One Day in Nantucket, I Ate Here…
Eclectic and Gourmet Restaurant in Downtown Nantucket
“The place is always packed. They don’t take reservations and there’s always a huge long line,” Uncle Dean tells my mom and me as he navigates his way through the town of Nantucket in his small SUV.
“It just opened again for the summer two nights ago,” his girlfriend Kate chimed in from the passenger seat.
“It” was Black-Eyed Susan’s, a beloved restaurant by locals and visitors on the summer playground island of Nantucket, Massachussettes. I was on the island to visit my chef uncle. Kate had grown up spending summers in Nantucket and had worked at Black-Eyed Susan’s years before. “I served Meg Ryan once,” she stated excitedly. The restaurant was still as popular now as it was then and my mom and I quickly realized how lucky we were to get there in time for it to open again for the season.
In Nantucket, many restaurants are only open for a few months a year during the tourist summer season. In the case of Black-Eyed Susan’s, this meant half a year off every year for the owner and chef to travel, taste new spices, and create delectable new menu items.
Walking into the cash-only Black-Eyed Susan’s, I was struck by how small it was. It had the dimensions of a tiny dive bar, but the ambiance of something laidback with a distinct upscale accent. The decoration was rustic and on warm summer nights a small patio in the back opens up for dining. We were seated in the front of the restaurant by the window and soon I was eating an incredible meal.
First Course: Zatar Poached Beets w/ Crisp Pork Belly, Nicoise Olives, Creamy Feta Dressing, Beet Tops, and Raspberry Puree
Soooo….that appetizer is a mouthful to say, right? It’s also full of several of my favorite things, but I never would have thought to put them all together. Well, Black-Eyed Susan’s did and it was delectable – my eyes literally rolled into the back of my head in ecstasy upon eating it. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the most interesting, dynamic, and delicious pieces of food I’ve ever put into my mouth. I just wish I hadn’t had to share it with the rest of the table….
Second Course: Whole Leaf Caesar Salad, Asiago, Sourdough Crouton Spear
I’d pretty much given up on Caesar Salads being anything that special. Usually I go with a garden salad, but Kate insisted this was the Caesar Salad to end all Caesar Salad’s and got a couple for the table to share. Thank God she did, because this Caesar Salad reignited my faith in the salad and I now seek out trying to find something in my hometown to replicate it. A+ salad.
Third Course: The Fish Special
I ordered the fish special of the day, which was Cod, and it was cooked to a flaky perfection and served over a bed of rice. It had tangy seasoning without being too overpowering.
Everyone else’s third course…
Of course I had to take a bite of what everyone else got, too. This included the Maine Diver Scallops on Lemon Pappardelle, which was excellent – the scallops were flavorful and not even a hint of rubbery-ness (a common problem with scallops in my opinion); and the Cappelini pastsa, which was served with tomatoes, basil, and garlic. The pasta sounds boring, but it wasn’t at all. It had the ideal pasta consistency and lots of herby flavor with a hint of garlic.
Dessert! We tried the cookie platter with ice cream, which had succulent sweet cookies to dip in yummy soft ice cream.
Another great thing about Black-Eyed Susan’s? You can bring your own wine bottles and drink them for a small corkage fee. So not only is this an excellent meal – one of the best you can get in Nantucket – it’s also a great value. After all, if the locals love it, it must be good, right?