This Review of The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn is from our recent visit while in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard. The building housing the inn, which is Relais & Chateaux, and the Terrace Restaurant, was built in 1864 by a whaling ship owner, for his family, but first became an inn in 1934, before falling into disrepair in the 1960s. Only in 1972 was the inn meticulously restored, becoming a member of Relais & Chateaux in 1992.
The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn Location, Hours and Reservations
The Charlotte Inn is located at 27 South Summer Street in the heart of Edgartown, just off of Main Street.
Particularly during summer peak season, I recommend making advance reservations for dinner. Note that dinner is served nightly from 5:30pm mid-May to Columbus Day, but after Columbus Day dinner is only served Wednesday-Sunday, with annual closure in January.
There's an outdoor terrace, but because summer can be quite hot and humid, I recommend dining indoors, which is air conditioned and more comfortable.
As we were dining early with friends, just before 6:30pm, we were the 3rd party seated, although subsequently other tables were seated during our visit–primarily couples, but also a larger family group with some older kids.
The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn Menu and Food
Personally, I like menus that aren't too long, as long as the ingredients are extremely fresh and thoughtfully sourced. The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn follows this model, with just 8 appetizer choices and 5 main course choices, supplemented by additional daily specials (these included a Lobster Bisque, a crab appetizer, and a salmon main course).
There's a large wine list as well, and a few wines by the glass; my husband opted for a Sancerre, although strangely it wasn't brought for quite some time, until after he'd already been served his appetizer.
After ordering, we were offered a choice of breads, which included white rolls, cheese bread, cranberry bread and wheat bread, along with butter. I liked that they were all served warm, something that sometimes even Michelin starred restaurants don't do.
As an amuse bouche, we were brought some goat cheese on house baked bread, with basil oil and balsamic reduction:
My husband's appetizer of seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras was the meal highlight, perfectly cooked and with a great cherry demi glace, complemented by a squash cake. Only the green onion garnish was a little odd.
On the other hand, I didn't think much of my son's “Fromage of the Day” plate, both because the cheeses were so boring, compared to ones we get from Murray's Cheese in NYC, and because the accompaniments were a little odd, with pickles and strawberries also on the cheese plate. The champagne grapes at least were a good accompaniment.
Due to one of our party feeling a bit under the weather, we had to depart before the main courses could be served, so they were kind enough to box them up for us.
The Massachusetts Chicken was wonderfully moist, probably a combination of both careful sourcing and brining, so no complaints there.
The Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta were my second favorite taste of the evening, after the foie gras appetizer.
The Bolognese was more standard, comfort fare, but still quite good, with great flavor and pasta cooked al dente.
I liked but didn't love The Terrace at The Charlotte Inn. It's beautiful and quiet, perfect if you feel like avoiding the much more crowded places in Edgartown, so the setting is lovely for a romantic night out or peaceful family dinner (although I wouldn't bring young children here; in fact, the minimum age is apparently 12, although I didn't realize this when making our reservation).
The menu is straightforward, and will appeal to traditionalists who don't want too much innovation with their dishes. The meal started well with warm, fresh bread, although we were not offered any more once we'd each consumed our slice. While I always appreciate an amuse bouche, the goat cheese with bread was a little too simple to be memorable. My son's cheese course was a bit disappointing; the selections, taste-wise, were less interesting than those we regularly buy at Murray's Cheese here in NYC, and I found it odd to be serving pickles and strawberries on the same plate with the cheese.
I will say that my husband's Hudson Valley Foie Gras with squash cake, cherry demi glace and berries was perfect, and my favorite of the dishes we tried. The Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta were fantastic, and the Massachusetts Chicken was moist and flavorful, so full points there as well. And the Terrace Bolognese was great comfort food, with the pasta cooked perfectly al dente.
What I do feel let The Terrace down was the service. At this price point, you expect excellent service, and it wasn't quite there. My husband's requested glass of Sancerre wasn't brought to him during the bread service or the amuse bouche, and when he asked for it after having been served his foie gras appetizer, our server gave us a curt “I'm getting it now,” response and looked visibly harried, instead of apologizing for the delay. And one of us has an allergy that we emphasized to our server, yet was brought a plate that had items that could have been contaminated with the allergen.
What's your favorite special occasion restaurant in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard?
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