Holy cannoli: Jimmy Seas is an unexpected surprise

Jimmy Seas in Oak Bluffs —Marnely Murray

“Leave the gun, take the cannoli” is a statement I can stand behind. But the lack of cannoli on-Island left me craving more whenever I walked around the North End with a box from Mike’s Pastry. You see visitors and locals alike with their baker’s twine–tied boxes as they walk off the ferry, because the love you have for a cannoli is unlike anything else. So when I interviewed Executive Chef Scottie Blu and owner Will at Jimmy Seas, the mention of cannoli stopped me in my tracks. Imported straight from Italy, the crispy shells and light, ricotta-based filling will have Oak Bluffs diners eating dessert first.

Jimmy Seas Pan Pasta has been a staple in Oak Bluffs dining for 20 years. For owners Lisa and Will, it’s their third season with the restaurant. “When we bought it, we bought it because it was Lisa’s favorite restaurant on-Island, so we didn’t change a thing,” Will said. “Jimmy Seas already had a good system in place, and it works for us.”

The menu focuses on rustic Italian and fresh seafood. This season, they are focusing more on locally sourcing seafood by partnering with the new Oak Bluffs Fish Market. If you’re looking to satisfy a craving for a hearty Italian meal, this is the spot. Pastas are cooked to order and al dente. Will shares the secret to getting a table at Jimmy Seas: If the weather is nice, come early, and if the weather sucks, come late. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so your name will be placed on a list, and you’ll receive a call five minutes before your table is ready, which allows you and your party to stroll around town.

The menu is packed with delicious options, but try the Butternut Squash Ravioli and the Frutti di Mare, served along with crusty bread. The entrées are served in the pans they’ve been cooked in, so you’re getting all the good flavors that develop. The large ravioli are served in a sage and Pecorino Romano cheese sauce, finished with a hint of freshly grated nutmeg. The sweetness and earthiness of the squash paired with the luscious cream sauce will make you swoon. Another chef special is the Frutti di Mare, where shrimp, mussels, littleneck clams, calamari, and scallops are cooked to perfection in a red sauce. The sauce is made by cooking lobster bodies for hours over low heat with tomatoes, fresh herbs, and spices. This is when that crusty bread comes in, as the perfect vessel to soak up that sauce.

There are some other great options on the menu, and for those of you with gluten-free diets or lifestyles, Jimmy Seas does offer gluten-free pasta. Avoiding pasta altogether? Have them serve your favorite white wine clam sauce over vegetables. When you’re craving great Italian cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere, this is the place to eat. And don’t forget the cannoli.

Follow Jimmy Seas on Facebook for updates throughout the season: facebook.com/jimmyseaspanpasta .