Being fulltime Cape Cod residents, we try to keep abreast of all things local. But sometimes new finds come in strange ways. To wit, while at a doctor’s appointment recently the chitchat turned to local restaurants with a summer vibe. As we idled past the usual fare… Baxter’s Boathouse, the Hyannis Yacht Club, Tugboats…a new name piqued my curiosity: The Islander at Crosby Boat Yard. Not being familiar with this restaurant or its location, naturally we had to give it a whirl at the first possible opportunity, which happened to be the day after my doctor’s appointment. We don’t like to let any grass grow under our feet, as the saying goes.
Armed with my trusty atlas, we navigated our way over to Osterville and pulled into Crosby’s. It was a warm and humid day, not full of this year’s ubiquitous sunshine, but not raining either. Born at the former Keeper’s location, the Islander turned out to be quite a find. The atmosphere and menu can best be described as Florida Keys meets Caribbean spice. Small, but colorful, the dining tables are arranged to take best advantage of the view out to the boats at the marina, and in the evening the setting sun. A large bar area dominates the cozy dining room, with an interesting array of summer drinks, especially martinis. And as Rich experienced, the pour is generous.
For lunch, I chose a pulled pork salad topped with a mango chutney over spring mix greens. Served with a side of barbeque sauce, the pork was moist and succulent and balanced perfectly with the bright flavor of the mango. Rich ordered the Cubaño, a combination of pulled pork, ham, sweet and spicy pickles, and mustard on grilled ciabatta with a most excellent side of crispy French fries. Perhaps the best lunch we have had all season, the Islander quickly rose to a new favorite haunt for those days when we need to escape the Inn and have a mini-vacation at lunch.
We liked the place so much, in fact, that we made a reservation for dinner the following evening. We enjoyed watching the sun set over the harbor from our table for two at the window tucked in the corner at the far end of the bar. A much different vibe infuses the Island at night. Filled with summer folk, a bevy of girls out for a night on the town, and a few couples at the bar, the noise factor was significantly higher, but our waitress was accommodating and the food just as good as we had experienced at lunch. We both chose the smoked pulled pork over housemade gnocchi with carmelized onions, BBQ jus and goat cheese. Again, the pork was the star of the dish. We were tempted to try one of the amazing sounding starters, but opted for a bowl of clam chowder and a “Hail Caesar” salad with housemade dressing instead. Both good choices, I especially liked the whimsy of the pineapple croutons in the salad, and Rich declared the chowder A-1, although the rendition he had at lunch was spicier.
A sister property to the Island Merchant on Main Street in Hyannis, the Islander is a seasonal restaurant, open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner through mid-October. Reservations are highly recommended for dinner and gladly accepted for parties of any size.