Everything about Lambert’s Cove Inn and Resort is lovely, from the tree-lined road leading up to the inn to the serene dining room. It has it all — lodging, fine dining, a swimming pool, and complimentary bicycles. It’s also an elegant venue for events and weddings. Owners Jon and Stephanie Saunders bought the property in 2022. With the assistance of awardwinning chef Galen Sampson and his wife, restaurant and events manager and lead gardener, Bridget Sampson, Jon and Stephanie have created a culinary- and hospitality-focused oasis.
“I can’t believe how incredibly lucky we are to have found Galen and Bridget. They won’t toot their own horns, but they’re invaluable partners. They each bring such a diverse set of skills and experience to the inn, and add so much value to the Island community,” Jon Saunders said.
The Lambert’s Cove building itself feels like home, which is not surprising, since the newly renovated building was once a 1790 farmhouse belonging to Francis Foster. The property, formerly a 600-acre farm, provides habitat for birds and other wildlife. The Sampsons are beginning to regenerate this idea by growing edible flowers and building an herb garden that will provide fresh herbs for the restaurant.
Galen and Bridget have made Lambert’s Cove Inn and the Island itself their home for many reasons. “We adore the agricultural scene here, the fantastic farms, the farmers’ markets, and the access to world-class seafood,” Bridget said. “One of our favorite things to do is to drive up to Menemsha, order oysters, sit on the beach and watch the sunset. Besides the gorgeousness of the landscape, the year-round residents have been so kind, welcoming, and supportive. The community here is unlike any other we’ve experienced.”
Both the Sampsons are ardent lovers of food, wine, and farms. Bridget’s leadership at the inn creates a convivial environment for patrons and staff, and she finds great joy in creating extraordinary experiences for people. Galen’s dishes pay homage to farmers, anglers, and producers. He has farming experience himself, and sources locally, searching for the freshest ingredients in the region while also supporting the Island economy. Bridget and Galen also support organic, women-owned wineries, and partner with local artists by showcasing their art in the restaurant.
For Galen, culinary art starts with a true love of ingredients. “This comes from his life around his family’s farm table and his early training by European chefs,” Bridget explained. “We go to the Farmers Market in West Tisbury every week and gather great products for the menus.”
Speaking of ingredients, let’s talk about food. Though I would not consider myself a professional foodie (I like Pop-Tarts), I recognize brilliant food, when after taking a bite, my eyes slide shut, I make an involuntary groaning sound, and my taste buds start performing the Electric Slide. I experienced all of this while dining at Lambert’s Cove.
I started off with the wildflower and spring lettuce salad, which consists of artisan lettuces, nasturtiums, red onion, fennel and shallots, and toasted pistachios, topped with basil-wildflower honey vinaigrette. I was nice enough to let my husband share the salad, though after my first taste, I strongly considered grabbing the plate and yelling, “Mine!”
For my main dish, I ordered the organic chickpea cake with grilled cauliflower, which is cauliflower pan-roasted “falafel,” lemon, basil, cilantro, and parsley, with cucumber-dill yogurt sauce, bell pepper coulis, and spring veggies. Wow. Who knew that chickpeas could be so flavorful? The cucumber-dill yogurt sauce was so delectable, I wanted to ask if I could get a container to go to sip on in the car. My husband had the seared Cape sea scallops with spring pea risotto, Chardonnay, smoked bacon, and pea shoots. The scallops were moist and flavorful, and the risotto tasted like music — Vivaldi’s “Spring,” perhaps.
For dessert, we split a slice of apricot cheesecake. Admittedly, I’m not a cheesecake lover. It’s often too sweet and dense. However, this was not like any cheesecake I’ve ever tasted. The texture was smooth and silky, the amount of sweetness on point, and the touch of apricot was mildly sweet, but not overwhelming.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our server, O’Neil. He was kind, engaging, and knowledgeable. Right off the bat, he asked if we had any food allergies, which is helpful since my husband is allergic to garlic. (I know. It’s so unfair) When ordering wine, I usually get a Riesling, but I didn’t see one on the list, so I asked O’Neil for advice. He brought me a tasting of a wine he thought I’d like, and it was perfect. O’Neil was also seemingly intuitive about when to check in on us — present but not hovering. We had a conversation about eyeglasses, both of us complementing one another’s eyewear choices. O’Neil was even kind enough to take our picture (I wanted to show off).
There are some new things on the horizon for the Lambert’s Cove Inn and Resort. This season brought a redesign of their private dining room, the Forest Room, which features a seven-course tasting menu designed by Galen.
Jenn Knowles, an advanced sommelier, recently joined Lambert’s Cove staff as director of rooms and hospitality. She and her partner are looking forward to becoming part of the community as year-round Islanders. Jenn has 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, and more than 20 years focusing on wine education. She will be working alongside Galen and Bridget to select wines for their list, and will be educating the staff on all things wine. Bon appétit! Get the cheesecake.
The restaurant at Lambert’s Cove Inn and Resort is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 5:30 to 9 pm. From July through Labor Day, it is open seven days a week, from 5 to 9 pm. For more information, visit lambertscoveinn.com or call 508-422-8051.