Don’t you love when you are scrolling through Instagram and you find something that causes you to do a double-take? Well, that’s how we found out that lunch at the Outermost Inn is now being served!
Yes, it’s true, there are fun things happening up in Aquinnah this off-season. Alex Taylor — her parents own the Outermost — wanted to do something for folks up-Island. There are a lot of people and nothing is open.
She decided to try something new, offer lunch and brunch at the Outermost Inn. She found a chef, more to come on that, knew she wanted a menu that could accommodate a lazy, leisurely lunch (brunch), but still have items that work for takeaway.
Lunch at the Outermost is something special. First of all, if you’re not up-Island, the drive itself can be pretty magical. Second, the view is spectacular. On one side, you have the Gay Head Lighthouse and the other side, you have the ocean. There are not many places that can deliver this stunning surrounding view. Not to mention, that there was a fire going too!
Next, let’s talk menu. It not your plain ole’ hamburger or chicken sandwich. You can get that anywhere. On the Outermost Inn lunch menu, there are meals that are thoughtfully prepared, small-batch dishes made with really good ingredients, with an emphasis on taste.
Many things are made in-house, like the chicken liver pate, fresh-baked breads, dressings, soups, baked goods and more. You can go light with a soup and salad, have a main dish, order sides, there are a number of options.
The dish that caught my eye was the Fried Chicken and braised greens ($16). Always a sucker for this dish, it was an easy choice, even though the server, Bailey, recommended the Short Ribs and Creamy Polenta too.
I started with an excellent glass of red wine, savored the view, which included not only the iconic Island images mentioned above, but dear frolicking as well in the lawn below. Definitely one of those magical afternoons, one where you could just settle in for the rest of the day and let the world pass by.
Alex has Vermont Chef Nathaniel Wade of Misery Loves Co. (nominated for a James Beard Award) in the kitchen. I love how some of the most talented of people end up here on the Island, pursuing their passions, like cooking simple, good food.
The food did not disappoint. The Fried Chicken dish consisted of two perfectly fried and seasoned pieces of chicken. The batter was light and flavorful, pairing perfectly with the hearty braised kale with pancetta side dish. This was a gourmet lunch. One that is meant to be savored and enjoyed, not rushed if possible.
Oh and that sauce on the side – the honey sauce! It is so good. Dip your chicken in that sauce! I promise you that it is amazing! I took some home and put it on everything — bread, oatmeal, fruit. They should bottle that sauce and sell it.
As I enjoyed each bite, I overheard the neighboring ladies who had lunch too, inquire about dessert. I stopped for a minute, almost jumping for joy at the mention of a seven layer carrot cake.
I guess since I was a member of the clean plate club for lunch (it was to good to not eat every last morsel), I should explore dessert. After all, it is for work, and readers should have the chance to learn about the whole experience.
While Nathaniel is creating delicious meals, Alex is having fun baking desserts. Each week is a new adventure for her, an exploration into her creative baking side.
Ah, wine and carrot cake, and that view. I think I was truly lost in heaven for a couple of minutes. The carrot cake was simply amazing! Layers of moist cake and creamy frosting. I even got so lost in the moment that I started eating the cake before a picture!
If it’s not too busy, you’ll find Alex in the dining room chatting with people. She is even willing to share some of her baking secrets with you. For example, she steamed and pureed the carrots for the cake which makes for a smooth, super moist cake. Bye-bye shredded carrots for this girl!
Make a date to head to the Outermost for lunch. They are open Thursday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and for brunch on Sunday. The brunch menu offers many of the lunch items in addition to some great breakfast-ish additions.
The food is simple, flavorful and small batch. The ingredients are good and carefully selected. Can you grab and go? Sure. Do you want to, no. Stay a while, and let this lunch happen slowly. Lunch at the Outermost Inn will be available through December.
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Pro Tip: Ask about the Ploughman’s Plate if you are with other people or just super hungry! And in-season, dinner at the Outermost Inn is one of the most spectacular on Martha’s Vineyard. Start planning for summer 2020.