You could almost forget the food and just drink in the view through the wraparound windows of the Harbor View Hotel’s aptly named restaurant, Water Street. You could, but it would be a mistake. Because, as idyllic as Water’s Street’s panorama is — picturesque views of the Edgartown lighthouse, the harbor, Chappaquiddick beach’s striped cabanas, old New England in miniature — their new summer menu might be even better. Their new fare is eclectic, even experimental, and commands attention.
Water Street’s chef Shaun Brian Sells balances the locavore movement’s back-to-naturism with molecular gastronomy’s scientific touches. The fruits of this marriage are evident in white balsamic pearls that invigorate the tongue, while his man-made vinegary caviar somehow piques the intellect. All senses are excited.
Here, the beauty lies mostly in simplicity. For summer, Sells lines up refreshing cucumber gazpacho with a smoked crema; a squid ink linguine with locally dug clams in a white wine and peppercorn broth; and pan-seared diver scallops with crisped fatty pork cheek, piquant watermelon radish, and a white miso dashi.
Sells and his team butcher and cure meat from a locally raised pig in-house and then slice the rich meat wafer-thin for their fine charcuterie platter. Fatty jowl, marbled shoulder, and leaner loin display varying degrees of lard and muscle, and are paired with in-house pickled vegetables.
On the sweeter side, a delicate panna cotta contains a passion fruit jam and peppery gingerbread, and a chocolate pate is paired with meringue and swirls of tangy balsamic caramel. Freshly made strawberry doughnuts and cocoa cupcakes are on the menu (which changes weekly) for Water Street’s Sunday brunch. After dinner here, one is tempted to get a room at the Harbor View and stick around for those doughnuts come morning light.