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May 1st, 2013
Traditional American holidays are often observed by school closures, three-day weekends and a dinner that usually consists of a roasted turkey. Calendars are routinely marked with smiley faces for the days we don’t have to go to work. But what about all of those other hundreds of days in the year?
Luckily for us foodies, holidays have evolved and found a way into our everyday lives. These extra special days are known as “Food Holidays”. Almost every day of the year now celebrates a specific dish, beverage, style and even diet. Since these days are too often overlooked, here are a few suggestions as to which days to celebrate and where. Let the gluttony begin!
Thursday, May 9 marks the nation’s day to celebrate shrimp. We know Bubba from Forrest Gump would appreciate this. Stony Brook’s Mirabelle Tavern recently introduced a shrimp appetizer with spicy mango chutney and chive-scented oil. The combination of spice and the sweetness of the mango balance the dish nicely and it is sure to become a favorite among guests.
Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy Monday, May 13 with the all American dessert- apple pie. When it comes to pie, Briermere Farms cannot be beat. The seasonal farm stand on the North Fork bakes its famous fresh pies from scratch daily using their homegrown fresh fruit. The lines are worth the wait for a fresh, warm pie.
There is no better place in the Hamptons to celebrate barbecue day than Townline BBQ in Sagaponack. On the 16th, visit this spot for a selection of house smoked meats with all the fixings and belly-filling sides. The selection of cocktails, served in Mason jars, are pretty killer too.<br><br>
Say Oui! on May 24 for National Escargot Day. When prepared properly, the French delicacy is quite enjoyable. Speaking of well prepared, Sage Bistro Moderne of Woodbury serves the tasty treat with a traditional garlic herb butter sauce. Enjoy with a nice glass of Sancere and your palate will be satisfied.
May 29 is National Brown-Bag-It Day. How boring. We do not support this holiday, not even a little bit. It is also National Wine Day. We can definitely get behind that one.
While you most likely will not be inviting family over or exchanging gifts, you can still find joy in the opportunities to celebrate food. Whether you visit your favorite local restaurant or take a trip a few towns over, there is much to be enjoyed everywhere on Long Island. So stuff your face and have a happy Chocolate Mousse Day!
April 2nd, 2013
With the first rays of sunshine and the gradual rise of the thermometer, people are ready to be outdoors. One of the first signs that spring has arrived is al fresco dining. Everyone loves dining in the fresh air under the warmth of the sun, or even a heat lamp. It seems the good weather may be here to stay and there are plenty of Long Island restaurants who have tables and chairs on the sidewalk waiting for you.
Many restaurants from the border of the city to the East End offer guests the opportunity to enjoy their meals outside. Besito in Roslyn will serve their famous tableside guacamole outdoors on a semi-concealed sidewalk. Lush plants surround the outdoor dining area to provide some privacy while customers delve into the hearty blend of avocado and spices.
The warm glow of a fire and smell of the burning embers are inviting whether you are having a bonfire on the beach or sipping on a cocktail at your favorite bar. Maxwell’s, in the heart of Islip, recently expanded to double its original size. The renovation includes a new 45-seat outdoor dining area complete with fire pits for cool summer nights. The casual dining spot allows guests to enjoy creative cocktails and craft beers in a relaxed atmosphere. The fire pits are sure to be crowded even on the warmer summer evenings.
In the summer nothing beats waterfront dining. Scenic views and cool ocean breezes are instantly calming and allow for guests to truly enjoy their meals and beverages. Navy Beach in Montauk is the epitome of outdoor dining. In addition to indoor seating, the restaurant has tables and chairs right on the beach. A popular hotspot during the Hamptons summer scene, Navy Beach serves a variety of local seafood fare and variety of refreshing cocktails. The restaurant is set to reopen for the season at the end of April and will be packed with locals and city dwellers making a weekend getaway.
Al fresco dining is the heart of summer on Long Island. Whether you can escape to the beach or visit the buzzing side of town, dining outdoors in the warm sunshine is hard to beat. So grab your sunblock (or tanning oil) and get ready to enjoy Long Island’s culinary scene beginning now!
February 28th, 2013
By now, most people have taken note of the small plates trend that has emerged in restaurants everywhere and have developed their own opinion of it. But whether or not people actually understand the benefits of a small plates menu for both diners and the restaurant business, is another story.
Small plates are lower priced, smaller portioned dishes that resemble a tasting menu of sorts. The concept actually derived from “tapas,” an integral part of Spanish culture. Tapas encourage people to visit multiple restaurants and taste multiple dishes, in one night.
In cities across Spain, “ir de tapas” (go for tapas) is a weekly pastime. Diners start at one tapas bar, have a drink and a couple “pinchos” or small plates and then move on to a few more. If you were to visit five tapas bars and order two tapas and one drink at each place, chances are you’d end up spending less than you would on one entrée at a regular restaurant.
American restaurants that are adopting small plates aren’t necessarily encouraging these brief visits, and the prices certainly aren’t as cheap as authentic tapas in Spain, but they are encouraging people to get a taste of several menu items rather than just one.
Noah’s in Greenport gives diners the option of small plates or full plates. Each time my Aunt and I go there together however, we always end up deciding on several small plates to share. More variety is more fun and you can get a better feel for the chef’s style when you try a few of his or her dishes.
With small plates, consumers have an in-between option. They can ditch the kitchen and dine out without having to spend a lot of money on a big meal. The Spanish tradition of a less formal, more social & communal dining experience is becoming quite popular among American restaurant-goers.
