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Where To Dine

A Word About Seasonal Resort Dining

There are a few things you should be aware of regarding dining in seasonal communities. First, with a short season, menus tend to be more limited and prices higher. Restaurants don't want to carry a lot of inventory and to make their profits, they need to charge higher prices. Second, with some exceptions like the following L’Etoile, restaurants in seasonal resort communities, employ seasonal help for their wait staff. This can often lead to uneven service levels. Unfortunately this is a fact of life in these areas. In these communities, our selections are based primarily on food and ambiance and we hope the service will follow. While we would not tolerate poor service in year round destinations, we chose not to penalize a restaurant for less than perfect service in these areas. We never had “poor” service in the restaurants we recommend, but it could have been better in some than it was.

L'Etoile  |  Beach Plum
Outermost Inn  |  Detente
Chesca's  |  Lattanzi's

L'Etoile
22 North Water Street
SPECIAL OCCASION

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L'Etoile has consistently been rated the top restaurant on the island and for over 20 years served wonderful meals from its space in the Charlotte Inn. In 2006, the restaurant moved from the Charlotte Inn to 22 North Water Street. The chef and most of the staff remain the same.

I loved the space at the Charlotte Inn, but this is equally as good and with the addition of a small bar and a delightful outside patio, may be even better. The interior has a small room to the right of the entry and a larger one to the left that overlooks the garden. Colorful china sits on white linens and the crisp tables are accented with copper colored leather chairs and draperies creating an elegant yet comfortable setting.

The food is sensational and a pleasant diversion from the normal items or preparation on most menus. Oysters for example, were served two ways with a red verjus mignonette and a Sauternes-leek emulsion. Delicious. Or, a sautéed spice crusted foie gras with a crispy exterior and delicate interior was served on a seasonal rhubarb and Vidalia compote with a ginger, leek and Muscat sauce. A wonderful taste sensation.

My entree was Australian lamb served two ways; a spiced leg and an herb rubbed rack chop with a red Zinfandel, port and rosemary sauce and accompanied by chevre and basil risotto.

I was full by this time, but a chocolate-hazelnut torte caught my eye and with a glass of port was a great ending to my meal.

I like the wine list for its interesting mix of French and "New World" but prices are high. With one exception all the wines by the glass are over $10 and you have to look hard to find full bottles under $50. Nevertheless, a half bottle of Chablis, Roy-Prevostat & Fils, "Vieilles Vignes" 2002 was delightful at $24 as was a half of Pinot Noir, Bethel Heights, Willamette 2005 at $34.00.

Appetizers, $13-$22, entrees, $35-$46, desserts, $12. There is a Chef's Tasting menu at $98 and a more modest Bar menu.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: High



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“Solicitous without being obsequious” service, “marvelous” New French cuisine and a “warm” ambiance make for a “winning combination” at this Edgartown endeavor; whether you choose the “lovely” dining room, the “great” bar (with its own menu) or the “nice garden”, a “most pleasant experience” is virtually guaranteed – and made even better if “someone else is paying.” ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.

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Beach Plum
50 Beach Plum Lane/North Road
SPECIAL OCCASION

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Stark white walls and tablecloths against pine chairs and hardwood floors provide the backdrop for the stunning view over Menemsha Harbor at The Beach Plum Inn. The two tiered dining room and a glorious patio give everyone a view of the spectacular sunset, called by one travel magazine, second only to Key West.

Chef James McDonough, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, uses local produce and seafood to create an ever changing menu with a French flair. On a recent visit, I started with the Prince Edward Island Mussels with garlic, scallions, tomatoes and a wine broth. Apart from splashing my shirt, they were delicious and the sauce begged to be soaked up with the bread. We also had blackened lobster tips with wilted spinach, pine nuts and mango sauce that was a symphony of flavors and very unusual. I wish I could duplicate this at home. Jen tried the lobster bisque which was thick and creamy with an intense flavor and chunks of lobster meat. A rib eye steak special with a reduced wine sauce and garlic potatoes was juicy and flavorful. A pan seared hazelnut-crusted halibut with Marsala wine beurre blanc, roasted-shallot mashed potatoes and baby vegetables was slightly under seasoned, but a little salt and pepper brought it to life and it was wonderful, the fish perfectly cooked. For dessert, we shared a Crème Brulee and a rich chocolate torte that melted in our mouths.

A table outside in the rose garden is ideal, or choose a window table on the lower level on the right side of the restaurant facing the water. Appetizer prices range from $9-$19, Entrees from $32-$45. You can also opt for a $68 prix fixe for 4 courses, which is really the best deal. Dress is upscale casual. This is a BYOB restaurant and the town is dry, so be sure to bring cocktails and wine from Edgartown. Open 7 days in Summer, 6 in Spring and Fall when the restaurant is closed on Mondays.

