While the COVID-19 crisis has caused dining-room closures around the world, many restaurants are finding creative ways to continue serving their communities. Our latest Restaurant Spotlights highlight these efforts at Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners.
On Massachusetts’ Nantucket Island, the Pearl is a Restaurant Award winner that underwent a drastic restructuring of its dining experience in response to pandemic setbacks. Founded by husband-and-wife duo Angela and Seth Raynor, the Pearl received its first Award of Excellence in 2001 and was upgraded to Best of Award of Excellence in 2015. Seth serves as chef, overseeing the dynamic surf-and-turf, prix-fixe menu of Asian-influenced dishes such as lobster rangoons, Szechuan pork and ginger dumplings and yellowfin tuna martini.
The seasonal restaurant typically closes for the winter and reopens in April. This year, that opening was delayed until June 26, and the team had to reimagine operations after being unable to provide their normal service. An outdoor “chef garden” private-dining space became four socially distanced tables for dining in the garden, and additional outdoor seating is now available in front of the restaurant. The Raynors also took advantage of the extra space at their next-door Best of Award of Excellence winner, Boarding House. While that outpost remains closed, the team is serving the Pearl’s food and wine on Boarding House’s patio, as well as at three spaced-apart tables inside.
The Raynors also began offering two styles of tasting menus to go—a “surf” and a “turf”—with pairings available from wine director Samantha Shaw’s 530-label wine list, which excels in selections from France and California. Guests can purchase wine packs for takeaway too, like a bundle of three magnums and themes such as “California Road Trip,” and for the more curious, a “Wine Adventure of the Week.”