Nantucket in June is everything you could want for an island getaway. The temperature is right around 70, all the shops and restaurants are open, but it’s not overrun with tourists – yet!
As is quickly becoming our tradition, we were on Nantucket for Father’s Day weekend and anxious to try out some new island cuisine.
We foolishly wandered over to Nautilus at 12:20 hoping to get a dinner reservation for Friday night, but no luck (the only way to eat at Nautilus is to physically show up before noon and get a day-of reservation).
The young lady told us that the line started forming at 10:45 AM and every seat in place was gone by 12:05. We may try again Monday if we’re still on the island.
We stopped at Anderson’s and chatted with friend Scott’s daughter who told us Nautilus was a bit of an island cult. She suggested a few other spots including The Club Car, which had changed ownership in 2017 along with their culinary focus.
Tess did say that The Club Car’s menu was more focused on produce, rather than protein, and as a home chef, I know it’s tougher to create a great vegetarian dish, so my interest was piqued.
Dedicated Farm to Table
The dinner menu shouts respect for plant centric creations and so does The Club Car’s culinary mission…
Our menu is farm-centric small plates of vegetables, local seafood & ethically-raised meats meant to be shared. We have a simple approach: sourcing the finest from local farms, growers & artisans; thoughtfully preparing delicious food.
We were joined by our Nantucket friends Harris and Nancy. Harris had arrived on the island at 10:00 AM after a 6 day run returning their yacht from the Bahamas. Not only did this mean good company and conversation, but it also meant I’d be sampling a greater variety of dishes!
Before I get into the food, a few words on the atmosphere. First off all, the bar is an actual club car.
The main dining room is classic Nantucket design and at 7:00 PM on a Friday in June, it was quite lively…
Although the place was pretty much packed, there were still a couple of tables open. Since we hadn’t made a reservation, we were happy they were able to take us.
We sat at a little bar just off the main room. Our server Jess was extremely well versed on the menu and every little detail.
Understanding an explaining The Club Car menu is no easy feat. Virtually every dish is defined by its unique combination of ingredients and seasoning.
Like Nautilus, The Club Car is a tapas style restaurant with a few “large plates.” As I’ve mentioned many times, I love this type of dining as it makes it easy to overload on flavor with overfilling your belly!
I began with their oyster tapas.
The unexpected ingredient was cilantro lime butter (it’s warm, not hot). While there were only two oysters, they were plump and just right as the ultimate “starter.”
This plate was only $7.00, which is $3.50 an oyster, which is the going rate for a raw oyster on the half shell.
Since this was truly a small plate, I also ordered the asparagus and artichoke arancini.
The secret sauce for this dish was the orange aioli. I can honestly say that I’ve never had an orange aioli before.
For my main dish, I ordered the crispy butterball potatoes.
Once again, I never saw this one coming! First of all, it truly was a main dish. I ate my fill and shared several with Mrs. Horne and Harris.
The surprise ingredients were tahini, dill, and pickled onions. I might steal this recipe, but I suspect my version would fall short of the original.
My dining partners enjoyed a variety of salads, tapas, and seafood…
Grilled lamb kabobs
Like I said, we ordered a lot of food, but we ate it all. It’s tough for me to put the menu in any conventional category. The unexpected combinations are reminiscent of Nobu in Malibu, but the dedication to fresh farm ingredients took it to another level.
Now I’m looking forward to trying Nautilus on Monday so I can compare the two. Our daughter is coming here for two days (one dinner) in July and the more restaurants I sample, the tougher it’ll be to recommend one to her!