We had a delightful time here. The view was wonderful and the food excellent. Our service was a little uneven, (we asked for bread 4 times and never got it). But, oh that sunset! One last caution. It is rumored that the Inn has been sold. I don’t know how that will affect the restaurant. I suggest you call and confirm that Chef McDonough is still the chef.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT:
High


WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“Book a table before sunset” and revel in the “romantic ambiance and gorgeous views” of Menemsha Harbor at this New American in an “elegant” “inn with lovely gardens”; as for the “high-priced” cuisine, though some surveyors deem it “delicious”, a few critics feel it’s “gone downhill”, which a drop in the Food score supports – just like a five-point dip in the Service score backs reports of “amateurish” staffers." ZAGAT

You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.

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Outermost Inn
Lighthouse Road, Gay Head
SPECIAL OCCASION

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At the western tip of the island, beneath the Gay Head lighthouse and with sweeping views of the ocean is a very special restaurant. The Outermost Inn, owned by Hugh and Jeanne Taylor (brother of James and Livingston) is one of two of our Featured Restaurants with spectacular sunsets and wonderful food.

While it is 18 miles from Edgartown, the trip takes about 45 minutes each way. With tip, the taxi ride, roundtrip, is about $80. If you haven’t brought a car over, I suggest renting one for a day or two. You’ll save money going to two of our favorite restaurants at the western part of the island and there’s plenty to see and do outside of Edgartown. However you get here, it’s worth the trip.

You arrive at the front of the Inn and make your way to the back patio, where Larry, a great guy from South Boston, who lives in Cuba in the off-season, (go figure) greets you at the outside bar. It is a BYOB, so be sure to bring what you want to drink from Edgartown or Oak Bluffs. He takes your drinks, adds them to the bar and serves you cocktails at the 7 seat bar or on the delightful patio. Complimentary snacks are set out for the guests and on this visit included a delicious bluefish dip and crackers. Comfortable Adirondack chairs overlook some 20 acres of open land that drift down to the water.

As the sun begins its descent, Larry or the Taylors escorts guests into the dining room and seats them at the table of their choice.

The look is a clean and crisp country with beamed ceilings, wide plank pine floors, white woodwork, near ceiling to floor windows, ladder back chairs and white tablecloths with green straw placemats. Soft jazz plays in the background, the tables are set with fresh flowers and candles and the mood is set. The start of dinner is delayed a bit as guests rush outside to take pictures of the amazing sunset.

Our server brought hot sesame and poppy seed rolls with creamy butter and talked us into an unusual, but very delicious salad of watermelon, goat cheese, hazelnuts, mint, peppercorns and balsamic vinegar. Layers of wonderful flavors. We also shared a  lobster and corn raviolo with sugar snap peas and chanterelle mushrooms that was rich and flavorful without being too filling.
 
Jen had a roasted halibut that was delicate and perfectly cooked with butter beans, cranberry beans and served with an intensely flavored smoked tomato vinaigrette. Excellently prepared.
 
The star of the menu though, was the roasted sirloin and braised short ribs, marinated in 5 spices and accompanied by hen of the woods mushrooms and bone marrow. When this dish is cooked properly (very slowly) the meat can be cut with a fork and this couldn’t have been made better.
 
Dessert was excellent coffee and a rhubarb and blueberry crisp with a strawberry sorbet and mascarpone. The tart rhubarb was perfectly countered by the sweet blueberries making a perfect end to our meal.

Dinner is prix fixe at $72. All credit cards. Dress is upscale casual.




ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: High. Eat on the porch and sit by one of the windows to get the most of the view.



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“Come for dinner, stay for the view” at this New American whose “magical” setting perched on the Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah earns Martha’s Vineyard’s No. 1 Decor score; sip a “drink on the patio” during a “spectacular sunset” before indulging in a “fabulous” prix fixe meal, which is served by a “seasoned” staff that “aims to please”, helping to make the “pricey” fees seem worth it." ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.
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Detente
Nevin Square
SPECIAL OCCASION

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It's not often that food, ambiance and service all come together at the same time. But when it does it can be a magical evening. Such was the case when we visited Detente. Tucked into a corner of Nevin Square just off Water Street, this wonderful husband and wife owned delight has it all working.

There's a small, but bustling wine bar, a main dining room and a cozy outdoor patio. When the weather is nice, the patio is the place to sit. The fenced in courtyard with tiny sparkling lights all around is intimate and quiet and perfect for a romantic escape.

The main dining room has hardwood floors and beige/gold walls accented by wine country pictures and dark wood framed mirrors. The mirror frames match the dark mission chairs surrounding tables set with crisp white linens. Rust colored banquettes add some color to the room, willowy beige curtains grace the windows and wall sconces cast just the right amount of light across the room. The result is casual elegance and comfort.

Kevin Crowell's food is a blend of American, French and Italian cuisines utilizing fresh island ingredients. While the menu is limited to a half dozen appetizers and a half dozen entrees, you are guaranteed to find something delicious and unusual.

We started with an appetizer portion of the pulled pork bolognese with goat cheese raviolis over a basil puree. It was so good we were tempted to order another. Rich and flavorful, yet still light enough for this summer night. Our other appetizer was fresh island peaches, sprinkled with white truffle oil and vergus, covered with warm tallegio cheese served on a bed of peppery arugula. Quite remarkable in texture and flavors.

