Last Tuesday, we did something that won’t be possible a few weeks from now.
We decided in mid-afternoon that it would be great to dine at The Tides that night, so we called and were lucky enough to succeed in obtaining a last-minute dinner reservation.
Don’t even think of trying that at this venerable island restaurant once “The Season” gets underway. A beachside favorite for many years, The Tides is heavily booked days in advance during the winter.
Even on an early-in-the-week evening in October, it was crowded. But when we arrived, we were warmly greeted and escorted to a cozy corner of one of the tastefully refurbished interior dining rooms. A very personable server, Anastasiya, quickly took our wine order.
For appetizers on this evening, I decided to order the grilled pear salad ($12) and my husband opted for one of the specials, the pan-seared sea scallops ($16).
My salad consisted of caramelized pears atop a bed of romaine, radicchio and Belgian endive, topped with candied walnut confetti and gorgonzola crumbles, with a champagne Dijon dressing. Refreshingly delicious.
But my husband’s perfectly seared jumbo scallops were a thing of beauty, served over a goat cheese polenta cake and accompanied by a basil pesto and a tomato jam. I had to steal a couple of bites. Sumptuous.
Then for entrées, I went for one of the evening’s specials, the bourbon crusted boneless rack of lamb ($44), and my husband decided to try the roast Maple Leaf Farm duck ($36).
My dish consisted of nicely sliced medallions carved from lamb chops served over a light blueberry lentil dahl. The lamb was topped with an orange, honey and cinnamon reduction sauce, and garnished with homemade mango chutney.
The dish was lightly spiced, with both North African and South Asian influences. I thought it worked perfectly.
My husband’s roasted half-duck was nice and crispy, and was served with whipped potatoes, buttered and oh-so-tender haricot verts and glazed carrots, with an orange cranberry sauce. He gave it high marks.
For dessert, I had an excellent crème brulee ($10) and my husband concluded with a double espresso ($6). Dinner for two with a modest bottle of wine, if you have dessert, will run approximately $160 before tip.
As we were dining, Chef Leanne Kelleher emerged from the kitchen a couple of times to greet regulars. Her food is great, but it isn’t the only attraction that keeps diners coming back. The Tides for years has had far and away the best front-of-the-house team in town.
Über-host Claudia Arens, who directs the dining room staff, spent the evening going from table to table, making sure all were well taken care of. Assisting her was Valerie Martin, host at Maison Martinique during its glory days when her late husband presided over the kitchen.
Even the servers treat diners as long-lost friends. At one point, Kenny (who was busy with a section some distance away) rushed over to say hello and proudly tell us of his son being promoted directly from fifth to seventh grade.
This solicitous service, which almost makes you feel like family, is part of what distinguishes this very special place to dine. If it sounds like we love The Tides, we are pleased to be in the company of its legion of fans.
I welcome your comments, and encourage you to send feedback to me at email@example.com.
The reviewer is a beachside resident who dines anonymously at restaurants at the expense of this newspaper.
- Hours: Nightly from 4:30 p.m.
- Beverages: Full bar
- Address: 3103 Cardinal Drive
- Phone: (772) 234-3966
Photos By: Gordon Radford