Humpreys By The Bay – New Chef At The Helm

| March 9, 2016 | 0 Comments

Days are getting longer. Weather is getting warmer. Spring is almost here. And, can summer be far behind? And with it, the summer concert series.

There’s little better than enjoying wonderful musical entertainment while outdoors during a balmy summer evening. One of the best venues for doing so is at Humphreys, a small place where one can get “up close and personal” with talent even from the back rows of seats.

Good acoustics, good seats and good views of the bay.
Humphreys, in fact, offers the entire package — concert, hotel room and dinner– in special show packages. I remember evenings watching concerts, envying the people enjoying the shows from the comforts of their hotel balconies.

The restaurant experience may certainly add to the pleasure of the evening. Because it is part of the hotel operation (Humphreys Half Moon Inn) , the restaurant (Humphreys By The Bay) is open for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. And, there’s a new chef at the helm.

When dining at Humphreys on non-concert days, there is usually adequate parking in front of and across the street from the restaurant. The building itself looks Tahitian or Hawaiian, with an A-frame design. After climbing a short flight of stairs, one pushes tall and heavy metal doors to enter a small foyer. Several walls are filled with framed photos of famous acts that appeared at the concert venue and at Backstage, a separate concert venue that is actually part of the restaurant.

Backstage presents local and not-so-local musical groups that play exciting music of varying genres (depending on the night). The good news is that the cover charge is waived for all guests who dine at the restaurant and enjoy an entrée.
The restaurant dining room is large, comfortably appointed, and looks out through floor-to-ceiling windows onto the back bay, the water between Shelter Island and Point Loma, The scene is filled with the spikes of small ships masts rising to the sky, as the lights of buildings in Point Loma twinkle in the background. It is a pretty and interesting view.

Private meeting rooms for large parties on the other side of the restaurant look out onto the Bay and the glowing lights of downtown.

Nicolas Bour is the new executive chef.

Nicolas Bour is the new executive chef.

Nicolas Bour is the new executive chef. He’s been there only a few months. He is focusing on modern California cuisine, although much of his training and background involved French cuisine. Most recently, he was chef at Lowes Resort. Chef Bour’s creations have received many honors. He has also been honored to cook at the James Beard house.

I have never eaten breakfast or lunch at Humphreys but have eaten dinner there many times and have hosted several large parties there. So I was anxious to meet and enjoy the cuisine of Chef Bour.

The dinner menu is pretty much a la carte. Side dishes such as wild mushrooms and bacon brussels are all at extra charge. Even bread (delicious Bread & Cie artisanal bread) is at extra charge.

The menu is not large but offers a good variety of dishes. There is an appetizer (First Flavors) listing. Humphreys crabcake , with coleslaw and creole mustard, is a delightful start to a meal. Butter poached lobster tail, with spaghetti squash, and Hudson Valley foie gras are pricey, but very savory beginnings. These days, good foie gras is hard to find on menus.

Entrees include rack of lamb, with charred eggplant, tomato and cauliflower and Jidori chicken, with black garlic polenta. On the pasta side, the menu lists Pappardelle with chanterelle mushrooms and grilled artichoke which was excellent. Scallops, with parsnips and bacon, were tasty but not very firm and had a slight fishy taste. The Niman Ranch cheeseburger, with lettuce, tomato and onion on a brioche was delicious.

The wine list offers a good selection of reds and whites, many of them familiar and from California, at prices that are moderate to high. The choice of wines by the glass is somewhat limited.

Entrees are listed as “Big Plates” on the menu. While the plates are large and while entrees are beautifully presented, portions are not “big” except in price. The range of dinner checks seems to run from moderate-high to expensive. But, if it is all part of a memorable evening featuring good music and good food, does it really matter?

Humpreys By The Bay Restaurant is located at 2241 Shelter Island Drive on Shelter Island. Call (619) 224-3577 for reservations and information.

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Category: Entertainment, Local News

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