Brad Stevens
Chef Brad Stevens prepares one of Gigs Bistro's signature dishes. Photos by Ralph Stewart

A gig at the Outerland

By Julian Wise - July 5, 2007

Gigs Bistro at Outerland offers an intimate dining experience that blends seamlessly with live entertainment at The Dock, the smaller second stage at the club. Gigs offers patrons the opportunity to select from a premium menu while enjoying entertainment from local, regional, and national artists.

The Dock Stage has been moved from the entrance corner to an alcove by the stairwell, creating an open, inviting feel to the room. A crimson red curtain closes off the main stage floor, giving the room a spatial orientation that's neither cavernous nor cramped. Owners Barry and Mona Rosenthal are gracious, warm hosts who greet friends and new visitors, giving the bistro a friendly personal touch.

The menu is divided into sections that echo nightclub terminology, with sound check (appetizers), The Show (entrees), encores (desserts), and refreshments (drinks). Executive Chef Brad Stevens has created a savory menu with a wide selection of dishes. Besides standard appetizer favorites like chowders and Caesar salads, one can find unique delicacies like peppered yellowfin tuna with basil lemonette and wasabi oil. The salmon, a standout on the menu, is cooked with a light touch, allowing the light, savory flavor to delight the palate. Zesty grilled shrimp with Cajun spices are an irresistible treat, while vegetarians can enjoy the roasted vegetable lasagna. For desert, diners can try creme brulée and luscious chocolate Godiva cheesecake.

According to Outerland general manager, Cory Parker Cabral, the aim of the bistro is to provide a venue that is appealing to Island visitors and locals alike. In addition, the menu is designed to satisfy everyone, from epicureans to regular folks looking for a good meal.

"Gigs Bistro aims to stimulate the taste buds of the most discriminating consumer while not excluding the everyday palate," he says.

Cajun Fat Ass Shrimp Sauté
One of several appetizers, or "band pleasers," the "Cajun Fat Ass Shrimp Sauté."

As the dining hour winds down, the evening smoothly shifts gears into the musical entertainment. A recent performance featured rising country music artist Liz Carlisle, the Harvard graduate-turned-songwriter who has opened for LeAnn Rimes, Travis Tritt, Lonestar, and Diamond Rio. Ms. Carlisle's clear, fluid vocals were delivered with fidelity by the sound system at a level that was enjoyable without being overpowering. During a break in the set, Ms. Carlisle and her accompanist Russell Wolff stepped out to greet the crowd, circulating from table to table to shake hands and converse with the audience. Another recent arrival at the Dock was Paula Valstein, the Tel Aviv-born singer-songwriter who is selling out shows at NYC clubs The Bitter End, Tonics, The Knitting Factory, and The Cutting Room.

With its fusion of gourmet cooking, premium talent, and a cozy living room ambiance, The Dock and Gigs Bistro is a unique dining and entertainment experience. It's well worth keeping an eye on the Outerland print ads and web page to see which new artists have been added to the lineup; odds are excellent that several of these musicians will graduate to larger venues in the future, prompting the line "I remember catching them at a small club show at The Dock...."

Julian Wise is a contributing writer to The Times.