Sunset on the harbor...
It’s kind of strange to switch to my summer home for writing. It’s been a few years since I last worked out here, and the island has changed an awful lot. One thing that hasn’t is the quality of food at Dead Eye Dicks, and their 10/10 view.
I was sitting in Club Soda, the island dive bar, working (instead of socializing) on a Saturday night. Before last call, I’m really that lame, a server from Dead Eye Dick’s convinced me to stop by the next day. Of course I agreed, I hosted there back in the day and know just how fresh the food coming out of that kitchen is.
Naturally, I tried to catch the tail end of the sunset, and the dinner rush — and succeeded. Sergio had a table for me in his section, despite his section being outside. The bartender put together the perfect mock tail — a blackberry lemonade with ginger beer. It was dry, and very much a cocktail — without the booze. I haven’t found many bartenders capable of making a sober drink feel adult, and well, enjoyable. It’s a craft for him, not just a job.
I went simple. You can always tell the quality of a restaurant with a simple menu dish. A burger, a salad — something fairly easy to put together. If a kitchen is good, they’ll never let the simple dishes get sloppy. The fried oysters were clearly fresh, and fresh off the fryer. The exterior of each piece was a clean, crisp golden brown — so the oil, after a long dinner, is clean. After working many long days at FrooZies on island, I know how meticulous you have to be to keep the oil clean. None of the oysters were oily or soggy. The mango salsa was fresh, laid under the oyster, with a sirarcha aioli on top. There was enough spice that the oysters had a kick but it didn’t linger or get too hot. The flavors of the citrus and aioli matched the oysters well without over powering them.
Next, because this cheese is a favorite, came the arugula and ricotta salad. The use of both grapes and golden raisins was a bold one, but it works, the dried golden raisins offering a different kind of sweetness, and a different texture. The two fruits (technically 1 right?) matched the salty flavor of the ricotta salata. The cheese isn’t a soft ricotta but rather a harder cheese. It does fall apart and still constitutes a soft cheese, but has structure and form to it. The onion vinaigrette was subtle without wilting the arugula but offering a nice flavor against the sharpness of the arugula — a fine balance.
Dead Eye Dick’s won’t disappoint. The price point is even with much of the island, with a solid value that isn’t just a Sysco truck regurgitation. The menu items are well crafted with fresh ingredients. The location is absolutely to die for no matter the time of year. On a summer night, it’s a great spot to share apps and entrees with friends in front of a fire overlooking the harbor. Come fall or spring? The wall to wall windows offer a perfect vantage point to reminisce of summer.