I have known Michael Brisson, the chef/owner of l’etoile for so many years. His restaurant is one of the backbones of the fine dining scene on Martha’s Vineyard. However, it’s the more casual bar that has always been my favorite, and boy are you in for a surprise when you visit this season.
There are some traditions for me when visiting l’etoile, like starting with drinks on the beautiful side porch with friends or for date night. It sets the tone for what is sure to be a wonderful evening. Then it’s time to take it to the next level. Caroline is always such a pleasure to see at the host stand, and makes you feel like you’re part of the family.
Walking into the bar, you were sure to see a friendly face or two, and it was small and intimate. Chances were you would need to wait for a table or a spot at the coveted bar. Never a problem, because just being a part of the scene is fun.
However, the bar has been completely transformed! I am not talking a new paint job, I mean it’s all new! It took a bit for me to adjust to all the changes. On the left of the bar, the wall is lined with banquette seating. Rich deep blue floor to ceiling seating. It’s incredible, and the corner table is sure to become one of the most coveted tables of the season.
To the right, there is now a wall of windows adding so much natural light during early dining hours and a beautiful glow once it’s nighttime. The tables in front of it are inviting and allow for a little people watching which I always enjoy. Winter Street has definitely become a much more interesting street in the past couple of years.
And the bar! The bar is this gorgeous copper masterpiece which was done by Nacho and his team at Island Copper. It’s so beautiful to look at, so cool, and is definitely a special addition.
After we took it all in, my friend Cameron and I opted for a seat at the bar. How could we not sit at that shiny work of art! Our bartenders, Kayla and Lola were lovely to talk with and helpful with wine and cocktail selections. Of course we had to start with a cocktail.
We both ordered the Sydney Martini which had Svedka Citron, Cointreau, passion fruit puree, lime juice and a champagne floater. As you can imagine, it was a fantastic cocktail, Summer in a glass.
The bar menu and the dining room menu are both full of delicious options, but I like to be a little more casual when out with friends. The bar menu has things that are perfect for sharing, which was our goal for the evening.
We wanted to try some of the new items so we started with the Scallop, Sun-dried Tomato, Roasted Corn Fritters tossed with a preserved lemon, basil and yuzu essence. These were so light and flavorful, a perfect dish for Summer. Also, I think these were my first scallop fritters! The bar has been set high at the bar!
For dinner, we opted to split the Grilled Spanish Octopus and the l’etoile burger. The burger is made with local farm raised beef, topped with exotic mushrooms, cheddar, and pickled onions with truffle fries on the side. Though its BBQ season, neither Cameron or myself have had a burger in the longest time, and this is definitely a burger to order! It was delicious.
The octopus was grilled to perfection, served with curried Gigandes beans, grilled Japanese eggplant, roasted tomato and melted leeks – it all just melted in my mouth! So delicious – I am really into grilled octopus this Summer for some reason!
We had a wonderful meal, great drinks and service, and really enjoyed the new vibe at l’etoile’s bar. Though a little part of me misses the coziness of the bar in its previous state, this new space is sure to delight diners in a whole new way.
Michael and his team are culinary masters. They pay so much attention to detail. Every dish is beautiful and cooked to perfection. Dining at l’etoile is always a treat, not matter what the season.
Author’s Note: What we referred to as the blue suede shoes wall. Made us feel as though we were at a swanky Miami restaurant. What fun!