[Photos from Yesterday's Island]
I mentioned last night that before the memories of our recent Nantucket trip completely fade, I still hope to write about our Nantucket Historical Association house tour and our dinner at DeMarco. Here’s my DeMarco post.
DeMarco is a traditional Italian restaurant with a limited menu of classic dishes, serving Nantucket for 33 years. It seems to come in for criticism for not changing, but what it does it does well, so in its case, not changing may be good. A month ago, when Gail and I were reviewing which restaurants we might wish to visit, I came across this feature on DeMarco from an early June issue of Yesterday’s Island. Its opening:
Don DeMarco has done it again!
Just a few weeks ago, DeMarco Restaurant on India Street opened the door on its 33rd season as the island restaurant to go to for fine Northern Italian cuisine. Fresh, local ingredients are emphasized in dishes that are creatively prepared, artistically presented, and absolutely delicious down to every vegetable and accompaniment.
Four years had passed since our last meal there. We decided it was time to return. And so we did, two weeks ago tonight.
Two of their classic dishes are the Pomodoro Verde e Rosso Fritto Capre, or Fried green and ugly tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, aged balsamic, and the Boscaiola, or “Badly Cut” fresh pasta, wild mushrooms, prosciutto, tomato, sage, cream. One can get a half order of the pasta as an appetizer. Already set on having scallops as her main dish, Gail couldn’t decide which of these two to start with.
It turns out that that article last June included a discussion and photos of several dishes. Had I re-read what it said before we went to dinner, we would have been in no doubt that one of us had to order the tomatoes.
One of our all-time favorites at DeMarco is The Fried Green and Ugly Tomatoes — a luscious stack of sliced, juicy red tomato and breaded and fried green tomato with basil, fresh mozzarella, and aged balsamic to make the flavors sing. Our opinion is shared by so many that DeMarco would risk an uprising if he ever took it off the menu! This appetizer should be on everyone’s list of “must-haves” on Nantucket.
But I hadn’t re-read it, and instead urged Gail to order the equally famous Boscaiola. She had it last time and loved it. I went with the Tre Lattuga: Bartlett Farm lettuces, shaved vegetables, Pecorino Toscano, red wine vinaigrette. (Bartlett’s Farm, on the island, supplies many restaurants with their produce.) Both were great, but the Boscaiola is rich, and Gail decided she might have done better by starting with the tomatoes.
I had the Pasta Bolognese as my main dish. Although I don’t see it on their online menu, it’s one of their standards. And it uses the same pasta as in Gail’s Boscaiola. I couldn’t have been happier. The sauce was rich, tasty, excellent, and the wide-noodle pasta is perfection.
For dessert, Gail chose the tiramisu, also featured in the Yesterday’s Island article, and deservedly so. I had a sorbet, the details of which escape me. It was red, or purplish-red. Some kind of berry. Delicious.
Over the course of the evening, we heard bits of conversation at a couple of neighboring tables — plus a conversation between an arriving customer and Don — that suggested his thirty-three year run was about to end. Soon. Like, that week. The next night, someone staying at the inn with us, on learning we had eaten there, said that indeed they were closing. Don was retiring. Yet, even today, when I look at the website, there’s not a clue that Demarco has closed, or will soon.
On the other hand, someone posted the following on the DeMarco Facebook page two Saturdays ago:
It is realy hard for me to write this down, but I guess it is my responsibility and Jareds to let you know that DeMarco Restaurant is closing forever this sunday. After 33 years since its a restaurant, DeMarco became a home for soo many people and part of their life. I believe that we should all say thank you Don and Terese for this experience that you gave us. Thank you for the memories that we will always bring with us wherever we go next. I believe that many of you found at DeMarco friends that they can count on for the rest of their life, because DeMarco was never just a job but a family. For all of you who know someone that is not in this page please let them know that DeMarco is closing. Cheers for all of you out there from the last crew of the restaurant. I hope we will see each other again
So apparently they closed the day we left the island. Good thing we went when we did. We only regret that we didn’t go more often. We’ll miss it.