21 Federal

21 Federal

21 Federal St., Nantucket, MA 02554

If you want to see what Nantucket was like before the new glam crowds started pouring in, head to this 1847 former guesthouse. The pink-pants-and-deck-shoes crowd has made 21 Federal its unofficial headquarters since 1985—and sunburned, just-off-the-yacht types can still be found here, downing martinis at the clubby wood-paneled bar, hobnobbing on the back patio, and crowding the tables in the homey, rambling collection of dining rooms. Chef Russell Jaehnig, who’s helmed the kitchen for more than a decade, can be creative at times (adventurous types may want to sample his pan-seared foie gras, served atop a banana tarte Tatin); but he never strays too far from the staples: seared local sea scallops; steamed Prince Edward Island mussels; sautéed halibut with lobster risotto; dry-aged sirloin with haricots verts. The one thing that’s consistently surprising about the menu is the price point—entrées cost upwards of $36—but then, observing an increasingly rare species in its native habitat doesn’t come cheap.

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