy on him and he did a very nice job.

We were so full that we opted not to have dessert. I wish I had room for it, but the top button of my pants made the final decision. Overall, it was a lovely evening and I enjoyed this special treat. I will be back next fall as I am attending a wedding there in September. So until next time, keep the wind in your sails and your appetite flying high in hopes of an invite to the Nantucket Yacht Club. 

Ratings: Atmosphere - 5 dishes, Service – 4 dishes, Food – 3 dishes!

Dishin’ It Out has a passion for food on Nantucket. Read more like this on Nantucket Chronicle!

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