Simply named for its address, State Road is one only of a handful of restaurants operating in the surprisingly undeveloped (for The Vineyard, at least) town of West Tisbury. They are open for breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday, and serve dinner seven nights a week. Approaching the restaurant from the parking lot, the first thing you notice is all the herbs and vegetables growing in their outside patio/garden. Their commitment to using fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible is evident after a quick scan of their ever-changing menu.
As you may have noticed, the Hungry Native team is a big fan of charcuterie in general, and more specifically, charcuterie plates. State Road’s rendition included pickled vegetables, caraway beer mustard, cornichons, pork fig terrine, garlic pork sausage and Good Farm chicken liver mousse. Featuring a center of smoked pork tenderloin and dotted with spiced figs and pine nuts, the pork terrine had a lot of textural variety, and sweet, spiced flavor. Pleasantly salty and exceedingly smooth, the mousse had an unexpectedly mild flavor, without the overly mineral flavors sometimes associated with liver.
With greens from Nip-n-Tuck Farm and brightly colored pickled beets, The Maine Jonah Crab Salad was vibrant in both looks and flavor. The sharp and grassy flavor of jalapeno-lime vinaigrette cut through the fattiness of the ripe avocado and balanced nicely with the sweetness of the beets and flaky crabmeat.
Arriving at the table in a miniature cast iron pot, the Local Pea Soup had a vivid garden fresh aroma combined with a waft of buttery richness. Barely cooked peas mingled with grilled shrimp in a light, yet flavorful broth. When sampled alone, the soup was fresh and tasty, but when coupled with the grilled shrimp, the dish took new level of flavor and complexity. The smokiness of the shrimp melded perfectly with the natural sweetness of the peas, and we found it very interesting to try spoonfuls both with and without the shrimp, almost as if they were two different soups.
Served with artichoke frites and a lemon crème fraiche, the Spring Garlic and Artichoke Soup had a deep, earthy artichoke flavor. The “frites”, while made from crispy fried artichoke, actually tasted more like their namesake than we expected. The addition of lemon zest in the crème fraîche really made the dish, brightening it up, while still letting all the vegetable flavors come through.
Seared scallops are fairly ubiquitous on menus these days, but finding properly cooked examples can still be a challenge. Happily, State Road’s Pan Seared George’s Bank Sea Scallops hit the mark. With a hard sear on the outside and an almost opaque center, they were exactly what we were looking for. The sweetness of the citrus gastrique was tempered by the bitterness of the grapefruit, making for an interesting flavor combination that worked well with the unctuous, mouth coating properties of the scallops.
According to the menu, The Cleveland Farm Pig garlic sausage and crispy torchon is accompanied by Morning Glory Farm arugula, Dijon and pickled vegetables. We think referring to the mustard that comes on this plate simply as “Dijon” does it a tremendous disservice. It’s very, very good, but is also sinus-clearingly hot. That said, the sausage was uncommonly tender, with perhaps a hint of clove flavor to go with the garlic, and the torchon had the great mixture of a crispy fried exterior and a fatty, almost gamey, rich meaty interior.
If you’ve never eaten skate before, you owe it to yourself to try State Road’s Pan Seared Menemsha Skate Wing. Served on top of ricotta cavatelli with Morning Glory Farm peas, roasted tomatoes, and favas, it was deep golden brown and looked like a ribbed filet of sole. The crust was fabulous, crisp without being too crunchy, and the meat had a really interesting texture, somewhere between fish and crab. While the dish had a strong lemon flavor, it wasn’t too acidic, and really suited the mild, flaky skate. The cavatelli still had some tooth to it and the tomatoes added a nice pop of flavor.
The Wood Grilled Sirloin featured Northeast Family Farms beef, herb crushed Morning Glory Farm potatoes, haricot vert and foie gras butter. The thickly cut steak arrived rare, as we ordered, and had beautiful grill marks. The robust beef flavor blended well with the smoky flavor and aroma from the wood grill. Sirloin can be a lean cut of meat, but the foie gras butter added some fattiness and an extra dimension of flavor. The plate had just enough potatoes, enough to soak up all the great juices, but enough to get in the way of the steak.
The Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding with Salted Sunflower Seed Brittle had the perfect balance between sweet and salty and was both novel and comforting at the same time. With the smooth pudding, extremely crunchy brittle and hits of salt flavor, every single bite was interesting.
Editor’s note ~ At Hungry Native, our restaurant reviews are by no means comprehensive, we may have visited a particular place many times, or perhaps only once. For the most part, we focus on specific dishes. We try to judge restaurants for what they are, rather than compare them directly. No review should be taken as a blanket endorsement of an establishment but rather a guide to what we found especially good or interesting.
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