Good Taste: Dining out at Vineyard hotels

Good Taste: Dining out at Vineyard hotels

If you're staying at the Winnetu, you don't have to travel far to Lure Grill, the resort's restaurant and bar overlooking South Beach.

Here’s a look at inns and hotels around the Island offering dinner, whether you’ll be spending the night or not.

l’étoile

l’étoile sits in an old whaling captain’s house in The Fallon on North Water Street in Edgartown. There are several ways to enjoy a meal here: in the tented patio, the elegant dining room, or chic bar. The seasonally driven menu has everything you’d expect and more from a fine-dining establishment from foie gras to a dressed-up burger (1/2 lb. prime beef, oyster mushrooms Taleggio, and white truffle frites, $16). They also offer Katama Bay oysters with champagne cream and blood orange mignonette and a pan-roasted citrus-rubbed game hen on cranberry Israeli couscous with fava beans and lemon-cilantro sauce, $26.

Chef Michael Brisson keeps it interesting with nightly specials like seared tuna with Morning Glory ratatouille and chorizo aioli and the Chef’s Whim Salad with lobster, endive, wax beans, mixed greens tossed in citrus-Pernod vinaigrette. The bar has its own menu with offerings like lobster mac and cheese and braised boneless short ribs. For a special occasion, consider going all out with the Chef’s Tasting Menu, a multi-course affair, featuring menu highlights in smaller portions so you can try a bit of everything, for $98 per person. L’etoile is open until November 30. Call for reservations: 508-627-5187.

The Harbor View

The Harbor View actually offers three dining options in Edgartown. Water St. and Henry’s are located inside the hotel while The Newes from America, which the resort also owns, is located a few blocks away in the basement of the Kelley House. Both Henry’s and Water St. offer small plates like grilled artichokes with rosemary aioli and Painted Hills beef Carpaccio with garlic aioli, peppercress and Parmesan.

The restaurants differ in Henry’s casual atmosphere with a focus on these small plates and sandwiches like Niman Ranch pastrami and the Fried Green Tomato with arugula and chevre on a pretzel roll with black pepper mayo, $14. Water St. offers more traditional dinner fare like lamb chops and Katama Farm Chicken Mennonite dumplings in pan gravy, $30.

The Newes is a favorite of visitors and Islanders alike. The family-friendly pub offers traditional American and British pub food like the Steak and Spuds: 8 oz. flat-iron steak with crispy potatoes and garlic butter served with a scallion-sour cream dipping sauce, $17. Try the Chip Shop Curry Fries served with a curry dipping sauce, $7.50. Henry’s and The Newes are open year-round. Water St. strongly recommends reservations by calling 508-627-3761, and closes for the season after Columbus Day.

Il Tesoro

Il Tesoro is located in the gorgeous Charlotte Inn on shady South Summer Street in downtown Edgartown. The term “rustic but refined” has been used in describing chef AJ Black’s “authentic Italian with new classic flair” cooking. The menu is organized into cold and hot appetizers, salads, vegetable side dishes, risotto, pasta, and entrées, so come hungry. The Antipasto Della Casa is a selection of grilled marinated vegetables served with mixed cheeses and meats ($21), perfect for sharing, then try the polenta with Gorgonzola and wild mushroom sauce, very different flavors that combine beautifully to get your taste buds going.

Salads include the classic Caesar and Caprese as well as innovations like red wine roasted pears with thinly sliced prosciutto. The risotto options are hearty and substantial: the Pescatora includes lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, and scallops in a white wine and fresh tomato sauce for $42. Pasta dishes range from traditional, comfortable dishes like spaghetti in Bolognese and penne vodka to the inventive and adventurous Capellini Travazana: homemade pecan pasta with a touch of cream, prosciutto, radicchio sauce finished with sweet peas and black truffle for $34. For the main event, Il Tesoro offers meat-centric dishes like pan-seared venison, stuffed roasted duck, and three versions of veal medallions. Il Tesoro accepts online reservations via Open Table. Visit them at iltesoro.net or make a reservation for their Vineyard location or by calling 508-939-3840. Il Tesoro closes for the month of January but is otherwise open year-round.

Chesca’s

Chesca’s is located in the Vineyard Square Hotel & Suites (formerly the Colonial Inn), in Edgartown. Serving Italian and American cuisine, Chesca’s “bridges the gap between upscale and comfort,” according to their website, chescasmv.com.

