Sand Bar is a sandy paradise in Oak Bluffs

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Baja Fish Tacos —Marnely Murray

For someone who lives and works in Edgartown, exploring the other towns during the peak of the summer season sometimes gets a little hectic, to say the least. It’s crazy everywhere, but I find the energy so refreshing, I take my chances and venture out. My latest visit to Oak Bluffs led me to the harbor, where I stopped into the Sand Bar. The result was an afternoon where I honestly felt like I was on vacation, on my own sandbar.

As we sat down at our table, I instantly kicked off my sandals and dug my toes into the sand. Like most year-round locals, I don’t get to the beach as much as I would like, so this simple yet sandy act brought me instant joy. The Sand Bar is full of energy, the music is fun, and the bar that stands in the center of this oasis is endlessly pumping drinks to beat the heat.

Executive Chef John White, who has been in the business for over 30 years, is responsible

for the food coming out of the kitchen. With a menu that can be described as beachy, flavorful, fresh, and colorful, the Sand Bar is known mostly for its sushi, which although incredibly delicious, isn’t the only offering. The restaurant focuses on local seafood: clams, oysters, and lobsters from the Oak Bluffs Fish Market, just a few steps away from their own kitchen.

Start your meal with either the Ceviche ($15.99) made with local Island lobster, shrimp, crab, and mahi, served with a copious amount of tortilla chips. A bright dish, it’s the ideal way to kick off a meal on a hot day on the harbor. Another appetizer I’d recommend is the Real Deal Crab Cakes ($16.99): two decent-size crab cakes made with fresh lump crab meat with no fillers, served with a remoulade sauce.

As I sipped on my virgin pina colada, because frozen drinks are what I crave in any sandy environment, I contemplated the scene. There were singles at the bar conversing with the bartenders about the best places to party on M.V.; couples tucked into the corner tables enjoying the fresh sushi; large tables taken over by families with young children. Sand Bar caters to everyone, which is a great point to make, as some might think it’s just a bar. It’s not — so make sure to bring the entire family if you want.

On their menu, there’s an entire section dedicated to tacos, so I decided on the Baja Fish Tacos ($15.99). Grilled fresh mahi is tucked in a soft flour tortilla, topped with mango salsa and pineapple BBQ sauce, all on a bed of crispy cabbage. I loved these fish tacos — the fish wasn’t deep-fried, and the salsa on top was remarkably fresh.

If we’re being entirely honest, I’m not the healthiest of eaters, so I urged my companion to order the Bacon Bacon Burger ($15.99). Yes, you read that right: double bacon, not a misprint. This half-pound flame-grilled burger is slathered with a chipotle bacon aioli as well as a bacon and caramelized onion marmalade, more bacon, fried jalapeños, and Cheddar cheese. It might sound like it’s too much, but trust me, it’s not. Something about the sweet marmalade and all the salty bacon balances it out. If you’re a burger lover, this one is a must.

Want to stick with sushi? Order the Incredible Roll ($20), and prepare to be amazed. It’s filled with spicy tuna, salmon, hamachi, and mango with a kubnori (a blend of nori and rice paper) and a kabayaki sauce. Not only is it a feast for the eyes, but the flavors work so well.

Whether you are here on vacation or you are a resident, the Sand Bar is a spot you must make it to this summer. It will put you in a vacation mindset, no matter if you’re on vacation or not.

The Sand Bar is located at 6 Circuit Avenue Extension (on the harbor), and is open daily for lunch and dinner. Walk-ins are welcome. mvsandbar.com.