The former space of 12 Degrees East has become the new home of three budding restaurateurs. Chef Liam Makey, sommelier Stephen Bowler and mixologist Clinton Terry are fusing the skills they honed under Angela and Seth Raynor to open The Nautilus on Cambridge Street. If the success of other Raynor protégés such as the Cru proprietors is any indication, Nautilus will be bringing a lot to the table this spring.
Chef Makey describes his cuisine as a “melting pot” of big, bold Asian flavors and more traditional coastal cuisine. He laments that somewhere along the line “fusion” became a dirty word in the culinary world, and his menu seeks to right this wrong. “In a modern world where we can eat Korean barbeque in a taco, or have wok fried lobster over Chinese noodles in a fancy restaurant on Nantucket, why should I not want to experiment with different flavors and how they complement each other?” the chef says. “So with my food, I do not care if you call it fusion, melting pot, or even new American, I just hope people call it good.” Early highlights from Makey’s menu include tempura fried East Coast oyster tacos and a duck feast for four.
Behind Nautilus’s twelve-seat bar, the mustachioed mixologist Clinton Terry will be shaking up drinks you simply can’t find anywhere else on the island. A classically trained chef, Terry has poured his culinary expertise into his cocktails. He treats each drink as an elaborate meal, complete with hand-carved ice, homemade bitters, muddled seasonal fruits, twists, floaters and even flames. Watching him create a drink is like watching a mad scientist with all the bravado of a magician. “My goal is to create a boozy playground, a place to experiment and indulge your senses,” Terry says. But not to worry, if a “Nauti-Dog” with vodka, tequila, fresh cranberry juice, lime bitters, mint and “lots of island love” doesn’t strike your fancy, Terry is happy to mix you up a classic.
Further distinguishing Nautilus from Nantucket’s competitive culinary scene is Stephen Bowler’s approach to the restaurant’s wine program. His list covers all regions and price points, but even more intriguing is the new technology he’s bringing to pouring a glass of wine. The first of its kind on Nantucket, the Napa Technology Wine Station (see Neat Stuff, page 28) allows Bowler to serve expensive, high-end bottles by the glass. “The machine hermetically seals the bottles of wine, and replaces the liquid with inert argon gas as the wine is dispensed, allowing it to stay fresh for up to six weeks,” Bowler explains. Now you can taste some of the best wines Nautilus has to offer, without springing for the whole bottle.
In keeping with the fresh energy these three young restaurateurs are bringing to their new venture, the Nautilus space has undergone a complete transformation from its former 12 Degrees East existence. At press time, the doors were slated to open late April.