Yesterday's Island Today's Nantucket
Volume 41 Issue 2 • May 12-25, 2011
now in our 41th season
In This Issue

Brant Point Grill - Waterfront Dining at Its Very Best

Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant

Despite long stretches of beautiful shoreline, Nantucket only has a handful of waterfront restaurants, and the Brant Point Grill is one of the best.  

Brant Point Grill Patio

The main dining room and terrace occupy the harbor side of The White Elephant Hotel on Easton Street (along the road to Brant Point Lighthouse).  The entrance to this restaurant is an inconspicuous etched glass door marked by a quarterboard that opens into the handsome lounge in the BPG Bar, with comfy high tables and a long, gleaming wood bar.  Afternoons during high season, it fills with the aprés beach crowd seeking to relax and refresh.  And there are ample choices to do just that!  The “Creative Libations” section of the drink menu includes more than a dozen you’ll not find anywhere else on Nantucket.  We were very happy with our choices of a Trunket’s Twister with house-made lemoncello, the summery and slightly sweet Blueberry Caipirinha, and from the “Culinary Cocktails” selections, the Carrot Ginger Soup.  Yes, this is a cocktail—it’s one of the newest creations by Executive Chef Frederick Bisaillon.  Mixed from freshly juiced carrots, Bombay Sapphire Gin, and splashes of citrusy Yuzu and gingery Domaine de Canton, an argument can be made that this “healthy cocktail” is a fun way to drink your vegetables.  Look for a “Chips & Souza” culinary cocktail to be introduced this summer.


If you need something more substantial, from 3 to 11 pm the BPG Bar offers a menu of salads, appetizers, sandwiches and burgers that invite you to nibble or to feast.  There’s Grilled and Chilled Asparagus, Roasted Artichoke Hearts, Beer Battered Onion Rings, Lobster Roll, Fried Clams or Calamari, Beef Carpaccio...and the Burgers.  Burgers at the BPG Bar can be customized to suit your palate or you can tuck into the BOB Burger with BBQ sauce and brie or the amazing Benedict Burger that tops a thick, juicy burger with the rich goodness of that favorite breakfast dish.  Chef Bisaillon recommends you make the Benedict Burger into Surf-n-Turf treat by pairing it with the Lobster Bloody Mary!

Brant Point Grill Dining Room

Brant Point Grill serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in their classic seaside dining room, its wall of windows overlooking Nantucket Harbor, and on their Harborside Terrace, which offers alfresco dining in comfort even during cool evenings, with protective awning and overhead heat.  Whether you are seated indoors or outdoors, the experience is Nantucket luxury without pretension.  Here the customer is more important than the Zagat rating (which is high).  Tables are spacious and not tightly arranged (a real issue in several island restaurants).  Waitstaff is very well trained, knowledgeable about menu choices, and experienced—we were pleased that our server Christina was back for another season, along with many others.

Brant Point Grill Bar

Executive Chef Frederick Bisaillon, now in the third season of his second stint at Brant Point Grill, showcases seasonal and locally sourced produce and seafood in preparations that make the BPG steakhouse classics uniquely his.  He’s well versed in French technique and very familiar with Mediterranean and Caribbean accents—this all clearly demonstrated in seductive sauces, richly flavored reductions, and appealing accompaniments.  Dinner at Brant Point Grill is robust and satisfying as a steakhouse meal should be with fine dining twists that add delicious suprises.

While there are non-seafood appetizers (most notable, a superb Wagyu Beef Carpaccio), fish and shellfish dominate.  After all, you are on an island—why would you not want to sample some of the finest and freshest of the ocean harvest? 

click on images for larger view

On Nantucket, scallops can suffer from overexposure, but Chef Bisaillon prepares them like no one else.  Perfectly pan-seared, tops and bottoms browned and middles just cooked through, he sets the Sea Scallops on a salad of black beans and corn, with a bright swash of red pepper coulis a tasty accent of color and flavor.  Now the bad news: this appetizer was an evening special when we dined at Brant Point Grill, not a regular offering.  So count yourself lucky if you get to try it!  Suggested pairing: Hiedsieck Monopole “Blue Top” Brut Champagne.


Skillet Roasted Mussels is another top-notch starter.  Better than any we remember, this bowlful of succulent shellfish is served in a heady and hearty broth made with local Whale’s Tale ale and full of spicy bits of chorizo sausage, crunchy kernels of fresh corn, and chunks of sweet and juicy grape tomatoes.  You’ll want to spoon up every drop, and what you cannot get with a spoon, you can mop up with the grilled focaccia served alongside.  Suggested pairing:  Whales Tale Pale Ale .

Crab Cocktail

Crab is showcased in two very different ways for the early season selection of BPG starters: a chilled Crab Cocktail and a warm Nantucket Crab Cake.  The Crab Cocktail, listed among the Raw Bar Choices, is a well-composed presentation of fresh, sweet crabmeat topped with a classic creamy Louis sauce spiked with harissa to add a spark of heat.  Suggested pairing:  White Elephant Cosmopolitan. 


