A memorable spread at State Road restaurant

Heirloom cherry tomatoes with plums, garden herbs, and strawberry vinegar.

Heirloom cherry tomatoes with plums, garden herbs, and strawberry vinegar. 

My cousin Brad is the sous-chef at Eastern Standard in Boston, so when it comes to dinner out, he’s the default decision-maker. He visited me on-Island a couple of weeks ago, and I kept thinking about where we should go for dinner. There are so many places to choose from — so many good places that wouldn’t disappoint. But my cousin knew what he wanted.

Chefs have their own little network of knowing what’s good and where, and State Road in West Tisbury quickly surfaced when he asked around about Martha’s Vineyard. Say no more; State Road it was.

The Gulf of Maine halibut is pan roasted served with fresh herbs from the garden.

I had been there once before for Mother’s Day brunch, and I was all about the hip and cozy rustic vibe. The brunch menu was nothing shy of fantastic, with its smoked salmon scrambled eggs and fresh fruit smoothie selection. I knew dinner would deliver just as much as this Sunday brunch did, especially since it’s one of Obama’s favorite spots. At the time he was still on-Island — maybe he’d be there too.

State Road doesn’t take reservations, but for Brad, apparently they do. That’s another perk of the chef network; they help each other out. So a table for our party of four — my sister Lauren and Brad’s girlfriend Katie were also in town — was set aside.

The restaurant’s weathered wood shingles, stone walls, and well-tended landscape make you feel right at home. Inside, there’s a golden, candlelit hue and low-toned chatter, insinuating a full house. A hostess led us to our table in the restaurant’s quaint patio area.

Morning Glory roasted carrots.

We started with appetizers, and Brad had no restraints. He went with the Farmhouse Salad ($15) that featured lettuce and herbs picked fresh from the garden. The salads are a chef’s creation, and ingredients depend on what’s ready to be picked. At the time, it was crunchy snap peas galore. We also ordered the heirloom cherry tomatoes ($18) with plums, garden herbs, and strawberry vinegar. The tomatoes had a dehydrated texture, but burst with fresh flavor. We also ordered the sea scallops ($23). The pan-seared “candy of the sea” were tender with flavor, and cooked with corn espuma, black garlic aioli, pickled mustard seeds, and red vein sorrel.

I ordered the cavatelli entrée ($24), a pasta dish served with a cheese sauce and chopped mushrooms that I honestly haven’t been able to stop thinking about. My cousin and Katie split the swordfish (market price) and Morning Glory roasted carrots ($16), served with sherry vinaigrette and salbitxada, and my sister went with the Gulf of Maine halibut ($36). The halibut was pan-roasted with sweet corn porridge with beech mushrooms and fava beans.

We didn’t stop there. For dessert, we ordered the summer peach cobbler ($12), served warm with rolled oat crisp and ice cream, and the bluebird cheese with pickled red currants ($8). We split two glasses of the orange dessert wine — I’ve never tried a dessert wine before, but it was sweet and delicious, and perfectly topped off our spread.

Needless to say, the bill added up quickly, but when you dine with a chef, you trust him. I walked away confident I had one of the best meals of my summer — Brad agreed.

State Road restaurant is located at 688 State Rd. in West Tisbury. They serve dinner beginning at 5:30 every night, and Sunday brunch from 8 am to 2 pm. For more information, visit stateroadrestaurant.com.