Yesterday's Island Today's Nantucket
Volume 41 Issue 3 • May 25-June 1, 2011
now in our 41th season
In This Issue

The Rose & Crown - New Energy at Island Pub

Cool and quiet by day and one of the island’s hottest nightspots after dark, the Rose & Crown on South Water Street is more than just a pub.  Yes, this island landmark serves tall cold drafts, potent cocktails, and entertainment every night, but they also offer a menu that includes soups, salads, appetizers, entrees, burgers and sandwiches, quesadillas, and some postively sinful desserts. 
The ambiance is laid-back, fun, and welcoming.  Walls and ceiling are adorned with carved whales and a mermaid, along with signs and quarterboards from Nantucket establishments long-gone and recently passed.  Strategically placed around the bar and dining room are half a dozen large screen tvs, so you can see the game from nearly every seat.

There’s plenty of room to perch around the big U-shaped bar adorned with tiny lights and photos of patrons enjoying their revelry.  Bartenders Christy, Holly, Heather, Michael, Jesse, and Rachel have been with The Crown for years, know their customers, and are one reason so many patrons return.
The Crown’s bar is on a different level and separated from the dining area, so parents needn’t worry about bring little ones in for a meal.  In fact, The Rose & Crown is very family-friendly and positively sedate till after 9 pm or so.  There aren’t many other restaurants on Nantucket where you can wheel a stroller to your table and where  you can feed a family without breaking the bank (meals and a beverage for the under 12 set are just $7.99).

The Rose & Crown is ideal for socializing, and the friendly staff and easy camaraderie of the place makes guests feel right at home.  During the off-season, it's THE gathering place for trivia, karaoke, poker, and dance parties—often a lively crowd!  Over the decades that The Crown has been a part of the Nantucket scene, it’s become a favorite among visitors as well.  We know of a group of 25 or so who trek over from the Cape every summer specifically to come to The Rose & Crown.  “They’ve been coming for 20 years...they’ve even gotten engaged at my bar, and I’ve been to their weddings,” Manager Debba Pitcock smiled.  “They’re coming again later this month.”

Debba’s staff enjoys working at The Crown and takes pride in what they do—and that translates into great service.  Kudos to our waitress Maureen who throughout a busy evening this week kept an eye on our table, bringing napkins, answering questions, and making sure cocktails were replenished.  Now in her third summer working at The Rose & Crown, she told us “it’s like a big family here.  I’d never work anywhere else!”

One new key staff member at The Crown is Chef James Taylor, who with his fine dining background and enthusiastic attitude is bringing new energy to the kitchen and new life to the menu.  Because of his background and experience, guests can order anything from a burger and nachos to pasta, steak, and fish that rival those served in less casual surrounds.  Most of what comes out of Taylor’s kitchen is freshly prepared in-house, even the salad dressings.

Hungry after a morning fishing trip or a day in town?  The Crown opens at 11:30 am every day, ready to serve their full menu.  There’s a great selection of pub foods that will fill you up and make you happy — and most of them are under $12—with prices like this, you can stay all day!
Toss back a few chips with warm Spinach & Artichoke Dip or a couple of Nacho Mama Fries with onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, scallions, and cheese sauce, and you’ll settle right in!

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Rose and Crown

There are three types of Chicken Wings at The Rose & Crown: Buffalo, F.C.H. Hot, and our favorite, Sweet Chili.  Moist meat and crisp skin coated with a sweet and slightly spicy sauce, these wings are well worth the sticky fingers afterward. 

Rose and Crown

For sharing, we recommend the new Charcuterie Plate.  The international assortment of meats and cheeses changes frequently.  We sampled slices of Italian brasciola and French saucisson sec along with crystal cheddar, goat gouda from The Netherlands, and a French Comté.  Lavash, pickled onions, cornichons, fig jam rounded out the bold flavors.

Rose and Crown

If you don’t want to share, order the Mozzarella Frita.  A welcome twist on mozzarella sticks, this is a slice of fresh mozzarella, hand-breaded and fried, served in a pool of vibrant marinara sauce and finished with shredded parmesan.  This is the first time we’ve had to use a fork to eat a fried mozzarella appetizer, but it does discourage your tablemates from helping themselves.

Rose and Crown

Chef Taylor is fast earning an impressive reputation for his innovative and very delicious salad specials, a different creation every week.  We heard about his Summer Salad, a luscious-sounding mix of fresh berries and greens, and his Peach Salad that features peaches roasted with rum and brown sugar in a honey vinaigrette.  We got to sample his Roasted Vegetable Salad that was packed with flavor...mushrooms, artichoke hearts, onion, asparagus, and a colorful and juicy assortment of heirloom cherry tomatoes all tossed in a delightfully puckery sherry vinaigrette.  This is a fabulously tasty way to eat your veggies!

