Restaurant Review -August 2006
by: M. R. Stanton
photography by: Terry Pommett
Good food you want to eat, without a lot of fuss, is the mantra at Slip 14, the new restaurant on Old South Wharf that has taken the place of Eat Fire Spring. Picture yourself sailing into the harbor, tying up at a mooring and coming ashore for dinner – or lunch. The carefree lifestyle that sailing typifies is exemplified in the menu here.
Jonas Baker, formerly of Bluefin, has hit upon a winning combination of creative coastal cooking that is very reminiscent of California cuisine. Fresh ingredients are prepared simply, with just the right accents to enhance the flavor. The chef de cuisine is Gabriel Kapustka, and together the two men have created an interesting yet accessible menu.
The Tuckernuck Lobster Cake, served atop a corn and avocado relish with citrus, is promoted as a starter, but the size of the cake leaves you wanting for little more – a salad maybe? Baker’s got a couple on the menu: Crispy Greens with Cukes and Baby Tomatoes; a Caesar with your choice of chicken or shrimp; and two dinner salads – a “Stepped Up” Cobb and Tuna Nicoise.
Baker developed the lobster cake when he was chef at The Galley years ago, and his recipe followed him from there to the Nantucket Golf Club, where he signed on when the exclusive club opened in 1998, and then on to his five years at Bluefin.
The lobster cake may be the signature dish, but overall seafood is truly the star on the Slip 14 menu and there are plenty of options to choose from. Sautéed Cherrystone Clams in a Lemon Saffron Broth is a delightful starter that requires crusty bread to sop up the juices. Cornmeal Crusted Calamari is crispy and piquant, tossed with sweet peppers and a spicy sauce.
A nice piece of halibut is served over a generous portion of rice, tossed with toasted pine nuts mixed with scallions and mandarin oranges. This is a substantial entrée on both the lunch and dinner menus, as is the Orange-Cashew Chicken with Snow Peas and Julienne Carrots over Coconut Jasmine Rice. Don’t worry if you have leftovers. The staff at Slip 14 is happy to pack them up in a to-go container for you.
Slip 14 has found a new way to serve a perennial favorite: Day Boat Scallops.
A trio sits atop a pool of vanilla-scented corn fondue, accompanied by shallots and sautéed baby spinach. Very yummy.
While seafood is the main feature here, there is a strip steak on the menu for dinner, and for lunch there are a number of non-fish sandwiches: a Black Angus Burger, Ham and Swiss on Sourdough, Turkey and Havarti and a most excellent Reuben, grilled and served on marble rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. All sandwiches are served with either a blue-cheese potato salad or delicious cole slaw with chunks of pineapple, which is just how my grandmother used to make it, and maybe why I loved it so much here! The Reuben is, hands-down, the best on the island.
Slip 14 fills a need on this wharf for a charming spot for a drink or a bite to eat after browsing the galleries and shops. There’s a wide selection of bottled beers, wines by the glass and half a dozen fun and pretty-to-look-at signature cocktails.
The Berry Sexy Cocktail is a tall glass of Stoli, summer berries and raspberry purée with a Champagne floater. Limoncello is featured in the Lemon Meringue Pie, while a watermelon margarita and mango mojito provide variations on favorite summer drinks.
Baker is thinking of adding entertainment in the late afternoons and some evenings, which was popular last year when Jeff Ross played acoustic guitar and sang.
Slip 14, 14 Old South Wharf • 508 228-2033
M.R. Stanton writes about food, wine and travel for Nantucket Today.