Doug Smith has worked in almost all positions in the hospitality industry, from dishwasher to bartender, to front of the house manager, and now chef/owner of the popular breakfast spot in Edgartown, Lucky Hank’s. Almost in its fifth year, the restaurant has served breakfast, lunch, and dinner through the years. Though most people think of it as a breakfast option their dinner offerings delight.
On a recent Friday evening the restaurant was bustling, with couples scattered throughout the dining room and a few larger groups tucked around. Even the outdoor space was beginning to fill up as we made our way to our table — I guess I was the only one that forgot they served dinner! We browsed the cocktail menu in search of something springlike and refreshing, since the temperatures were finally warming up. Leaning toward the Raspberry-Mint Lemonade and the housemade Sangria seemed like a no-brainer. The lemonade was made with Deep Eddy Vodka, raspberry purée, fresh mint, and freshly squeezed lemonade, and made me feel like we were in midsummer already. The Sangria, a blend of white wine, fresh berries, mint, peach purée, and sparkling wine, also created that almost-summer feeling at the table.
That night, they were running a few specials, which Doug changes on an almost weekly basis. His inspiration? Whatever’s seasonal, local, and available. I asked when his interest in the culinary arts began, and he responded with a chuckle and a smile: “It’s a passion that instantly grabbed me, out of nowhere!” A passion you can sense as you read the à la carte and specials menu, since the dishes sing to you like a romantic symphony of flavors. The twinkling light on the table made for the perfect setting. The environment at Lucky Hank’s, although he is serving top-quality, almost fine-dining creations, is relaxed and comfortable. There’s nothing pretentious about it, and it’s visible on the menu, as he lists a gorgeous scallop dish alongside a just as delicious meatloaf. It’s that balance that keeps guests coming back for more.
We decided to start with a salad of Thimble Farm greens ($11) with strawberries, avocado, goat cheese, toasted cashews, and a citrus vinaigrette. We were craving summer, and that salad was it! The fresh, local greens were incredibly tender, carefully dressed with a not-too-pungent dressing, and the burst of sweetness from the berries counteracted perfectly with the fatty creaminess of the avocado — it’s a salad I’ll be recreating at home.
The à la carte menu hosts a variety of dishes, everything from a Coconut Curry Cod ($23) paired with pan-roasted, mashed sweet potatoes to BBQ Chicken Thighs ($22) served with mashed potatoes and creamed asparagus. But what won me over were the Pan-Seared Sea Scallops ($26). These were five perfectly seared scallops sitting atop the most decadent lobster and butternut squash risotto — a meal that will stay in my memory for years to come. It was something about the natural sweetness of the scallops and lobster that paired exceptionally well with the earthiness of the squash. The dish was topped with a fresh petite herb salad, which rounded it out deliciously. Another great option, which was listed with the specials for the night but is such a popular item that it’s almost a staple at Lucky Hank’s, was the Menemsha Golden Tilefish ($30). A delicately roasted filet of tilefish was served with a pea purée with a hint of fresh mint that came through, roasted potatoes, onions, and carrots, and a salad of pea tendrils. The freshness of the pea purée also prepared us for the season; nothing says spring more than peas in a dish!
To end the meal, banana bread pudding ($10) seduced me. Warm banana bread pudding topped with ice cream and a light chocolate sauce rounded out the meal. It was a match made in heaven, since my favorite fruit is banana and my favorite dessert is bread pudding.
It’s good to note that Lucky Hank’s also takes care of vegetarian and vegan guests, with a farmer’s share that focuses on cooking exactly what’s growing in season. Having gone vegan for three months himself, Doug notes that the focus on farm-to-table isn’t a choice anymore, but a way of life at his restaurant. Supporting local businesses like Menemsha Fish House, Morning Glory Farm, and Thimble Farm, among others, is how he does it. He’s so in tune to the gluten-free guests that he’s removed soy sauce (made from fermented wheat along with soybeans) from his kitchen and is now exclusively using tamari (made exclusively from soybeans). It’s the little things like that change that really make his cooking stand out.
Lucky Hank’s is currently open six days a week, closed Wednesdays. Breakfast is from 8 am to 2:30 pm, lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and dinner runs from 5 pm until 9 pm. Like them on Facebook for daily specials updates at bit.ly/LuckyHanks, and for reservations call 508-939-4082.