Nantucket’s Reef: Here’s the Skinny

I suffer from an ailment that plagues me nearly every day. It isn’t painful, but it does bring on pangs…of hunger.  This ailment is food envy, and I feel it most often on weekdays as I browse through other people’s photos on Twitter and Instagram.  Photos of tantalizing doughnuts, exotic sandwiches, and food truck delicacies make me wish that I lived or worked closer to the District.

The reality is that I am a suburbanite. Sometimes I need to just embrace it.  I do this with a visit to Nantucket’s Reef- a restaurant off of Traville Road in Rockville that just may be the antitheses of a DC restaurant.  It’s brightly lit, the tables aren’t jammed in next to each other, and there is free parking.  While the bright lights make me feel like I’m in a cafeteria, I can’t complain about being able to hear the person across from me.

Nantucket’s Reef is meant to conjure up a visit to a New England.  It takes some imagination to evoke New England in a shopping center anchored by Giant Food, but once inside it’s not impossible to get swept away by the nautical theme.

I am attempting to stay faithful to a weekday Weight Watchers regimen.  This is entirely feasible at a seafood restaurant.  I can’t help but think about many of my female dining companions who routinely order a serving of fish atop a healthy pile of vegetables for dinner.  I am one of you now, at least temporarily.

I’m torn between “lobsta” and crab salad.  I am at a New England style restaurant, so lobsta (their word not mine) seems like the way to go.  On the other hand, I am actually in the state of Maryland.  This sways me to order crab.  Both salads have the same elements: romaine, avocado, roasted corn, tomatoes, tortilla strips, croutons, and cilantro vinaigrette.  I hate hearing myself say hold the croutons, and dressing on the side.  But I have goals to meet, and weekend indulgences lie ahead.

Nantucket’s Reef crab salad satisfies my desire for a healthy and and relatively low cal dish. It’s not the least bit creative, but I appreciate the generous serving of fresh crab, and the tortilla strips sate my desire for crunch. It’s just salad, which makes it hard to make much of a judgement about the food, but it is respectable if not covet-able.

Would I prefer my friend’s New England stuffed cod with jumbo lump crab, seasoned cracker crumbs, and lemon butter sauce?  Why yes, yes I would.  Although, I wonder how an ordinary blend of zucchini, squash, and carrots can be called Nantucket veggies. I get that it’s just a weak attempt to incorporate the theme. My friend is delighted that the fish is served piping hot.  Accompanying corn meal muffins are a plus. And while she would appreciate more crab and less butter, she is satisfied enough to consider a return visit.

nantucket's reef

Nantucket’s Reef New England stuffed cod

Nantucket’s Reef calls itself  “a casual ‘New England’ style seafood restaurant with top quality fresh food, affordable prices, unmatched service, in a ‘Nantucket’ beach setting.”  The moderate prices are indeed a plus, and service is attentive. The menu also features a selection of oysters, clams, lobster rolls, and fried seafood baskets. Nantucket’s Reef may fill a void for those who are pining for a taste of New England, and live in the surrounding area.  For me, it doesn’t satisfy my food envy, but I am able to resist temptation and stick to my diet plan.  And that, as they say in New England, is “wicked hahd.”

Nantucket’s Reef, 9755 Traville Gateway Drive, Rockville, MD


 Nantucket's Reef on Urbanspoon


  1. Stacy Schwartz says

    Sorin and I went to Nantucket Landing with another couple and would say our overall experience was good but would probably not rush go back. Look like they had great happy hour deals as well so would be good place to have drinks and apps. We were there too late for happy hour deals but I did I have a wonderful martini. Sorin was excited to have a Guinness but it was served cold so he was turned off about that. The food was good but not exquisite. I had crab cakes that were just eh but the sweet potato fries and cole slaw were both delicious. Sorin had the lobster roll and it was basically lobster salad in a roll. His regular fries looked good but he thought they were a bit salty. My friend had the fish tacos and they looked lovely and she seemed to enjoy them. Her husband had fish and chips which also looked nice.

  2. Stacy- thanks for the detailed report!

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