Good Taste : Cheese, wine, charcuterie, and crepes on Martha's Vineyard
File photo by Ralph Stewart
Black Sheep and its evening alter-ego, Trio are Edgartown's hidden gems. Upscale fromage and charcuterie market by day, wine and cheese bar by night, Mark Venette's little shop provides a unique dining experience.
From 10 am until 6 pm, the space at 18 North Summer Street is Black Sheep, sellers of fine cheeses, charcuterie, and other specialty products including homemade dips and spreads like the delicious crème de Provence.
Between 6 pm and 6:30 pm, Black Sheep closes while the staff transforms the space into Trio. Display cases snap shut, lights are dimmed, the cash register is sectioned off, and the few tables are set with lime green placemats and mini knives and forks. The bar is made of driftwood to match the ceiling.
On a recent Tuesday night, newcomers to Trio could be overheard marveling, "I've never been here, this place is so cute!" and thanking the server, "This is exactly what we were looking for, it's wonderful!"
The menu is organized and headlined with a touch of poetry, "I hanker for a hunka, a slab or slice or chunka, I hanker for a hunka cheese." The cheese monger has done all the work for you, pairing cheeses in groups of three with wine suggestions to match, or on the flip side offering the same set up with charcuterie. You can leave it to the pros and choose from options like "Backpacking through Europe," which includes a five-year Gouda from Holland, a traditional French Comte, and a Parmesan Reggiano with truffled honey from Italy; or "Trio's Picks" with the world's first smoked blue cheese, a double cream, and the world cheese championship's grand champion, Ossau Iraty.
I couldn't resist the grand champ, but I wanted to try the interesting sounding Big John Cajun (rubbed with zesty Cajun spices) and my all-time favorite truffle tremor, California goat cheese; so I created my own plate. Cheese boards range from $14 to $16 or $20 to create your own, and the portions are generous enough to share with at least one other cheese-lover.
Wine pairings for cheese range from California Chardonnays, organic Sauvignon Blanc, South African Pinotage, Merlot, etc. Flights include three (smaller than a regular glass pour) glasses of different wines that will complement your cheese. Or if there is something you know you like, you can order a whole glass of that. Flights range from $14 to $16. Wine by the bottle is available as well.
The charcuterie menu offers cured and smoked meat served with appropriate condiments. The "Barnyard Love Story" includes the bride: Spain's famous Jamon Serrano; the groom: air dried bresola; and the minister: duck prosciutto. There are silky pates to choose from like the pate de canard a l'orange (duck with orange), mousses like the trufee (chicken liver with truffle) and hearty salamis (which are antibiotic and growth-hormone free). Charcuterie boards range from $14 to $19, or create your own for $18. The meats are paired with a range of red wines from Argentina to France including Malbecs, Zinfandels, and Sangiovese.
To share with a group there is an olive medley, a selection of Greek and Italian olives with different textures and flavors, and a truly exceptional Caprese salad designed for two. A chunky vine-ripened tomato is sliced vertically and then reassembled with thick pieces of Maplebrook mozzarella between each slice. The plate is drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh basil.
There is a selection of truffles for dessert as well as a nightly special. Last week it was a lavender whoopie pie, which will hopefully appear on the menu again: two iced sugar cookies fused together with lavender infused crème served with Favorite Brand chocolate ice cream and fresh mint.
Black Sheep/Trio is active on Facebook where specials are always posted. Check them out there or call 774-549-9118 for details and reservations.
7 Circuit Avenue, (formerly Smoke 'N Bones takeout) is now Bite on the Go, a one-stop shop for…you guessed it, a bite on the go.
At first look, the space looks like a fry shack, but there is more to Bite on the Go than meets the eye. They are open daily at 7 am and on the weekends open latenight until 12:30 am serving breakfast sandwiches, burgers, fried food, salads, and more.
The crepes are a delicious new addition to the Oak Bluffs dining scene. Crepe fillings include chicken, ham, mozzarella, tomato, and oregano; bacon, broccoli, cheddar, and hearts of palm; or for the sweet tooth, strawberry and Nutella and banana with cinnamon, $7.99 to $8.99. The batter is made fresh, and these meal-sized crepes are served with a green salad.
The dessert menu is not your average brownies and cake but includes rice pudding and passionfruit mousse. Prices range from $3.49 to $4.49. Check them out for a meal on the run or to enjoy watching the Circuit Avenue traffic at one of their few tables.
Call 508-693-6646 for more information.