Nestled in the back of Nevin Square in downtown Edgartown, Détente isn’t a place that you are likely to stumble upon, but it is more than worth the effort of tracking it down. The restaurant has both upstairs and downstairs dining rooms, an outside patio and an eight-seat soapstone bar. The menu features an abundance of locally sourced ingredients and the wine list is ample and well thought-out.
The salad of Goldbud peaches, warm Taleggio cheese and arugula is a favorite of ours. The smell alone is enough to make you hungry, with the warm cheese and pungent white truffle oil combining to make a wonderfully enticing aroma. The dish has many different notes to it, from the salty tang of the Taleggio, to the sweetness of the peaches and finally, the slightly peppery greens, they all come together in an intriguing and delectable way.
Served with a vanilla-lychee puree and bits of candied ginger, the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare sounds like it might be too sweet, but it was actually quite balanced. The tuna was well seasoned with pepper and sesame oil, and had a bit of heat from the ginger and Togarashi. The addition of pine nuts provided some crunch, and the sesame oil just enhanced their nuttiness. A topping of yuzu dressed cress provided a touch of color and texture contrast, completing the plate.
Stacked with shaved Morning Glory radish, cilantro and a crispy Parmesan crisp, the Seared Sea Scallops included tomato confiture and brown butter. The tomato and Parmesan flavors give things an Italian flair that is offset by the brightness of the radishes and the green vegetal taste of the cilantro. Seared hard on one side, the scallops were sweet and barely cooked through, just how we like them.
Sitting on tomato gnocchi and sautéed crabmeat, the Pan Roasted Black Sea Bass came with English spring peas, fresh garbanzos and a sliced heirloom cherry tomato. Seasoned with salt and pepper, the fish was perfectly done, with a crisply seared exterior and still moist inside. The bass was finished with a rich salt cod bisque that really reinforced the seafood flavors of the dish. Both the peas and garbanzos were fresh and toothsome and the gnocchi had a great pillowy texture and a touch of acid. The heirloom tomato really made the whole thing pop, cutting through the creamy bisque and providing a vibrant flavor that we thoroughly enjoyed.
Accompanied by lobster bisque, the Menemsha Lobster had a corn and carrot mixture on top of a toasted slice of brioche. The meat was sweet and yielding, without the chewiness you often find in lobster dishes. Simply put, this was some of the best-cooked lobster we’ve had in a while. The bisque tasted deeply of the sea, and made you want to ask for extra bread, to use for sopping up every last drop.
Veal served with watermelon seems like a strange combination, but it worked surprisingly well in the Braised Veal Short Rib. Along with pickled daikon radish, the watermelon was used to make a salsa, and the plate was garnished with a mint sauce and avocado puree. The meat was very tender; the bone slid away with no effort, and had an Asian tasting spice rub. The veal shank had plenty of well rendered delicious fatty bits, with a touch of orange zest to lighten things up. The refreshing watermelon salsa was crunchy and fruity, but not sweet. While the dish could have come across as too heavy, the acid from the pickled radish really balanced everything out.
While tender, we often find beef tenderloin to be a bit lacking in the flavor department. Détente’s version didn’t have that problem. It arrived a perfect medium rare, with miatake mushrooms, bok choy, roasted garlic puree and potato gratin. The mushrooms had a very earthy, umami property that boosted the flavor of the steak, and along with the miso butter, brought even more richness to the plate. The potatoes were thinly sliced and layered, soft on the inside, with a dark brown and intensely crunchy exterior.
Some of the above photos are of tasting portions; many of these dishes are also available as regular sized appetizers or entrees.
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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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