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Jan 22, 2009 01:18 PM

Two thumbs up for Antares Cafe!

After reading Newsday's article about Antares Cafe, I thought I would check out one of the places that's helping Northfork to become a dining destination. After reading this description, "Confit of Long Island duck is rich and right, with slightly crispy skin. The bird's nest is a warming puree of turnips of lemony green beans. Tender, house-smoked chicken breasts with zesty black olives, cubed bacon and vegetables, are fittingly presented in earthenware," I was dialing the phone number to make a reservation. I was lucky to get in before he closed for the winter (rumor is chef Matt Murphy is at Jedediah's shaking up the kitchen).

I was pleasantly surprised at the welcoming atmosphere the place it exudes. It's causal atmosphere and sophisticated entrees have me hooked on the restaurant. The staff is equally warm and friendly. The backdrop filled with boats has me yearning to go back in the summer where I'll eat outside and take in the lively atmosphere...even in December I enjoyed taking in all the sites.

I ordered the Long Island Island duck, which a friend also gave high recommendations for, and it lived up to the all the hype and then some. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Who would have ever thought that tucked away by a boating dock is come of the juiciest duck perfectly complimented by its sides. Flavours explode in your mouth.

Antares Cafe definitely gets two thumbs up. I left North Fork a little more curious what other dining gems may lie in the sleepy town. I might have to check out what Mr. Murphy is up to over at Jedediah's in Jamesport until Antares Cafe opens back up.

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  1. I heard that Jedediahs has closed (permanently I mean). ??? Hopefully info is not correct, but the source was good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: coll

      By the looks of their website, they are open for business. I'm going to ask someone what the heck they were talking about!

      1. re: coll

        I had heard that they had fired everyone from last year and were starting over. When I went prior to the closing, it was BEYOND horrible! Starting from the plastic soap dispenser in the bathroom (really, for a place with that kind of interior, I have better soaps in my own house!), to the food. where do I start? the salad had nothing in it but sand, the gnocchi had the worst presentation i've ever seen. floating in oily sauce with scattered black olives. ugh. the service? our waitress never once came over after she dropped the food, and we had to beg for her attention in trying to get the check. total waste of money and i expected so much more, from the hype. nothing makes me want to try it again. too bad, because it's a lovely setting.

    2. Thanks for this report. I am a big fan of this restaurant; here is the Newsday article:

      1. FYI...

        Not an isolated incident judging from others I know who have had run-ins there over the years. Chef is a real loose cannon. My advice? Pray there are no issues with the food and don't say a word if you do have a problem unless you want a steaming side of Attitude served along side it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lazylghtng

          That post is 2 years old!! I've never had a problem with Chef Matt, and in any case, I do not think he is behind the stove this year.

          They have changed their name to Antares/Tiki, which sounds a bit ominous. Anyone have any recent (2009) reports? The duck confit is still on the menu...I am happy to report!

        2. My boss was there last summer (2008) having dinner with his family when a huge argument broke out between the chef and another diner. The guy was pissed because there was only one cook in the kitchen that night (the chef) and it took forever to get any food so this guy had to leave because he had a young child with him. Apparently, he thought the appetizers should have been taken off the bill since their night was ruined. There was no manager, just kids serving food, so the guy asked to speak to the chef since he is the owner, too. The chef came out screaming at the guy, the guy screamed back, the bartender started screaming, another diner got involved, then two police cars and a bunch of cops later...well, nobody there that night got fed anytime soon so the whole ship went down in flames. My takeaway on this is that if you own a restaurant, you should hire a manager to put out fires, and if you are the only one in the kitchen (which is inconceivable) you should stay in the kitchen at all costs, and you should never publicly fight with your patrons because then you are also jeopardizing everybody else's night, too.

          My personal experience there has been fine. Food is hot or miss, but generally pretty good. I have had lousy service, though, and there have been times when I asked to make a substitution and was told that the chef doesn't so this or that, etc. (and they were minor requests). So, he seems not too customer-friendly to me based on my experiences and what I've heard from others.

          4 Replies
          1. re: lazylghtng

            Antare's is now Antare's Tiki serving Caribbean American food - haven't been and not really sure what to think. I liked the old Antare's - had a couple really good meals.

            1. re: foleyd7

              I had a wonderful dinner at Antares last week. My favorite dish on the old menu was the duck confit. Although this is not always on the new menu, you can order it a couple of days in advance, which is what we did. Dinner for four, with one bottle of wine and four duck confits cost $100. I relly like this place. The new "Tiki" menu is heavy on the fish and shellfish. We did not try, but I will be back soon and report back.

              1. re: erica


                We had a very disappointing meal there on Monday night. There were only two other tables occupied and the service was terrible. We weren't offered drinks, the server just came over after about 20 mins. and asked to take our order. She was very sweet and I got the sense from her air of weariness that she was used to hearing complaints.

                The menu is vastly different from last summer, what with the incarnation of Antares as a Tiki Bar. I found it uninspiring and kind of dull. Frankly, I had a hard time finding anything to order. Several choices seemed very out of place for the surroundings and the casual atmosphere. Rack of lamb, roast pork loin, etc. That said, after ordering the duck confit quesadillas, the server returned after another 10 mins. to let me know that they were out of duck. My second choice (which I can no longer recall), they were also out of. Odd, to be out of two items on a Monday night, with only two occupied tables! I imagine they are just keeping their stock very low.

                Anyway, we had the following: An appetizer of buffalo wings. Passable, nothing special. Roasted pork loin, very dry, accompanied by luke warm veggies and yellow rice. Fish and Chips, okay, not too flavorful. Hamburger, ordered medium-rare, arrived gray inside. Second pass, a bit less gray, but certainly not pink in the middle, and burned to a crisp on the underside. This development elicited a round of drinks on the house. Good call on their part.

                Lastly, the ginger creme-brulee was literally about 1/8 of an inch thick! Truly, it barely covered the bottom of the ramekin. Tasted good, but it seemed as if the chef was scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with one portion. Thank God we didn't order two!

                The Antares of last summer was very good, one of our better meals out East. They were serving Blowfish, which you rarely see on a menu. I had a delicious piece of codfish with a lemony crust as I recall.

                This summer, skip it. Another casualty of musical chefs, etc.

                1. re: JGS

                  JGS: Your second choice was linguine. I know this because I was at the table next to yours (!!) LAST Monday night (I ate there 2 Mondays in a row).

                  We shared an appetizer of steamers (which had not been cleaned thoroughly) , and then four of us had the duck confit, that we ordered in advance, once again. Again the duck was superb, but that was due to the advance ordering of the "original" duck confit preparation.

                  I do agree that the rest of the menu does not sound inspired and I am so sorry that you had a poor meal. If you do give them another chance, order the duck, in advance. On another note, they seem to have good wine prices with a fairly low markup.