The White Elephant Hotel and its scenic restaurant Brant Point Grill is a bit of an institution on Nantucket. It doesn’t get much more New England than the White Elephant, which is perched alongside a harbor where you can watch sailboats float past at sunset. Its menu is anchored by fresh seafood, flavorful steaks, and artfully prepared dishes. They tout having the best Sunday Brunch on Nantucket Island and it is said that there bar serves some of the best appetizers and cocktails.
As always, I had oysters to start, in this case, they were Grey Lady oysters. For the more adventurous, they have oyster-gazpacho shooters, which in hindsight, I wished we had tried.
Now to make your mouth water, here’s a nod to some of the dishes that are out of this world, starting with the 5 year old Balsamic with Basil Tomato Gazpacho – it is by far the best Gazpacho I’ve ever tasted. It was so good that I asked to meet the chef who was behind the masterpiece. Out came English-born Thomas William Pearson who prides himself on his relationships with local producers and farmers and cooking food at a very high standard. He’s worked with several big kitchens, including Michelin-starred, Star Inn in England. Yum! The soup (and oysters) are worth the trip alone and of course, you have the stunning view to take in while you dine for lunch or dinner.
They also have a delicious “made from scratch” New England clam chowder, fresh whole belly clams, fried calamari with pickled peppers, radishes, scallions, cilantro and Chili limo mayo, crab cakes and a Blue Fish pate. More traditional American options include burgers, cheeseburgers, sandwiches, lobster rolls, roasted turkey clubs and chicken wraps to name a few, not to mention their delicious grilled flatbreads — order the Duck Confit and oyster mushroom flatbread made with Gruyère cheese and Truffle cream. It may be on the rich side, but it’s also heavenly.
For fresh fish, try the Fried Atlantic Cod with cole slaw, the littleneck clams & pappardelle, which is served with heirloom tomatoes, fried basil, garlic and champagne butter over a pappardelle pasta. For the healthier among us, there offer a variety of very freshly made salads, including a lobster salad with tomatoes, lemon vinaigrette and avocados, which I tried. It couldn’t have been more perfect with a cool glass of Chardonnay on a lazy summer afternoon. The chicken caesar was also delicious.
The ambiance is incredibly relaxed, particularly for brunch or a leisurely lunch. The outside courtyard which I’d recommend sitting in warmer months, is surrounded by flowers and a big wide open lawn where children can play — it’s a fabulous romantic spot but it’s also a great choice for families as well.
And, of course the harbor is just beyond the lawn and gardens. The view of the harbor is sure to put you in a relaxing mood. It was a joyous sunny day when we were there this past August, the first time I had been to the White Elephant in probably ten years. Its charm hadn’t changed and we had fun watching children race around the lawn and play in the sun, with views of the boats and boaters in the near distance. We’d love to return sometime to experience the hotel, and I can only imagine that its an incredibly calming and tranquil get away spot on or off season.
Very charming and loaded with New England character – hard to beat!!
White Elephant Hotel & Brant Point Grill Restaurant
50 Easton Street
Nantucket, Massachusetts 02554