American Seasons: classy cooking, friendly environment

Lobster with squid ink chitarra

We returned again this year to Neil Ferguson’s American Seasons, 80 Centre St, for another fine meal. This is Ferguson’s third year as chef/owner of this Nantucket classic, and the menu is now definitely his own and more imaginative than ever.

The restaurant is dark but comfortable, with the original board game table designs remaining. The waitstaff was efficient and knowledgeable, and we were even able to meet Ferguson briefly as he talked with some of the diners.

Top on our list of great dishes this year, was his Lobster and Squid Ink Chitarra ($20, above) with lemon basil, ‘nduja (a spicy pork spread) and Calabrian chili. Chitarra is a pasta made, in this case, with squid ink and with lobster and spices infused into the pasta itself. The overall effect is sort of an upscale regional Italian variation on Lobster Fra Diavolo. Every bite of the house-made pasta had some of the spicy flavors of the sauce, and enhanced the lobster pieces.

Our other appetizer was a Salad of Beets, Bitter greens, House made Yogurt, lime and pumpkin seeds ($16). While this was a great salad we sort of wished for more beets per unit greens.

Salmon with cheery tomato confit

One of our entrees was Salmon with confit of Pumpkin Pond tomatoes, smoked eggplant and garam masala ($35). The salmon was tender, but with a crunchy top crust, and the yellow cherry tomatoes were so sweet we thought they were some sweeter fruit. And this might have been one of the best ways I’ve ever had eggplant! Did you ever wonder why restaurants serve fish in rectangles? Do they grow that way, or are there trimmings?

Canneloni of veal breast

Finally, we had Canneloni of Veal Breast ($35), with wild mushrooms, ruby chard and Parmesan cream, that had a sweet, rich flavor almost like a stroganoff or Zurig’schnetzlets. Rather different than the Italian restaurant version of cannelloni, and far superior.

Desserts vary a bit from day to day, and while they sounded wonderful, we didn’t have room.

Again, American Seasons is a restaurant you should go to: the food and service are excellent.

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