The Optimist Restaurant Review:
Inspired by the classic fish camp, although substantially upscaled, The Optimist offers a sophisticated yet casual ambience in two operations: a restaurant and an adjacent raw bar that stays open until all sated guests have departed. Here you’ll find a late plate of raw or wood-roasted oysters. Omit the fancy fixings and stick to lemon wedges. The bar’s noise levels are friendlier than in the main dining room, whose high curved ceiling reverberates sound. Start with the smoked fish chowder, with chunks of potato and creamy chive-flecked richness, or the sherry-accented, devilishly rich she-crab soup. Classic fish ‘n’ chips is a cut above the crowd, with torn fried pieces of potato accompanying the fish. Duck fat-poached swordfish is moist and still slightly pink. Side dishes based on veggies will compose a vegetarian plate. Soft-shell crab are served in season. The “beignet style” hush puppies dusted with powdered sugar and served with a cane syrup butter leave us perplexed. And the fried oysters have a too-heavy coating for our tastes, plus come with a white barbecue sauce that does little for them. For dessert, go for the house-made ice creams and sorbets, which are lighter than the primary sweet offerings. Wines selections seem seafood appropriate, and there’s a raft of rosés and plenty of Pinot Noirs for the grilled fish. We like the outdoor dining area, with contemporary Adirondack chairs and a putting green (putters available). Happy hour is Monday-Friday from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m.-4 p.m.