Met on Main is serving up something delightfully Saltie this summer.
Sipping a crisp glass of rosé on Met on Main’s intimate back patio, owner Kathy Sidell feels right at home. She’s owned this restaurant on 38 Main Street for six years now, but her history in this space stretches much farther back than that. “This is actually where I got my first job,” says Sidell, who has summered on Nantucket her whole life. “Back then, it was the Sweet Shop and I used to work the ice cream window.” From that ice cream window, Kathy Sidell went on to launch a number of smash hit restaurants. Now she’s reinventing her recipe once more here at Met on Main.
From now until Labor Day at Met on Main, Sidell is offering the wildly popular seafood menu that she and Chef Kyle McClelland crafted in her small Back Bay restaurant, Saltie Girl. “It’s a concept within a concept,” says Sidell. “Breakfast and lunch is the Met menu and then at dinner the restaurant transforms into Bar Saltie — the sister to Saltie Girl in Boston.”
Bar Saltie boasts one of the island’s most robust seafood selections. The raw bar display is packed to the gills with live Jonah crabs, king crab claws, head-on prawns, mahogany clams from Maine, live razor clams from Ipswich, poached lobster, live sea scallops, little- necks, oysters, and even scorpion fish from New Zealand.
“We want to set ourselves out a little bit different from everyone else,” says Chef McClelland. “When in season, anything I can get from the island I will — mussels from Tuckernuck, oysters from Wauwinet, local black bass — but we also want to bring in fish that you wouldn’t usually find on island like king crab legs and live scallops.”
And it’s not just raw seafood. Bar Saltie’s fish dishes are prepared in every other way imaginable: tinned, smoked, sautéed, grilled and sushi-style. “You can come in for a traditional New England seafood experience or get something totally modern and international,” Sidell says. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
On the traditional front, Met’s lobster roll is piled high with succulent hunks of claw meat drizzled in butter. And for those not in the mood for seafood, there’s also perfectly executed steak tartar and steak frites as well as some vegetarian options. “The objective is to make sure every dish is as good as the seafood, which is perfect,” Sidell says. Whereas diners wait for hours to score a spot at Saltie Girl in Boston, Met’s long bar, restaurant and gorgeous patio are making this highly-curated Saltie Girl menu far more accessible.
Beyond the menu, when the sun sets, Met on Main slips into a sexy, hip vibe that goes well with Bar Saltie’s signature caviar martini. The rest of the drink list is ingredient-driven — orange, apricot, rhubarb, grapefruit, pineapple and prickly pear — served with top-shelf spirits in fun vessels, with some available for sharing.
Come the following morning, Met on Main’s patio offers one of the cushiest brunch destinations on Nantucket. Guests lounge and sip mimosas and bloody marys over orders of French rolled omelets and fried lobster over waffles. Meanwhile, inside, the 20 seat bar featuring four flat screens is an ideal spot to catch a midday Red Sox game over homerun lunch options like the legendary Back Bay chopped salad or brick chicken.
While the menu has evolved at Met on Main, the restaurant is still rooted in the same passion that Kathy Sidell first found working the ice cream window here all those years ago. She’s driven by a love of the island and wants to see to it that this space on Main Street works its way into the fond memories of her guests.