North Fork Dining
Sf hounds heading to NYC in the Fall and then on to the North Fork for 3 days. We are staying in Greenport so Frisky Oyster is a probable. Has anyone eaten @ North Fork Inn and Table lately? Reviews? Any other ideas? We will have a car. Mind you, we have eaten our way across Manhattan (and into Brooklyn ) for 9 days prior to our arrival. Places we like in NYC include:
Perilla, Little Owl, Dell'Anima and Pearl.(these are our stand-bys).
May be going to North Fork Table this spring. Other possibilities are (we will be going out three times): Comtese Theresa's Bistro in Aquebogue if they are open by then(Arie from Coeur d'Vignes is chef), Jededian Hawkins (Bill Clinton's ex chef is taking over, hopefully will live up to its potential) http://www2.timesreview.com/NR/Storie... or Amarelle in Wading River http://events.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/.... I'll let you know where I go in a month or so, and my reviews.
North Fork Table & Inn is as good as ever. Don't skip it.
For breakfast, try Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck (on Love Lane!)
There is also a fantastic cheese shop right across the street. Great place to pick up supplies for a winery picnic lunch.
In case you didn't know, Frisky Oyster now has another location called Frisky Oyster Bar. I like it even more than the regular. Different menu, but it's definitely still a restaurant, not necessarily are bar at all.
NF Table is a must stop. Here are notes from my last vist last summer which included stops at NF Table and also Vine in Greenport:
On Friday, we had 8 pm reservations at the North Fork Table and I think everyone enjoyed dinner. I stared with a simple raw tuna appetizer that was excellent with perfect color and flavor. It came with a dipping sauce of green apple mustard curry oil, and while good, I prefer to eat most of my tuna plain so that nothing competes with the natural flavor. I followed that up with a grilled veal chop served with polenta; I forget the cheese that the polenta was mixed with, but it was phenomenal. As for the veal, my first bite was a little disappointing - - probably because of the dark grilled char around all the edges that masked some of it’s natural tenderness - - but as I got towards the center and towards the bone, it got better and better with every bite. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a veal chop that was so juicy. For dessert I had what can only be described as a smores-like dessert with grilled bananas, but in this case the graham cracker was homemade and the dish was ice cream based (rather than marshmallow). It was really indulging, but fell far short of 2 other desserts I sampled that night. Karl ended up getting their home made sorbets with 3 separate scoops of varying flavors; the winner there was the coconut sorbet. It was perfectly blended together - - just the right amount of coconut to add some texture (without being overwhelmingly grainy) but not so much as to overpower your palette and weigh down the sorbet. The winner of all the desserts however was Joe and Liz’s donuts. Really. Donuts. The pastry chef at NFT came from Gramercy Tavern in NYC and right now I’m thinking they really miss her donuts. These small sugar & spice donut rounds were served piping hot and melted in your mouth.
Liz got the Strip Steak which was very good but a bit too done for my liking (anything that isn’t med rare is too done for me!). Some of the other winners that I sampled this night included:
Spring garlic and white asparagus soup (TJ) – which had a nice hint of pepper plus some added flavor from the touch of Berkshire pancetta used in the preparation.
Sweet, sour & spicy block island fluke ceviche, served raw (Karl) – who would have guessed that raw fluke would be so good.
The wine list here was also fairly good with just enough Long Island wines mixed in throughout all of their categories to keep me happy. For dinner I ordered up the Water’s Crest ’05 Reserve Chardonnay, the Osprey’s Dominion 2005 Pinot Noir, and the Shinn Wild-Boar-Doe 2005, all of which were less than double retail price - - truly a great deal for any restaurant and a great gesture by North Fork Table to honor the wineries that are luring in many of their patrons. (You will hear about the antithesis of NFT at or Saturday dining location.)
For dinner on Saturday night we had a 7:30 reservation at the Vine Wine Bar in Greenport.
I’ll start with the good: Food.
Vine’s menu is set up to focus on appetizer/tapas type dishes, which really gives people a chance to sample several items. Between me and Liz, we split the following:
fried goat cheese balls, grilled (unbreaded) clams, 2 different crepes/quesadillas (a grilled chicken-cheddar-roasted pepper crepe and a brie, black forest ham, green apple crepe), baked mac-n-cheese, and a duck confit risotto. In addition to this, I also got a sample of their roasted nuts, tomato soup, and oysters. There wasn’t a bad dish there. The crepes were excellent, especially the brie/ham/apple crepe. The mac-n-cheese seems to be their house specialty and it didn’t disappoint; this isn’t your kids cheddar mac, this oven baked crock had a few different blends of cheese and (I think) some truffle oil, all of which yielded a rich, decadent dish. The duck in my risotto was very well prepared, but the risotto itself was just a bit too rich; I think a cutback on some cream at the end would have served it better (risotto is naturally creamy when prepared right and duck adds plenty of richness on its own). The big winner on the night for me was the grilled clams. This dish consisted of a ½ dozen grilled clams served on the ½ shell which were then sitting on top of a grilled baguette slice. The clams were very simply prepared (oregano with maybe some white wine and a hint of garlic?) and they were somewhere between raw and cooked (which is a very good thing). Dumping the clam and it’s juices onto the baguette slice provided a great and tasty way to consume them. I’ve gotta figure out this recipe and practice it in advance of my next grill party… it was that good.
Now for the bad: Wine.
