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A Delight for the Palate at Rockfish
The Latest Jewel in the Crown for Santoro Hospitality

By Lisa C. Belcastro, Photos by Charlie Utz

Sometimes writing is so much fun it’s hard to imagine someone is paying me to do it. Such was the case last week when we did a photo shoot and interview at Rockfish in Edgartown. I know this is a cuisine column and I’m blessed to eat at many wonderful restaurants, but Rockfish was a true treat. One fabulous bite after another.

Have you been to Rockfish lately? Mike Santoro, owner of The Lookout Tavern and other Island eateries, purchased Rockfish in October of 2022. “The restaurant had been for sale in 2021. I was done buying and didn’t need another restaurant. In September 2022, my attorney called and told me Rockfish was still available and the price had been reduced. I thought about my staff who used to work at the Ocean View (which tragicly burned down in March 2022). I had the staff to be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. I did the walk through. It took me less than a week to decide to buy it,” said Mike.

I have been into Rockfish for lunch multiple times this winter, but I hadn’t eaten dinner there since Mike bought it. Mike and his team kept many of  the Rockfish favorites and added in more seafood items. After our Vineyard Style photo shoot and tasting, I can’t wait to have dinner there next week. Admittedly, I’ll be torn between what entrée to order.

Much to my delight, Chef Jason Miskovsky sent out a plate of crab cakes for our first photos and taste-testing. Oh my gosh – so good. The Old Bay Remoulade sauce took the crab to a higher level. The sauce had the known “Old Bay” flavor with just a hint of heat. The crab cakes are now a must order appetizer every time I go to Rockfish.

Our next appetizer was the Roasted Golden Beet Salad topped with a perfectly grilled piece of salmon. The salmon was my favorite part of the salad, but I have to say that the hint of sherry vinaigrette enhanced the flavor of the salad without overwhelming the beets and greens.  

I’m aware that many people love wings, and I mean love chicken wings. I’m not one of them. I’ll always choose crab cakes or a salad over wings. That said, the Tuscan-Style Jumbo Wings were lip-smacking good. If you’re a wing lover, let us know how these rank in your favorite Island wings. If someone else at my table ordered them, I’d definitely need to have one.

The wings and beet salad were originals to Rockfish when Mike bought it. He recognized their popularity and left them on the menu. “If I took the wings off, I’d probably lose 50 regular customers,” said Mike. “The wings and the mussels are the most popular,” said manager Mike Sopp, adding, “The crab cakes and Prince Edward Island mussels are new additions since Mike took over.”

“They had cod on the menu, but not a lot of seafood. We added mussels, the lobster roll, the halibut, and the crab cakes,” said Mike. “I own a fish market (Net Result, purchased in 2019), so we were going to add seafood.”  

Speaking of the cod, Chef Jason sent the Oven Roasted Cod out for our first entrée. It was almost too pretty to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I ate it, but only after admiring the presentation for a few minutes. Jason had truly created a piece of art. When you order this delicious dish, pause for a minute or two and enjoy the beauty. The meal will taste better as you appreciate Jason’s talents. Then when the citrus beurre blanc glides over your taste buds, you’ll be fully ready to appreciate the flavors of summer. I have a dear friend who lives in Charleston, SC. I have been to Charleston a few times and had ordered shrimp and grits on those visits. When Jason sent out his Shrimp & Grits, I couldn’t wait to try them. Gone was a soupy bowl of grits. Instead, Jason had prepared a cheesy grit cake layered with shrimp and vegetables. It is delicious. Better than any southern grits I’ve had.  

If you’re a steak lover, the filet mignon will not disappoint. Once again, not only was the food fabulous, but the detail in the presentation makes eating at Rockfish feel like a special occasion, even if you’re there for a photo shoot.  

I saved the WOW for last – Jason’s Guinness Braised Short Ribs. The short ribs arrived in an impressive foot-high tower. The ribs were nestled in a bed of kale and leek mashed potatoes, then topped with crispy leeks and surrounded by Guinness gravy.”  

The short ribs are one of Rockfish’s top three entrees, and I’m in full agreement. My plan is to go with friends, order multiple yummy entrees, and share a bit of each so we don’t have to decide on only one. The short ribs are a must.

“The short ribs are Jason’s signature dish. We added the short rib to the Mac-n-Cheese, and I add it to a grilled cheese sandwich. I order it for dinner whenever I go in. It’s not on the menu, but they make exceptions for me,” said Mike with a chuckle.  

Rockfish has been a great place for Islanders to cure the winter doldrums. They offered a variety of mocktails during Dry January. “Next year we’ll offer even more mocktails,” said Mike.

The restaurant also offers daily specials throughout the winter for Islanders. Monday nights are burgers nights, Wednesday nights are pasta specials, Thursday is Tacos & Tequila, and Friday’s special is $1 oysters for Happy Hour.  

“Tacos & Tequila was a home run, a huge success,” said Mike. “The staff dresses up and everyone has fun. It has been crazy popular. We’ll probably run it through June.”

Whether you’re going for a winter special dinner night or heading in to try a new dish, now is the best time to go to Rockfish. They are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. I’m sure to  see you there.

For information, menus and more visit their website: