I’m happy to report that things are looking good for dining out in Aquinnah and Chilmark this summer.
Menemsha’s venerable Homeport is now owned and managed by the owners of the Beach Plum Inn and Menemsha Inn & Cottages. Let’s face it: the old Homeport had become tired and not very good in recent summers. It was still a must-visit place for many, but the food was pretty bad. The new owners have kept most of the old menu but freshened it and the ingredients, and you can now order à la carte. Portions are smaller, but to my mind that’s a good thing. http://www.homeportmv.com/
Down the road in Chilmark proper, Beetlebung Corner’s Chilmark Tavern replaces the Caribbean-flavored @the Cornerway. Deon Thomas is now cooking in Oak Bluffs, and we’ll be sure to visit his new place there. Chef Paul O’Donnell, recently of Cambridge, is producing delightfully fresh, inventive dishes using local ingredients where possible. The open kitchen allows a great view of the blazing activity on the line as O’Donnell and his sous-cooks do their work. There is even a bar menu, with dishes in the $10-$15 range. http://www.chilmarktavern.com/index.html
The restaurant in North Tisbury lately known as Deon’s, and before that, Ice House and then Bittersweet, is now called State Road. The owners of Slice of Life in Oak Bluffs have basically rebuilt the restaurant after the devastating fire at Deon’s last year, and it now has a cool, sophisticated vibe amidst vaguely New England-ish trappings. The open kitchen is gone, but there is now a bar area, increased parking, lovely landscaping, and increased seating capacity. Service was professional and friendly. According to rumor, State Road’s chef used to cook at Café Moxie before last summer’s July 4th fire.
For great food with a view, head up to the Cliffs to Faith Vanderhoop’s new seafood shack. Faith and her fiancé James are turning out much better than average classic beach food. The lobster roll is one of the best on the island, and the oysers on the half-shell are succulent and achingly fresh. And up-island sushi lovers will be happy to hear that Faith and James are serving excellent sushi, sashimi, seaweed salad and specialty rolls. You can call ahead and pick up your order, or sit at a picnic table and watch the sunset. Faith’s Seafood Shack