Tucked in a corner on the last block before Miamogue Point, the Bay Breeze Inn certainly has a quiet location. With the opening of the new restaurant the Watershed in the same space, owner James Mangiacapre is hoping to keep that quiet, neighborhood feel with a menu full of unique comfort foods.
Walking into the Watershed, the bar is the most striking element. Modern and sleek with a marble top and gold accents, it looks like a contemporary version of a Gatsby-style bar. Mangiacapre took over the bed and breakfast and restaurant in September with his partner and girlfriend Patricia Kaspiev. Since then, they have taken their time to perfect three menus — breakfast, brunch and daily — with their chef Nicholas Puleo.
“We really wanted to focus on comfort food,” Mangiacapre said. “We don’t want this to be a celebration place, a birthday place, only for special occasions. We want to see you all the time.”
The menu isn’t huge, with about a dozen items on the breakfast and daily menus and six items on the brunch menu. This was purposefully done to make dishes feel familiar but have some sort of twist.
Thus chicken and waffles has become duck and waffles, made with a sweet potato waffle with a grapefruit glaze and a seared duck breast. One of the pancake choices is pistachio topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. The french toast is done tiramisu-style with espresso custard and vanilla mascarpone on top. When putting together the menu, Puleo said he got inspiration from his and Mangiacapre’s Italian backgrounds as well as Kaspiev’s Dominican background.
“Most of the menu is things that I like to eat, things that I would want to feed my friends that they would like,” he said. Take the mangú, a traditional Dominican breakfast.
“It’s not the breakfast that my mother would make, but I do taste my culture in it,” Kaspiev said. The dish starts with mashed plantains topped with Dominican salami, two fried eggs, pickled onions and queso fresco. The mussels are another spot on the menu where Puleo pulled from Kaspiev’s Dominican background — they’re made with the same salami, garlic, onion and cilantro.
“The crazy thing is the seasoning, the taste, is so my mom’s kitchen. He nailed that combo,” she said. In her culture, she added, “we cook everything with onion, garlic and cilantro. It’s exactly the traditional taste.”
Other menu standouts include the Watershed burger made with cherry pepper relish and crispy shallots, the pork belly sliders with apple fennel slaw and the housemade falafel topped with cherry peppers and pomegranate seeds.
When thinking of a name for the new restaurant, Kaspiev and Mangiacapre picked the Watershed for its multiple meanings.
“The name means turning point,” Mangiacapre said. “It’s a turning point in our relationship, a turning point in our careers.” It also means a place where water gathers from many sources.
“We want this place to be a gathering space where everyone comes,” he continued, adding that they will give guests dining there recommendations for restaurants, vineyards and other spots depending on what they want. “We want everyone to come here, relax, go to the beach, but use us as a place to go everywhere else.”
The Watershed is open Monday and Tuesday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Breakfast is served from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekends and holidays. Keep an eye out for their prix-fixe Valentines Day menu!