Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Island Getaway: Detente, Martha's Vineyard

With no big vacation plans this year, Jeff and I decided to take a little island getaway on Martha's Vineyard. We left early Saturday morning and came home yesterday. At this time of year, heading to the Vineyard can be a gamble: May can be cold and rainy or it can be perfect. We got perfection: sunny skies, low humidity, and temperatures in the 70s.

We roamed the quaint towns and hit a number of the island's best eateries: a couple of top-rated restaurants as well as local favorites my family has come to love over the years. Detente, tucked in a small corner of Nevin Square in Edgartown, is the top rated restaurant on the island and it's fast becoming a local favorite as well.

We went there Monday night, our last night on the Island and it was the perfect ending. We'd had plenty of good meals, but Detente is fine dining at its best. From presentation to the last bite, you can appreciate the hard work that goes into every dish. Each item on the menu is comprised of several complex flavors. For example, one first course was soup and salad. It was a lobster bisque and then next to it was a lobster salad with a tarragon aioli, and fresh seasonal vegetables. A diner at the next table ordered it and it was beautiful.

The menu, though short, has excellent variety and features the season's finest ingredients, including ramps, fiddlehead ferns, lamb, and veal. To start Jeff ordered seared scallops served with yellow tomato confiture, radish salad, and Parmiggiano. I don't really ike scallops but I had to have a taste. Cooked to perfection, they had a great crust on the outside and the added flavors from the confiture and crisp radishes were wonderful.

I chose a pork bolognese with goat cheese ravioli and pork belly crumbs. I was served a hearty pile of pork bolognese (think pulled pork, not sauce). It was surround by a basil puree of the deepest green and topped with a single egg pasta ravioli stuffed with soft creamy goat cheese. Atop the ravioli was a paper thin slice of preserved lemon and a sprinkle of crispy bit of pork belly. The tart lemon with the rich bolognese was an amazing contrast and the ravioli was simply delicious. Not a speck remained on my plate!

After a short wait, our entrees appeared. I can rarely resist halibut, so my decision was an easy one. It was served with prawns, gnocchi, asparagus and leek puree. It's like they figured out my favorite things and put them all together in a perfect combination. The dish was served on a long rectangular plate. In the center, the halibut filet sat on top of a pile of light gnocchi. Three spears of asparagus lay across the fish and a pile of frizzled leeks topped the whole thing. On either side sat a big, beautiful prawn, served with the head on (yum!). An artistic smear of dark green leak puree cross the whole plate and I could swear there was a bit of white truffle oil on those little gnocchi. The combination of textures and flavors was inspired: tender gnocchi, crispy leeks, sweet prawns... I ate just about everything on my plate (Jeff ate the rest).

Jeff's dinner was equally appealing. He chose grilled veal with a red wine reduction, ramps, potato gratin and a watercress-pancetta salad. To his delight some fiddlehead ferns also appeared on the plate. The veal was cooked perfectly: tender and juicy and it was seasoned with a spicy black pepper. The pepper contrasted beautifully with the watercress, pancetta and red wine reduction. I probably don't have to tell you that there wasn't a speck left on the plate.

We didn't have room for dessert, but the menu featured a selection of cheeses as well as a pot de creme, a trio of chocolates and a couple others that I cannot remember (probably because they didn't have chocolate!)

Detente takes reservations one month in advance so if you are booking a trip to the Vineyard, plan ahead. They book up quickly especially in the prime months of July and August, but they have added more seating this year with the addition of a second floor. The restaurant also features a wine bar, so the wine selection is excellent and the staff knowledgeable about pairing the wines with the different dishes.

Detente Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Julie M. said...

It sounds like you had a nice time. I've never been to Martha's Vineyard but I'd love to see it someday. Your meals sound lovely too!

Magic of Spice said...

That must have been wonderful:)

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