For months now, I’ve been driving by Beach Road Restaurant in Vineyard Haven, watching renovations progress, hearing rumors of opening dates, and with much anticipation growing. We all know and love State Road, and it’s so nice to have a little Up-Island cooking come Down-Island.
The wait is over. Beach Road opened on Thursday, July 30th. Something new and fresh, and so different for Vineyard Haven, a delicious way to welcome the coming of August (which has come too soon).
Beach Road is a delight for the eyes. From the muted colors of the outside, against the brilliant blue Vineyard skies, to the clever use of a ship’s knee for its sign, you want to go inside.
Inside, the space feels warmer, even more sophisticated. Painting the window frames a darker color really captures the beautiful view of the lagoon, you feel connected to the water.
The dining room is simple, yet well appointed, as is the bar. Speaking of the bar, I would totally love to sit here and sip on some of the cocktails and have a bite to eat with friends. You can tell it’s going to be quite the scene here already.
It can be used for a big party or as a family style table, which can make dinner a lot more fun. You can really meet some interesting people while dining on Martha’s Vineyard.
In addition to dinner, soon the market will be open. When you walk in, there will be a case filled with beautiful pasties, and there will be coffee available too.
To the left of the entrance, you’ll find the what will soon be stocked shelves and the market itself (currently housing restaurant needs). It will be filled with beautiful prepared foods and specialized food items, and retail.
The market is great solution for a quick, sure to be tasty place for breakfast and lunch takeaway, since the dining room is only open for dinner.
The menu is pretty diverse, with a focus on fresh, local, deceivingly simple items. Chef Austin Racine and chef de cuisine Sean Yancey are masters at flavor combinations.
Food is prepared in a way that allows you to really taste the protein or vegetable you’re eating but at the same time the flavors are enhanced and just plain delicious.
There are some noticeable differences with the menu. There is no separation of apps and entrees. The concept is to build your meal — order whatever catches your eye as a starter or order a feast for the table and share a number of things, so you can sample as much as possible. There are no rules to your dining.
I knew what I wanted immediately, the Fried Local Chicken (from The Good Farm). I love fried chicken and would not miss this, and of course, I had to order a side of mashed potatoes to add to the chicken, the jicama slaw and bacon aioli.
The chicken was beautifully fried, so light and tasty, and when you add a little bacon aioli, magic happens. The mashed potatoes were sadly not my favorite. Perhaps if I wasn’t so focused on my chicken, and took a second to add salt and pepp, they would have been better.
For my husband, he ordered the Pork Schnitzel with wood grilled cabbage and fromage frais, and the Broiled Oysters with panetta and leeks. Clearly he and I like different things.
I couldn’t believe he chose schnitzel over the house made hot dog or Pan Seared Fluke with artichoke barigoule, or the Down Island Lobster Roll with peas, bacon, lemon aioli on buttered bun.
Before we got our entrees, we were served the most delicious, warm focaccia bread, topped with herbs and really good olive oil. This is a place to eat bread even for those of you “no bread” people.
It was soooooooo good, dipped with the oil (which I added a little salt to), yum. If I could I would have it for every meal.
I think next time, I’ll have to try the Tower – lobster, shrimp, striper ceviche, razor clam crudo and fish crudo which is $78.00. I think this would be really fun to share and a great way to really enjoy some local seafood.
Then add a little Linguine with Island clams, roasted peppers, leeks and herb salad, and the Up-Island Lobster Roll served with warm butter on a brioche bun and you’d have an amazing meal.
Even though I was stuffed, I had to order dessert. Matt had the Whiskey Pudding which was so good. Leslie Hewson, the pastry chef is beyond amazing. Her pudding creations are so good. You think, why order pudding? But let me tell you, it’s not anything like Jello pudding. It’s amazing.
I ordered the Coconut Cream Pie and am glad I did, though I ate the whole damn thing because my husband hates coconut. It was creamy, with a perfect crust, and served with dollops of house made Fluff – one of Leslie’s signature creations that I am obsessed with.
Vineyard Haven actually has another cool bar to sit at. I like the one at La Soffitta as well, but here, you can get cocktails too. You are in Vineyard Haven, but there are some creative cocktails on the menu using wines.
Though I was drinking wine with my chicken, I am interested in trying the Lavender Collins – Hakutsuru Sake, lavender, and grapefruit sour mix or maybe the Sour Cherry Sparkler – Roederer, sour cherry, peach and get ready for this, tarragon. They sound fun right?
There’s also a good beer and wine selection, and the bar is a cool area. Imagine, you really can have a bite and a drink before catching the ferry boat now. It’s mind-blowing the options that are possible now with the opening of Beach Road.
Authors note: Ask questions. The servers, ours was Mary, are excited about what’s being served. The food is really good and beautiful. Finding out where the oysters are from, the veggies or the fish is a fun addition to dinner conversation. It also helps you feel connected to your food.
I left Beach Road blissful, in a food coma, already knowing what I want for my next visit. I think that means it was pretty good.