Toward the end of the commotion of Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, past the many shops and bars, sits a restaurant owned by two people, Peter and Jennifer Smyth, with some serious culinary gumption: Slice of Life.
I made a stop there last week, and began my lunch with a recommendation from my server, Melissa. She spoke of chili and coconut in the same soup, and I was sold before she finished listing the rest of the daily specials.
I had just put my coat on the back of my chair and settled into my seat when the soup arrived. I was forewarned of the fiery temperature, but a rapacious hunger meant I could not stall a second longer.
I dipped my spoon into the beautiful potage, colored a shade of orange evoking visions of impressionist masterpieces, and took a curious sip of perhaps the finest soup I’ve had the pleasure of sipping. The Chili Coconut Soup ($6.50) hit me with its elegant sweetness first. The coconut milk at the soup’s base whisked me away to an island paradise, and left me with a pleasantly hot and spicy kick. Small flakes of shredded coconut enhanced the texture of the creamy soup, and made me glad I’d listened to Melissa.
Next up was an exquisite Turkey Reuben ($10.50) stuffed with perfectly cooked turkey, sharp sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, all held together with fresh rye bread. Upon the first bite — well, actually, to be candid, I don’t remember the first bite because by the time I had returned to my senses, I had already eaten a whole half of the sandwich! I tried to focus upon the vestige of my meal, to remember each bite and its effects upon me, but it appeared my food was so good, dare I say too good, I ate it in a blissful reverie.
My sandwich came with the side option of either coleslaw, chips, fries, or truffle fries. I almost made a dubious decision on plain old fries before Melissa once again steered me in the right direction. Truffle Fries ($8.25 for a side) were to be my side, she would speak it into existence. I’m glad she did. Cozied up next to my reuben was a bevy of crispy fries, like a pile of 24-carat gold ingots, covered with Parmesan, herbs, and truffle oil.
I had the pleasure of meeting the head chef and co-owners, Peter and his wife Jennifer. Peter’s mastery of the cooking art goes back some 20 years, and can be tasted in each amazing dish he makes. He told me how every other day a new soup is on the menu, and each one is a creation of his choosing. Broccoli Cheddar and Black Bean have been recent choices. Peter likes to make sure all soups are vegetarian, to make them available to as many customers as possible. Most of his soups are vegan, but occasionally he makes creamier soups, like mine. If there is meat in a soup, it is always explicitly stated in its title.
The Chili Coconut Soup is a testament to Peter’s intuition, but not its only exemplar. A customer favorite such as the Fried Green Tomato BLT ($12) explores the possibilities the classic BLT sandwich can achieve. With its breaded and fried green tomatoes, arugula, applewood smoked bacon, basil mayo, and toasted rosemary bread, one is left to wonder, where have Peter and his cooking been my whole life?
The Slice Salad ($15), a personal favorite of Jennifer’s, is a bountiful mixture of mixed greens, pesto roasted chicken, smoked bacon, tomatoes, gorgonzola, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette. The fresh, hearty and a little sweet salad is a clever combination executed perfectly by Peter and the Slice of Life kitchen staff.
On my way out I had the pleasure of speaking with Caroline Evans and Barbara Fell, two friends out on a snowy afternoon eating at one of their favorite places.
“I like this place. It’s kind, it’s warm. The food is predictably excellent,” Caroline said.
Barbara agreed, “It’s tasty. I often get the Fried Green Tomato BLT.”
Both friends told me I had to come back for the “very good” dessert Slice of Life offers. I will most definitely find myself back at Slice of Life for the fantastic service, sensational food, and warm atmosphere.
Slice of Life, 50 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs, is open 11 am to 9 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. On Sundays, join them for brunch from 8 am to 2 pm. For more information, call 508-693-3838 or visit sliceoflifemv.com.
This article by Brian Dowd originally appeared on mvtimes.com.