The Boarding House, the first of the Seth and Angela Raynor trilogy of restaurants has been one of Nantucket’s most popular places for 21 years now. The menu has gone from rather elaborate to really simple to back to the delightful middle ground it reached again this year. Under the guidance of Chef-de-Cuisine Stephen Marcaurelle and General Manager Chris Perrone, this restaurant has reached high levels of excellence while still feeling welcoming and comfortable.
We don’t usually write about dinner rolls, but our dinner begin with (for once upon this island) piping hot dinner and delicious rolls served with a dish of actual butter: a nice fillip found almost nowhere else this season.
The menu begins with four hors d’oeuvres: devilled eggs, mussels, oysters and chicken lever mousse. It offers 7 appetizers ($13-$20) and 6 entrees ($26-$42) as well as three table side dishes.
Knowing that the Boarding House doesn’t skimp on portions, we skipped the hors d’oeuvres but ordered appetizers and entrees.
We started with a wonderful Crispy Pork Belly ($16) served with a cylinder of creamy potato salad, pickled mustard seeds and watercress coulis. The pork belly was alternately crisp and smooth and salty, with the potato salad making an excellent contrast.
Out other appetizer was an excellent Farm Salad ($15), with tomatoes, candied walnuts, carrots, turkey and mixed greens and an excellent sweet-sour dressing.
Our entrees were Pan Seared Halibut ($36) with two kinds of beets, curried cauliflower, mache and rainbow chard. This was unique primarily because it was so tender and moist, with the beets offering a nice mediation between the mild fish and the chard and onions. One of the best fish dishes we’ve had this year.
Finally, our other entrée was their classic Fried Chicken ($28), served tasso braised greens, apple butter, with a rosemary biscuit, carrots and sweet gravy: the kind of comfort food the Boarding House has always excelled at. The chicken inside that delicious crispy crust was moist and flavorful: both the dark meat and the white meat (unlike that of lesser establishments). It was also enough chicken to take home for lunch: an enormous portion.
Let’s be clear, we could have ordered one of several delicious desserts if we could have found room for then, but the Boarding House portions are simply enormous, so we passed them up.
One amusing sidelight: the staff still brings a pepper mill to you (which Slate recently commented on) and Saturday Night Live satirized instead of letting you grind your own. That night it seemed to apply to our salt as well, that the waitress wanted to give to someone else. We hear that salt shakers are actually fairly inexpensive now!
But overall, this was a wonderful meal and we can’t recommend The Boarding House more highly. You are sure to get an excellent meal and service there. Our bill with 3 glasses of wine with tax but before tip was $148.
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