Good Taste: Open season for Martha’s Vineyard restaurants

Good Taste: Open season for Martha’s Vineyard restaurants

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Chefs Al King, left, and Jeff Wingo, served food at The Lampost this past Monday and will continue to serve later this month. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

It’s spring! Crocuses are peeping from the ground and seasonal restaurants are opening their doors. 7a in West Tisbury opened earlier this week and the Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven has come out of a short hibernation. Atlantic Fish & Chop House in Edgartown opened Wednesday, April 3, for lunch and dinner and The Lookout Tavern in Oak Bluffs opens this Friday.

Farm Neck Café in Oak Bluffs opens this Friday, April 5. During early spring, the café serves light breakfast from 8 to 10:30 am, lunch daily from 11 am to 3 pm, and “Happy Hour” on Fridays and Saturdays with $7 appetizers from 4 to 6 pm.

Here are some more details about recent openings.

The Lampost

It wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke when The Lampost served free food this past Monday. Al King from Skinny’s Fat Sandwiches has teamed up with The Lampost to offer his homemade specialties every day from 12 noon to 10 pm.

This past Monday, offerings included a black bean veggie burger with cumin, onion, and bell pepper; a Jamaican jerk chicken burger with grilled pineapple; a French onion burger with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese; and a Mediterranean turkey burger with a tomato, olive, cucumber relish, and feta sauce.

Wings made an appearance with a variety of sauces and fries, and yummy baked treats from Skinny’s rounded out the free tasting menu. Offerings will most likely change daily and include pub food favorites.

“If people come and try it once, they’ll like it,” Mr. King said. This summer, watch out for a sausage cart from 10 pm to 1 am in the corner of The Lampost.

The Red Cat Kitchen at Ken ‘n’ Beck

Chef Ben deForest and his wife, Sarah Omer, are the Ma and Pa of the place. “Our little eat joint,” as they affectionately call it, or what most people know as The Red Cat Kitchen at Ken ‘n’ Beck in Oak Bluffs opened for business on Tuesday, April 2.

“I want to open with standard stuff that we’re really good at, that people have missed,” said Mr. deForest. These standard favorites include Keith Korn’s deep-fried tomato and lobster salad and deForest’s Island Fresca: a hot soup made with vine ripe tomatoes, corn, basil, and Parmesan cheese. A dish that will be featured on the menu is the late Stewart Rounsville’s littleneck chowder: the original, in memory of Mr. deForest’s long-time friend who died in March. Traditional filets and strip steaks will be replaced by grilled tri-tip steak, an ode to central coast California, where Ms. Omer’s sister lives.

“We’re always doing something new,” Mr. deForest said, referencing the 87 menu evolutions that they went through last season.

Diners will be tempted with new desserts including lemon tarts, malted milk chocolate crème brulée and frozen chocolate paté. The bar menu will feature homemade onion rings with house made ranch, crispy fried Brussels sprouts, tempura veggies and the Reliable burger, made every day from meat up the street, served with cheese, pickles, and tater tots for $10.

Also back are the $10 chef’s imagination tasting plates, as well as an expanded vegetarian showdown, a dish devoted to vegetarians and vegans.

Mon Amour

Mon amour means “my love” in French. Operated by husband and wife team David and Sarah Spooner, Mon Amour in Vineyard Haven opens for its second season on Friday, April 5.

Though the name is French, it’s not a traditional French restaurant. The name “my love” references Chef Spooner’s love of food. Everything is made in-house, from the bread and stocks to the sauces and desserts. The dining room has received a face lift with a new bar area and cozy banquette seating. Beer and wine as well as wine-based cocktails can be enjoyed while eating from the varied menu, which features two portion sizes for salads and the steak entrées. Check out Sunday brunch, from 10 am to 2 pm, with continental and a la carte offerings.

Chesca’s

Operated by team Jo Maxwell and her husband, chef David Joyce, Chesca’s in Edgartown will open its doors for the 20th year on Thursday, April 11.

Customers will notice a slight change when they enter the restaurant, with a sleek addition of bar seating along the porch window where new specialty drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, can be enjoyed.

“We always try to put something new on the menu in the spring and if it works out we will carry it over to the summer,” said Ms. Maxwell.

New dishes include chicken empanadas, charcuterie and cheese plates. The menu will continue to feature favorites like warm shrimp and gorgonzola dip with herb crostini. “If we took it off the menu people would hunt us down,” Ms. Maxwell said.

Plenty of Chesca’s standbys are still available including chicken marsala and the lobster ravioli served with seared sea scallops, heirloom tomato salad, and a pancetta and toasted hazelnut cream sauce. And for those with eating restrictions, Chesca’s offers gluten-free pasta, bread, and brownies.

Look out for customer appreciation specials to celebrate Chesca’s 20th anniversary. Fun promotions include Chesca’s cash, which is handed out in $10 increments during the evening.

The Copper Wok

The Copper Wok at the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven is slated to open later this month. Partners JB Blau and Chef Alex Nagi have put their heads together once again (they opened M.V. Chowder Company in 2011) to create an Asian-inspired restaurant. The menu will be 80 percent Chinese, 15 percent Japanese, and 5 percent Thai and Vietnamese with a little Indian influence, according to Mr. Blau. “It will be Chef’s take on classic, recognizable, and favorite foods of these regions,” he said.

The menu will be appetizer-heavy, featuring popular items such as spring rolls, crab rangoons, dumplings, and spare ribs. A full-time sushi chef will whip up rolls and sushi for dining customers as well as for takeout.

Entrées will be served family style, and sharing is encouraged They will include Pad Thai, the Vietnamese soup pho, General Tso’s chicken, beef and broccoli, and teriyaki steak skewers. The menu will focus on quality, freshness, and flavor at an affordable price.

Drink offerings will consist of “saketails,” sake cocktails made with fresh fruit purées as well as Champagne and beer cocktails, and Asian and domestic beers and wine.

“The menu will be familiar,” Mr. Blau continued. “No one will have to go off Island for Chinese food again.”

Takeout will be available after the first week the restaurant is open.