Vine had an extensive (60+ options) of wine by the glass, but of all the options they only had 3 Long Island whites and 3 LI reds (there might have been 1 dessert wine on there too, but I didn’t study that part of the list at all). The list had at least 6-8 sparklers by the glass, but again nothing from LI. In addition to the lack of options, the prices were way too high. The Shinn Coalescence which sells for $14 at the winery was tripled to $42 a bottle. The 2005 Corey Creek Cab Franc (which we did get) was more than doubled from $25 to $52. Because of price and lack of options, I ended up breaking my own “local code” and ordered a non-LI Sauv. Blanc for the table.
I understand the desire of a “wine bar” to showcase unusual and unheard of varietals or regions, but they also need to understand this isn’t a wine bar in Manhattan or San Fran - - - this is in the heart of LI wine country. A good portion of their business comes from wine visitors and they wouldn’t be as successful without them. Any restaurant in a wine country (whether it is LI, Napa, Barossa, etc) should pay homage to their location. With $60+ wines by the glass, it would be very easy to have 20 – 25 selections from LI and still have 35+ alternate options. And in my opinion, I believe the pricing should be slanted to favor the LI producers. Restaurants should price LI bottles at much less than double retail while non-LI selections could be double+. It’s a give-and-take relationship and the restaurants should realize that much of their business is predicated on winery visitors, so they should do everything possible to repay the favor and feature the local wineries at attractive prices.
I've been to Jamesport Manor Inn but didn't take detailed notes. I would recommend them as well... but not before NF Table.
If you need winery tips for your trip I would recommend the following:
Wineries to hit in my favorite order:
Raphael (need appointment on weekend)
Sparkling Point (bubbly only)
If you love cheese, stop at the Cheese Shop on Love Lane and pick up a picnic lunch and bring it to a winery for lunch.
Totally agreed on Vine. I've been there over 20 times, but I go less and less each year. The biggest offense in my opinion is that the owner REFUSES to invest in a decent wait staff. Some nights, the same boy is waiting and bussing the tables ON A WEEKEND. It gets to be very frustrating.
My wife and I are heading down for a night in March to stay at Shinn.
We were contemplating the North Fork Table again for dinner, but let me know if there is anything new and exciting around the area.
I have read that Jedediah's is reopening in the Spring with a new chef from Seattle (who grew up around Greenport).... but according to their site they don't seem to be open yet.
I was a HUGE fan of the old 5th Season but they moved to Port Jeff.
Any other new/updated places to hit?
nothing NEW. frisky oyster bar is a great addition to the greenport, but the menu is similar to the original frisky oyster. march might be too early in the season to start to see anything new. i'd say hit north fork table again. the menu always has something new to offer, especially if you're visiting during a different season than last time. enjoy your trip!
From what I've read the quality of the Barge has varied dramatically with each chef who worked there. The last Chef (Noah, hence the new restaurant name) had been at the Barge since mid 2008 and got a real good review from Newsday just this past summer. See exerpt:
The Seafood Barge now is Noah's arc. The waterside warhorse, long defined by maximal lobsters and minimal style, has welcomed short-lived chefs in recent years. It's currently the kitchen of Noah Schwartz, who has dramatically improved and updated the food. The rest of the joint looks about the same, in blue and white, full of marine kitsch and memories. Years ago, when this was Armando's Seafood Barge, you wanted to return for those big lobsters. Schwartz skillfully and confidently beckons you back, too.
The full review is here:
I've never been to the Seafood Barge under any chef, but if Noah's work in his new place is as good as Newday portrayed then I'll definitely give it a shot.
The couple of times I went there, I thought that The Seafood Barge was the kind of place that gives seafood a bad name. Bland, tasteless, watery fish is what I remember. I always pictured some guy in the back just heaving fish onto plates with no idea of even what was being served. "Cook" rather than "chef" seemed to be as elevated a title as I would have awarded. Maybe this guy WAS better, but after a couple of uninspiring visits, I never returned. It's like the definition of insanity -- doing something over and expecting different result. I never went back again.
Have you gone since the summer of 08?
A different chef can make all the difference in the world. You can't assume a place remains bad when chefs change. Trust me... I've seen it both ways (ie: great restaurants that all of a sudden employ bad chefs and go down the tubes).
If you ate under Noah then your "never returned" comment is valid. But if you didn't, it 's hard to say that he was part of their poor history or worse... that he continued to carry on their recent poor history.
We ended up going for a Sun night last month (March) and I have to say that Noah's was mostly very successful. We unknowingly went during the start of restaurant week but Noah's was serving a full menu too. Between my wife and I we shared the crab stuffed deviled eggs (actually 2 orders they were so good), gorgonzola rosemary french fries (do not miss these), tuna tartar, red crab tacos, kobe burger, and the pulled duck BBQ with Smoked Cheddar Polenta.
The deviled eggs were recomended to me by someone from a tasting room and I have to say I probably wouldn’t have ordered them without the rec - - - and as I already mentioned they were so good I put in a 2nd order.
We really liked everything except the pulled duck. The duck itself was very tender and the polenta was nice too - - - I just wasn’t a fan of the BBQ sauce which was a touch too sweet ant tangy for me. I would much rather have simply had the duck pulled apart in its own jus over the polenta… but other than that everything was worth having again.
Wine list was OK with some local selections but prices seemed a bit high - - especially on the local bottles (which are the exact ones that should be priced better in a wine destination).
The girl we had for service seemed to be having a really off night - - - very impersonal and appeared annoyed to be working at all. Most of the other servers seemed OK so I’ll just chalk it up to a bad night by 1 server and not an overall service issue.
Also note: on a Sunday night this place was packed when we arrived at 7:30 pm and still packed when we left. Frisky Oyster just down the street? Looked like a ghost town. Seems the new kid on the block is stealing the limelight (and rightfully so!)