I could have eaten any of the six entrees available this evening but selected slow roasted rack of lamb over curried white beans with local zucchini, ginger and mint in a lamb jus. Amazing. My guest had a roasted bone-in beef tenderloin set on a fresh corn puree and sauteed spinach with fois gras torchon. A wonderful take on an old standard.

Dessert was a delicious blueberry bread pudding and had I had the room would have sampled some of the unusual artisanal cheeses.

We were served by one of the regular, very competent, black clad wait staff, assisted by Suzanna, one of the owners, so we wanted for nothing. It's clear that people enjoy working here with the Crowell's.

This is a wonderful wine list for many reasons. I love the way it is organized; dry white, aromatic, other great reds and so forth. There are a healthy 13 wines by the glass and 9 1/2 bottle choices. The care with which the list was developed is evident. We enjoyed a delicious Argiolas "Costamalino" Vermentino Di Sardegna and a quite amazing Cline "Ancient Vines" Mourvedre. Couldn't resist a second glass.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: Inside is small and can be noisy, but the patio has fewer tables and is more quiet and intimate.



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“Exquisitely prepared” New American cuisine is the raison d’ĂŞtre of this “refined” Edgartonian where the menu is “built around seasonal, local foods”, “served in a stylish manner” by “helpful, engaging” staffers and “worth” the “high prices”; the “romantic”, “nicely decorated” interior has recently “expanded” to the second floor, but the “best seats” are in the garden (“you need to request it when you make the reservation”). ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.

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Chesca's
38 North Water Street
EXCELLENT

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Located a block from town, adjacent to the Colonial Inn, Chesca’s is a comfortable restaurant enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. It is mentioned often by people who live here as one of their favorites.

Start with a cocktail from the bar and sit on the outside porch in a rocking chair and watch the people go by. It’s part of the ritual of dining at Chesca’s.

The interior is virtually all white and very cozy with beamed ceilings, columns, comfy banquettes, small tables, wall sconces, and an open, airy feel. Bottles of colored glass line the window shelves and various artifacts adorn the walls. Unfortunately silk flowers and plastic flowered tablecloths detract from an otherwise pleasant ambiance.

Our server was friendly and helpful in describing menu items and brought us wonderful soft and hot oregano bread to start our meal.

We started with a spinach, grape tomato and feta cheese tart served warm with a roasted red pepper coulis that was excellent and a crab and shrimp cake with whole grain mustard-caper aioli that was full of seafood and just crisp on the outside. A good start to the meal.

For the main course I chose a roasted and stuffed pork loin that had a slightly crispy exterior and was stuffed with prosciutto, fontina cheese and sage. The bourbon tangerine honey glaze was a little sweet for me and I wisely asked for it on the side. The loin could have stood on its own because it was delicious.

Jen selected the signature Lazy Lobster, butter poached, taken out of the shell and served over a crispy potato pancake with a Mizuna, roasted corn and tomato salad with a champagne vinaigrette.

 The wine list is limited, but fairly priced. Appetizers run $$6.95-$13.95. All salads are $9.50. Entrees start at $24 for pasta dishes.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: Fun, but noisy.



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“High-quality Italian and American food”, “great” service and a “pretty setting” draw “loud” “crowds” to this “excellent” choice in Edgartown, where the tabs are somewhat “expensive”, but the “generous portions” add “value”; “the wait can be a drag” (no reservations), so if you don’t “go early”, just “relax on the rockers on the front porch sipping wine” – the delay will “fly by.” ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.
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Lattanzi's
Old Post Office Square
EXCELLENT

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Lattanzi's is a husband and wife run little secret and my favorite Italian on the Island. Just off Main Street and down Church, this intimate gem features authentic Tuscan cooking with wonderfully fresh ingredients. The cooking is simple, grilling over hardwood coals, but intensely flavored.

Unlike the noise and bustle of other restaurants, the feel here is quiet, romantic and comfortable. The main inside dining room is dark, warm and elegant. On cooler nights, there’s a fire going in the fireplace. Outside, candle lit tables with white linen, crystal and china create a wonderful mood for your dinner.

We sat outside on a balmy summer night and started with home-made tortellini alfredo, soft, tender pasta with a dense cheese sauce. My entrée was a delicate breast of chicken that had been rubbed with spices and lemon and grilled with seasonal vegetables. It reminded me of a dinner I once had in Orvieto, wonderful flavor. Jen ordered a lobster special, grilled and served out of the shell with tomatoes, corn and other vegetables.

The Piedmont chocolate hazelnut cake and an espresso martini ended an absolutely delightful evening.

The wine list is limited, but decent in what it has to offer and is moderately priced. Appetizers range from $9-$15, entrees from $22-$38. Dress is casual. All credit cards, except Amex, accepted. An adjacent building houses a brick oven pizzeria, voted the “best” pizza on the Island.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: High


WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“When you’re sick of exorbitant prices”, this “formal” Italian and “terrific adjoining pizzeria” in Edgartown provide “reasonable” “alternatives”: the former “crafts” “authentic Tuscan” dishes and the latter “thin-crust” pies that are “special”; while “the food is reliable”, the “service is mixed.” Zagat



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.

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