As you may know, I have always been a big fan of Behind the Bookstore. There is something wonderful about enjoying a great cup of coffee or bite to eat in someplace that feels so intimate but is just steps off of Main Street in Edgartown (behind Edgartown Books).
Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, Behind the Bookstore (BTB) has begun offering dinner. As dusk begins to settle in, the lights under the sail awnings come on, offering a lovely glow.
Nestled in those deep chairs, surrounded by the garden setting, you can enjoy a dining experience unlike any other in Edgartown and possibly on the Island.
Since BTB can serve alcohol, there is now an outdoor bar. Here, you can relax, have a signature cocktail and enjoy the raw bar selection offered here. It’s kinda fun to begin your BTB dinner experience here first.
Here, their shucker extraordinaire, Dragos, who’s from Romania, serves up some really great oysters and more. One of the things that BTB has become known for is the house-made cocktail sauce.
It’s so fresh and so much more than ketchup and horseradish. Oh, and I should also mention that they even make their own ketchup!
You can also get an amazing seasonal crudo which depends on what fish is delivered that day. When I was there, it was fluke, and Dragos will tell you that it’s the best.
And speaking of fresh, while I was there, Nic Turner from Honeysuckle Oysters delivered the oysters for the evening, fresh from Katama Bay. Gotta love being so close to the ocean.
While at the bar, maybe get something to drink. There’s a nice beer and wine selection, but it’s the cocktails that caught my eye.
I tried Scarleth’s Tonic which had Farmer’s Organic Gin, Elderflower liquor, house made lavender syrup, lime and a little tonic. It was not only pretty, but also light and refreshing, perfect for a warm Summer’s evening.
Dining In The Garden
As I mentioned, it’s such an intimate setting for dinner. I love eating alfresco, and this little spot is a new favorite. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the menu is pretty amazing.
I met with the chef, Meave McAuliffe. This is the first petite, beautiful, sweet, inspiring woman chef I have met. I was immediately smitten, and wanted to know more about her food style.
She is from L.A., and has cooked for the owners of Edgartown Books and BTB, the Sudikoff family. They asked her to come and spearhead this amazing project.
Being from L.A., Meave has a different way of viewing food. On the West Coast, most food is really light, really fresh, not fried or saucy. The BTB dinner menu reflects this style.
There’s a good selection of small and large plates. You can opt for a traditional mix of a small plate for an app and a large plate for dinner or select a couple small plates and get a good sample.
You can go family style or order just for yourself. I know that I myself am not the best food sharer, but I’m learning, since there is such a bounty of good food to choose from.
Meave’s food is very farm centric, drawing inspiration from what the farms have available. This has been a fun challenge for her here. Our farms are smaller, specialized, but still offer the most beautiful food to cook with.
Because of the seasonality and changing availability from the farms, the menu changes weekly. So, if you have a favorite, go twice that week, because next week, that dish might not be available.
Though there are some consistent items, like the Menemsha Mussels with house made chorizo (which Meave says is some of the bet you’ll have), fennel, fresno chili and grilled crusty bread. Though the mussels are amazing, it’s the bread dipped in the jus that is the super star.
Note that there are a number of creative vegetarian dishes on the menu. Not just a veggie dish, but thoughtful, eye catching dishes.
One of the most popular (and a frequent item on the menu) is the Blue Corn Vegetable Fritter with wild mushrooms, shelling peas, creamy pepita sauce and fresh corn. I am a true carnivore but this sounds tempting to me.
There are so many scrumptious sounding dishes that are beautiful too. Take the Grilled Flank Steak with french lentils, roasted baby carrots. soffrito and salsa verde – feast for your senses.
Whatever you choose, choose with confidence. The food is so fresh and so many ingredients are made in house or sourced as local as possible.
Though the kitchen is tiny, big flavors come out of it, and I have to mention it again. They even make their own ketchup which I caught a glimpse at while under boil. That’s devotion to cooking from scratch.
Behind the Bookstore is open for dinner from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Tuesday thru Sunday. Not serving on Monday but do not despair, you can still enjoy cocktails and the raw bar.
I should also let you know that the coffee shop closes at 5:00 p.m. just in case you were in the mood for an expresso drink.
Dining at BTB is a must for your Summer food experience, but if you’re pressed for time during the crazy month of August, don’t worry. You’ll be able to try it in next month.
The plan is to stay open until October 15th. Dining outside there is truly a memorable experience. Loved it? You can also get breakfast and lunch at BTB too.
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