Our dinner at Oran Mor last night was easily the top meal we enjoyed on Nantucket this season. From the food to the service to the ambience, Chef Chris Freeman’s elegant restaurant led the pack of excellent restaurants to our top experience, and we are pleased to name Oran Mor Nantiucket's Top Restaurant of 2013.
At the top of the stairs, you are met by the hostess who leads you to one of several small comfortable dining rooms, where you get water, bread (and butter) and a wine list before the menu is even broached. This makes for a relaxing, low-key experience.
There are seven appetizers ($14-$22) and seven entrees ($29-$36) on the menu, and you can also arrange a tasting menu for the whole table for $95 per person.
The light Chilled Maine Lobster Salad ($22) was a subtle winner, served on compressed watermelon, orange, avocado, radish slices and with subtle bits of candied jalapeno scattered throughout. Here is one dish was two things we’d never had before: compressed watermelon, which had a firmer texture but much the same flavor, and the candied jalapeno pieces which were not so numerous as to overpower the subtle lobster flavor, but added a welcome brightening to the salad sweet base fruit flavors.
Even more marvelous were the Smoked Local Corn and House Made Ricotta Pierogies ($16), served with beer braised Vidalia onions, and Baked Potato Aioli. These delightful little “potato raviolis” had such a mixture of interesting flavors, with the smoked corn approximating a bacon flavor, and the ricotta providing delicious richness.
The Roasted Spiced Pekin Duck Breast and Confit ($34) served with organic Emmer, Quinoa toasted hazelnuts, parsnip puree and a huge smoked blackberry was a delightful turn on the conventional duck breast service. In additional to being tender and perfectly prepared medium rare, the grains, parsnip puree and hazelnuts made the duck much more interesting, providing both texture and flavor contrasts.
And the towering swordfish presentation was simply spectacular. The Roasted Marinated Swordfish ($35) with duck fat fingerling potatoes, linguini cleverly prepared from zucchini strips, was served with Jonah Crab and a basil béarnaise. A visual as well as a gustatory delight with the pieces of swordfish stacked on the zucchini which was stacked on the potato slices, and decorated with a few cherry tomato halves and a lettuce leaf.
We particularly want to note that when we asked for a glass of Pinot Noir to go with our duck, our waitress suggested that we would do better to order a glass of the Cote du Rhone ($11) instead.
For dessert, we split their classic Dark Chocolate Brownie Bread Pudding Coco Nib Croquant, served with Vanilla Ice Cream ($11). The brownie was topped with a clear sugar wafer, and was warm and soft rather like a lava cake. A delicious end to an excellent meal.
Our bill with tax, but before tip, including coffee, tea, three glasses of wine and a cocktail was $183, and this money was well spent on the finest meal we had in our 3 weeks on the island. Kudos to Chris and Heather Freeman and the entire staff or Oran Mor!