I like to think one of the reasons TJ loves me so much is that I’ve never been one to diet during a restaurant meal. If I am eating at your establishment, you can be assured that I will eat with abandon. TJ is one of those guys that is attracted to women who throw down and belly up. Thank God, although I may have pushed it to the limit with our meal at State Road Restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard this past Saturday night.
Finding a really great dining experience on the Vineyard is harder than it should be. Fresh lobster while perched on a crate in Menemsha is one thing, but fine dining on this island lags behind Nantucket. But now that we’ve discovered State Road, we have a new date night restaurant.
One of the best things about State Road is the fact that it’s BYOB. We were celebrating TJ’s birthday, so we started the evening with a half bottle of Krug Champagne. Krug is TJ’s favorite champagne producer, and this bottle didn’t disappoint. It started off our evening on the right foot with its effervescent bubbles and toasty flavors.
For dinner we opened the 1996 Guiseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore. TJ bought this bottle in Italy a few years ago after spotting it at a little Enoteca. He bartered with the owner and brought it home in his size 14 shoes. It opened up with a little raisin quality to it, but had lively acidity and an herbaceousness that TJ was excited about. By the time we drank it an hour later, the raisin had changed to black cherry and strawberry. It was light enough for our pork and chicken, but didn’t skimp on flavor at all. TJ was absolutely thrilled.
We were starving, so we started with their House Made Ricotta with Crostini and Olive Oil. Wow. In addition, I smeared some on their homemade rosemary bread, also delicious. The ricotta was SO light and fluffy. Little clouds of goodness.
Next, we split the Sweet Corn Soup with Jonah Crab and the Seared Sea Scallops with Eggplant Puree, Preserved Lemons and Arugula, and Tomato Jus. Neither of these pictures does the food justice. Those scallops were divine. I love eggplant, but get weird about what I’ll pair with it. I never would have thought scallops and eggplant would taste good together, but it worked. And look at the sear on those suckers!
For our entrees, TJ had the Pork Chop with Collard Greens, Tomatoes, Cheddar Grits, and Pancetta. I had the Pan Roasted Chicken with Squash, Chicken Hash, and Roasted Potatoes. I hadn’t had chicken in forever, so this tasted fantastic to me. I would have liked a bowl of the Cheddar Grits on the side, but I was too stuffed. That said, I had a few bites of TJ’s grits and they were great. I heart cheddar grits.
For dessert TJ got the Salted Butterscotch Whiskey Pudding (with a candle) and I got the Yogurt Pannacotta with Blueberry Compote. State Road sources as many products as possible from the island itself and that really showed in my Pannacotta. It was made from milk from Mermaid Farm, a farm just up the road. It was pungent stuff. Like freshly milked and churned kind of stuff. At first it threw me off, but by the end I was digging it. But TJ’s butterscotch pudding stole the entire night. He is so good about sharing bites, but I couldn’t get much out of him when it came to dessert. I guess it was his birthday, after all.
The part that I loved the most about this meal was that State Road took the best local produce and meat from all around the island and featured it in their food. I love when restaurants focus on fresh food like that because you can really taste the difference. I also love that we are supporting all the little farms on the island by eating at State Road. Just a fabulous meal all around.
Happy birthday to TJ. What a week of celebrating it has been!