Summing up summertime Martha's Vineyard means summertime to the thousands of visitors who cross open ocean to reach this charming, celebrated island, and The Black Dog Tavern which you can see from the deck of the ferry as it pulls into Vineyard Haven harbor means savory, summertime food.

Opened almost 30 years ago, this simple restaurant has become a mealtime magnet and mecca for off-islanders (and that includes painters, poets, presidents, pop stars, and just plain folks) and islanders alike.

Having ridden the waves of food fads and fashions, its operators and chefs have developed an easy philosophy food should be fresh, uncomplicated, and pleasing to the eye. The Black Dog is a happy, happening place, and their first foray into cookbooks reflects the mood that shapes the food. The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook by Joseph Hall and Elaine Sullivan is as sunny as a perfect August day, attractively designed, filled with full-color photos that evoke the food, the place, the people, and over 120 delectable recipes that form a practical, prandial paean to three squares a day. You'll want to rise and shine for the breakfast specials from fabulous Black Dog Fishcakes (a real Yankee treat) to a stack of Banana-Blueberry pancakes; then lunch on clam chowder (a must in New England), Watercress Mushroom Salad and Steamed Mussels; and if there's any room left for dinner, you can sample the Sesame Crusted Salmon Fillet, classic Lamb Chops with Juniper Berry Marinade, and Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas and finish up with Black Dog Ginger Cookies or their famous Fudge Bottom Pie.

Sybil Pratt has been cooking up this column for more than five years.

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