We can’t offer enough praise for the Burgers at The Crown.  They’ve pared down last season’s long list to three outstanding choices.  The Smokehouse Burger, the Blue Ribbon, and the Cubano Burger.  The Smokehouse is exactly that—smoky.  It’s topped with smoked gouda cheese, sweet and smoky BBQ sauce, bacon, and crisp, crunchy onion straws.  The Blue Ribbon combines creamy blue cheese, steak sauce, and bacon for a burger that’s tangy, smoky, savory, and beefy.  The Cubano is an impressive combination of two favorites: a burger and a Cuban sandwich.  The Burger is surrounded by sliced ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and dijon mayonnaise, then pressed like a pannini.  Manager Debba calls this burger “my kryptonite.”

If none of those tempt you, then you can Build Your Own, constructing your custom 8-ounce beef burger (or garden burger or grilled chicken) from your choice of  six different cheeses, sauteed onions, muchrooms, and bacon.

Rose and Crown

Even the dogs at Rose & Crown are show quality!  They serve Kobe Beef Hot Dogs that take this American comfort food to new heights.  We haven’t ordered a hot dog at a restaurant since our kids were very young, but these hefty Kobe dogs are juicy, rich, and savory and served on sweet, buttery brioche rolls,—these dogs are for grown-ups.  They’re delicious naked and even better with chili, cheese and onions or Chicago Style with pepper, onions, sweet relish, fries, and yellow mustard. 

Rose and Crown

If it’s seafood you want, The Rose & Crown has lobster, cod, mussels, salmon, and tuna.  You can order the Salmon Tacos, full of roasted salmon in a tasty chili-lime vinaigrette, along with greens, onions, tomatoes, and parmesan, in small or large portion, though even the small portion (two tacos) is pretty large. 

Rose and Crown

Chef Taylor’s Orange Sesame Glazed Seared Tuna is another winner!  Also available in small plate or large, this dish is cool and refreshing.  We ordered it as an appetizer and were presented with slices of beautifully seared sushi-grade tuna glistening with a brightly-flavored orange-sesame sauce. Accompaniments include a dollop of spicy sriracha, crunchy seaweed salad, and an aromatic and very good coconut scallion rice.

Rose and Crown

The Lobster Mac & Cheese has been a favorite at The Crown for a couple of years, but Chef Taylor has kicked it up a notch.  A rich and creamy cheese sauce of aged cheddar and monerey jack is folded into a large shallow bowl of elbow pasta.  Taylor keeps it simple, adding to this sweet kernels of corn, discs of linguica sausage, and plenty of lobster meat.  Buttery toasted crumbs are sprinkled overtop to add a bit of crunch.  They really should re-name this Lobster Cheese & Mac, it’s a real adult comfort food treat.

Rose and Crown

Another outstanding fish entree is Taylor’s Cod Meuniere.  The generous portion of codfish is pan-seared and slathered with a buttery garlic and lemon topping that is as good with the satiny mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus as it is on the fish. 

Rose and Crown

Meat lovers will be well-pleased with either the Rose & Crown Sirloin or their Hanger Steak, and on Thursday nights, they can feast on a Prime Rib Dinner for just $12.99 (only while the prime rib lasts, so come early)!  Both the Sirloin and the Hangar steaks are grilled as you like them—the sirloin topped with herb-butter, the hangar steak with a rich, dark demi-glace.  We loved the thin hot and crispy fried onions that topped the hangar steak, adding an appealing salty crunch to every bite.

Rose and Crown

If you have room for dessert, we have two to recommend.  The Godiva Triple Chocolate Brownie Sundae is as rich in chocolate as it sounds. 

Rose and Crown And even better is the Peanut Butter Cup, which is like an inside-out version of the candy with peanut butter mousse standing in for the peanut butter.  Order this and we guarantee you’ll finish every bite, no matter how full you are from dinner.

We agree with Debba, who told us “If you can’t have fun here, you can’t have fun anywhere!” 

Rose & Crown

23 South Water Street  •  508-228-2595
Serving continuously from 11:30 AM
Entree prices range from $14.99 to $18.99, with
burgers, meal-size sandwiches and salads for under $12
Bar open until 1 AM • Entertainment nightly • Air-conditioned
Children’s Menu available • MasterCard, Visa, Amex accepted


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