When it comes to lobster rolls, the more bare bones a restaurant is, the better. The best lobster rolls we’ve ever had were usually served grumpily through a kitchen window and eaten on picnic tables, often in a crab grass lot by the side of a major thoroughfare. Because why would you need table linens, atmosphere or attentive service? They would only detract from the main event. (more…)
Still reeling from the $23 price tag of a pint of clams at the Bite, we approached seafood shack the Net Result in Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard with caution. This combination take-out joint and fish market gets their catch daily from Larsen’s in Menemsha, so they could charge a lot for the fresh quality. But we were pleasantly surprised to find some of the best prices on the island at this casual picnic spot with views of the harbor.
Don’t expect a lot of frills here; just get in line and follow the various instructions on hand-written signs around the room. (more…)
There’s no shortage of fancy restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard – the only problem is choosing just one when you only have a few nights on the island. Alchemy is a perennial favorite, but if you want to get away from the hoi polloi in the center of Edgartown on weekend nights, head to Atria for its patrician atmosphere.
At Atria, whitewashed Adirondack chairs spot the gracious side lawn, where you can settle in for drinks or dinner outside, and inside there’s a dining room hung with antique fish prints and furnished with dark spindle chairs, plus a downstairs pub, Brick House, that serves up burgers, beer on tap and live music. It’s the sort of place you can imagine the Kennedys going (but that may be just because several people in the clubby dining room that night actually looked like Kennedys). (more…)
It may look pretty basic, but this famous seafood shack on the road down to Menemsha draws people from near and far. One one side of us, a family chatted in Italian, and on the other, a couple of summer people despaired the outage of fried scallops so early in the afternoon. What you see is what you get: a shack, sodas from a machine, fried seafood and some picnic tables, but there’s nothing ordinary about the quality of the Bite’s fried clams.
This seemingly simple dish is actually easy to mess up, and therefore I usually avoid it. More often than not, fried clams come out listless, dry and tasteless, with a leaden, greasy crust. But lesser fry cooks everywhere could learn from the Bite, where the batter is light and slightly spicy with a hint of cayenne and the finest grinding of sea salt, the crunch satisfying but not overwhelming, and the clams themselves still plump, bursting with juiciness and served whole. (more…)
You could plunk down a good deal of money for dinner at the fancy Home Port restaurant in Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard, a tiny fishing town known for its beautiful sunsets. Or you could enjoy the sunset as the families who have been coming here for years do: bring your beach chairs and wine and make it a picnic.
About that wine: don’t forget to buy it from Edgartown or Oak Bluffs, since they don’t sell it “up island,” which is completely dry due to some rather antiquated blue laws. But wait until you get to Menemsha to buy your dinner, or you’ll be missing out on one of the town’s main attractions. Larsen’s, half seafood store, half take-out shop, dishes out lobsters, clams and oysters just hours after they’ve been plucked from the sea. This market also acts as the wholesaler supplier to many of the seafood places on the island, so when you come here, you’re getting it at the source. (more…)
As will become clear from this article, we didn’t make it out of Edgartown during our entire three-day stay on Martha’s Vineyard. (We did the preppy version of this weekend’s NYT tour.) While the picturesque Victorian town of Oak Bluffs is definitely worth visiting, there’s enough dining in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard to fill a long weekend’s worth of meals, if you don’t mind ending up at the same bar every night. Best of all, you can walk everywhere.
Dining out in a seaside town can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have access to the freshest seafood around; on the other, nearly anyone can put up a sign like “Best Lobster Rolls!” and tourists won’t be any the wiser.
Fortunately, Martha’s Vineyard has a large year-round population of about 15,000, slightly larger than Nantucket and more than enough to sustain a restaurant that wants to go above and beyond tourist fare. And many summer people, like our generous hosts, captains of the S.S. Sapphire, have been coming to this idyllic spot for decades. Word gets around fast when there’s a good restaurant in town – or when something new is not worth the hype.
Alchemy in Edgartown is a French-style bistro in traditional New England clothing – muted colors, wainscoting, ivy topiaries. The only thing old-school about the food, however, is the local ingredients like scallops, peas, and oysters, which are just the starting point for the culinary wizardry that ensues. (more…)