Their sweet Thai chili barbecue glaze has received its share of acclaim. Co-owner Jo Maxwell sells the sauce at the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market and at the restaurant you’ll find it on the grilled salmon served with chive-mashed potatoes and fresh veggies, for $30. Pork Milanese is served on creamy polenta with a baby arugula, oven-roasted tomatoes, and Vidalia onion salad.

Check out Chesca’s Bento Boxes, their American version of the Japanese meal-in-a-box. Bento Boxes are served with your choice of grilled salmon, chicken Marsala, and grilled shrimp as well as a mixed green salad, choice of soup or chowder, fresh sautéed veggies and chive-mashed potatoes ($28-$32). Chesca’s accepts reservations for six or more and closes for the season after Columbus Day.

Lure Grill

Chef Aaron Wratton is in the final leg of his first season as head chef at Lure at the Winnetu in Katama. Lure serves fine dining food in a casual, family friendly atmosphere. Their bar menu includes the Ahi tuna flatbread with Sriracha yuzu aioli and the “OMG” burger: 8 oz. local beef, bacon, fried egg, cheddar, tempura pickles served with onion rings and BBQ sauce.

For dinner try the sautéed vineyard sole with beets, cranberry beans, artichokes, and fennel or the one and one-half pound poached lobster. All the work is done for you, and is served with corn emulsion, fava beans, and chanterelles, just enjoy. Reservations are recommended. Call 508-627-FOOD. Lure will close for the season in late October.

Zephrus

Earlier this month, Zephrus at the Mansion House, in Vineyard Haven, welcomed new executive chef Ben deForest back into the kitchen that he helped design in 1999.

Zephrus’ all day menu and their Z Burgers menu will remain as Mr. deForest implements his signature dishes as well. Try the barrel-cut NY strip steak with whipped potatoes, button mushrooms, asparagus, and shallot au jus for $27. Zephrus has a slew of baskets and sides that are perfect for the table such as hand-cut fries, sweet potato fries, steamed veggies, and more. Zephrus is open for lunch and dinner daily, year-round.

Lambert’s Cove

The Lambert’s Cove Inn is the quintessential country inn, down a windy dirt road in West Tisbury, the English country décor elegant and comfortable at the same time. The dining room is quiet, lending to the notion that you and your guest are the only ones there, though that is unlikely to be true. Chef Max Egan is only 27 but he knows his way around the kitchen, especially this one. Mr. Egan was the sous chef at Lambert’s Cove for six years before taking on executive chef this season. He and sous chef Abe Pieciak are serving deliciousness such as creamy cauliflower soup (it’s been a week since I’ve had it and I’m still thinking about it) drizzled with white truffle oil served with a purple potato chip garnish. A salad with grilled apricots and Burrata cheese was summer salad perfection. The monkfish was sweet and meaty, with a consistency similar to lobster. Be sure to bring your own beer, wine, or cocktail mix to the restaurant, which remains open until mid-October. Call for reservations at 508-693-2298

The Outermost Inn

Hugh and Jeanne Taylor have been operating their beautiful Outermost Inn for more than 20 years. The name speaks to the location, perched on the cliffs in Aquinnah on the quiet, private end of the Island.

Chef Jennifer Cummings joins the Taylors for her second season in the kitchen. Unprecedented views are the backdrop for dinner, which is three courses and prix fixe at $80. Ms. Cummings has created what she is calling the “end of the summer menu” with items in tune with the upcoming change in season.

To start, the avocado cucumber soup garnished with fresh crabmeat has been very well received.

Dinner selections include Land and Sea: a twist on surf and turf with butter-poached local lobster and Northeast Family Farms filet. The most popular desserts have been the local berry cobbler with Tahitian vanilla gelato and selection of Artisan cheeses.

Extraordinary sunsets are not uncommon on the western tip of the Island so be sure to time your dinner around it. Be sure to arrive for your reservation with ample time to enjoy a drink on the porch bar or on the sprawling lawn (the Outermost has a beer and wine license). They serve dinner by reservation, call 508-645 3511. Hours are Tuesday–Sunday until just after Columbus Day.

The Beach Plum Inn

Overlooking Menemsha Harbor in Chilmark, diners can watch the boats come and go, a luxurious way to enjoy a meal.

Pan roasted scallops, likely from one of those boats, are served with fennel and mango, orange salad with micro greens, with a citrus gastrique for $18. A sweet corn and black bean tortilla comes with aged cheddar, cilantro cream, a halved avocado, and tomato relish. For the main event, broiled local codfish is served atop Jonah crab risotto, lemon beurre blanc, steamed vegetables, and saffron-infused leaks. The Beach Plum is a bring-your-own-alcohol establishment. Call 508-645-9454 for reservations. They are open until September 25.