The Crab Cake, served hot and golden brown, its crunchy breading the perfect complement to the moist and succulent crab meat.  A chilled corn relish is tucked underneath, and a tangy lemon-chervil aioli is alongside for dipping.  Suggested pairing:  Miner Family Vineyards Viognier.

Dinner at Brant Point Grill can be completely devoted to enjoying fruit de mer, or you can design a two-course surf-n-turf with a main course featuring beef, veal, or chicken.  The menu will nearly double in size come middle to end of June, but with every choice a good one there’s plenty to please on this early season menu!

Steaks are always a good way to go at Brant Point Grill, and their Signature Prime New York Strip is not only a great cut of beef, it’s also expertly prepared.  The strip is thick enough to have delicious contrast between the pink interior and the crisp edges on the beautifully grilled exterior.  We sampled two of the eight creative side sauces offered.  The chef’s new Cranberry BBQ sauce is sensational, but would be a better match to the Chicken Breast Chop.  The Horseradish Creme Fraiche was ideal with the steak: just the right balance of heat and creaminess to accent the earthy flavor of prime beef without overshadowing it.  Suggested pairing:  Jack Larkin Cab Franc.


From the Chef’s Specialties, we ordered the Veal Chop Milanese, and found it to be delightfully crunchy outside with its panko and parmesan breading, and the veal inside moist and tender.  A topping of fresh arugula and orange gremolata and a side of warm red potato salad gives this entree picnic flavorings—an upscale alfresco feast!  Suggested pairing:  Picket Fence Russian River Pinot Noir.


In traditional steakhouse fashion, eight different enhancements can be ordered as side dishes.  These are served in generous portion, often enough for two, and vary from Bee’s White Beans (a 100-year old recipe and a real treat) to Garlic Mashed Potatoes (simple, but very well done).  We sampled the newest addition: Chips with Porcini Creme Fraiche, and polished off every single thick, hot chip.  The freshly-made chips are dusted with a spice blend whose secrets Chef Bisaillon would not reveal but that reminded us of a baharat.  The porcini creme fraiche had just enough mushroom taste to flavor the creme fraiche with earthy goodness.

If you come to Nantucket to enjoy sportfishing, with appropriate notice (at least a few hours), Chef Bisaillon will cook your catch to your request or in a preparation of his choice.  But you don’t have to bring your own—the King Salmon and the Swordfish on Chef Bisaillon’s menu are fresh from the dock and served in preparations that highlight their pure, clean flavors. 


The Salmon (one of the Chef’s menu favorites) is cooked with the skin on one side crisped to the point of brittle, the rich-tasting salmon underneath a gorgeous silky texture.  The fish is served in a pool of luxurious morel broth with petit pois and fluted morels.  Suggested pairing:  Velvet Devil Merlot.  


Moist, buttery, and sweet, the meaty Swordfish turned out to be a table favorite. It is very simply prepared: perfectly seasoned then grilled.  It’s served on a tender-crisp bed of purple tropea onions, their sweet flavor contrasting deliciously with a slightly bitter chicory.  Suggested pairing:  Sticky Beak Russian River Chardonnay. 

Cinnamon Bun

Desserts at Brant Point Grill truly are a grand finale, with choices as sinfully rich as their Steakhouse Chocolate Cake and as light as their Housemade Sorbets.  For a sweet finish, we highly recommend the Cinnamon Pull-a-Part...think sticky bun...soft and warm and full of sweet cinammon goodness.  Pair it with a cup of the special WE Blend local Nantucket Coffee Roasters coffee, and you can skip breakfast tomorrow. 


We also very much enjoyed the Goat Cheese Cheesecake.  To anyone who thinks that “goat cheese” and “cheesecake” don’t go together, we say “try it!”  This cheesecake has the familar light texture with a delicious tang cutting the sweetness and a light bruleed top.  Suggested pairing:  Chateau d’Yquem.


One of the best desserts must actually be ordered before you get your entrees, so plan ahead!  This season Chef Bisaillon has introduced individually sized Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler cooked-to-order and served warm with balsamic swirl vanilla ice cream. 

Float Chef suggests you “cool it down and warm you up” by pairing this dessert with his Guiness Mud Pie Milkshake, another of his creative Culinary Cocktails.  We took his advise and recommend you do as well!

Entrance to Brant Point GrillBrant Point Grill

at the White Elephant, Easton Street
Reservations suggested:  508-325-1320
Breakfast served 8 to 11 a.m. • Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  • 
Bar Menu served from 3 to 11 p.m.
Dinner nightly from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Dinner entrees range in price from $28 to $45
Full Bar  •  Indoor & Outdoor Dining  •  Handicap Access
Major Credit Cards Accepted  •  Families welcomed


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