Surprisingly, the concept benefits restaurateurs at the same time. Small plates are an opportunity to boost food sales during busy after-work cocktail hours or later hours on weekends. Also, bar establishments can segway into the food business without an overwhelming level of commitment. Less commitment means more room for variety and creativity because small plates menus can change more frequently than a regular menu.
A small plates menu benefits restaurants with strong wine lists because a diner can pair various glasses of wine with one meal made of up a few different flavored small plates. Perhaps you’ll start with a red meat small plate and a glass of Chianti and move on to a seafood small plate with a classic chardonnay. The possibilities are endless. At Barrique Kitchen and Wine Bar in Babylon, a small plates tasting is offered and each dish is paired with a small taste of wine. You can leave it to the experts to create a unique dining experience for you, or choose your own wines and discover pairings that meet your preferences.
The trend has also materialized at a sort of revolutionary time for diet and nutrition in the United States. Recently, there seems to be changes occurring in regards to the way people think about health and consumption. A big part of this education involves portions and the question of “how much is enough?” That’s why it is smart for Italian restaurants like VERO Italian Kitchen & Lounge in Amityville, to offer tapas-style options as communal dining is also popular in Italian culture. Italian restaurants are typically known for large, rich portions of meat and pasta. While VERO has not surrendered those dishes, they do offer a selection of small plates, which means they aren’t excluding those who prefer a lighter option.
Of course, there are those who see small plates as a trick – small portions for a high price, why would anyone fall for that ploy? To them I say, because variety is the spice of life!
January 31st, 2013
Imagine being invited to a small and intimate dinner party in the downstairs vault of a bank. Words that come to mind may include exclusive, elaborate and fancy. Well, a couple of years ago an old bank in downtown Riverhead had been transformed into one of the East End’s most unique and inviting restaurants: The Riverhead Project. The restaurant recently started a wine dinner series in the downstairs private dining area known as “The Vault,” complete security deposit boxes, large safes and a heavy metal door with spinning locks. On Sunday, January 27, a dinner featuring Vidalco wines were paired with four courses created by the talented Executive Chef Greg Ling. Those in attendance enjoyed plenty of wine, food and even made some new friends.
Photo Credit: Vidalco Wine Distributors
Prior to the dinner, guests gathered in the downstairs lounge to enjoy hors d’ouevres and a glass of 2010 Chateau Ste. Roseline Perle de Roseline Rose. The wine was dry and delicious and complemented the appetizers well. A particular favorite were the broiled oysters with shishito peppers and bacon. Owner Matt Helmsteadt of Vidalco gave a casual introduction to the evening and then the fun began.
For the first course we were served stir fried lobster with eggpalnt salad and sambal belacan with blis-red boat bourbon barrel aged nuac mam. The plump lobster was served in the shell and cut into three pieces. It was quite delicious and the citrus offered a slight sweetness. The dish was served with the 2010 Cuvee Lamp de Meduse Blanc. The wine provided a nice acidity that cut the sweetness of the eggplant salad.
The second course was a personal favorite of mine. Ragu of rabbit with North Fork mushrooms, semolina pappardelle, house cured olives and rosemary grilled snails. The rabbit was plentiful and tender with a bit of a kick to it. There was just enough of the perfectly cooked pasta with a few olives so that each element didn’t distract from the other. These were not your typical garlic and lemon smothered snails, a rosemary stem served as a skewer, making the presentation alone very inviting, and added a pleasant herbal flavor. The wine served with the rabbit was also my favorite of the night. It was the 2009 Antica Cantina de Lodole Grecale, a medium bodied wine with a smooth finish. The food and wine in this course made the perfect pairing.
Up next we were served venison grilled over pine with leek, chocolate chevre, chard in brik and sunchoke puree. The venison was served rare and tender, not very gamy at all, the chocolate chevre provided an interesting twist. This dish was served with Tacama Vineyard’s 2008 Quantum Petit Verdot. The wine was more full bodied with notes of dark fruits and an herbal finish.
Photo Credit: Vidalco Wine Distributors
And then came dessert. We were presented with roasted pear bread pudding with vanilla gelato and walnut. This was paired with the 2010 Antica Cantina de Lodole Moscato d’Asti. While it is only fitting to pair dessert with a sweeter wine, it was a bit too sweet for me. That however is a personal preference and the rest of the party seemed to enjoy it. The bread pudding was delicious and unbelievably light. It was a wonderful finish to the evening.
As usual, dinner at The Riverhead Project was a hit and all of the diners left happy and full. The next two dinners in the series will be held on February 10 with Lieb Cellars and on February 24 with Bedell Cellars. The event cost is $85 per person and is limited to 20 people. Menus change weekly. Contact The Riverhead Project at (631) 284-9300 for more information.
January 2nd, 2013
“He was a wise man who invented beer.” –Plato
For years now restaurants across Long Island have been hosting wine pairing dinners showcasing signature dishes and their ability to pair with wines both local and imported. But what about the Long Island foodie who is looking something a little different? Blackwells Restaurant at Great Rock has a solution: the beer dinner. Special food and beer pairings are becoming more and more popular and this Wading River restaurant was quick to follow suit.
On Wednesday, December 19, 2012, Blackwells hosted a four-course holiday pairing dinner where guests were able to choose whether to pair the dishes with Goose Island Craft Beer from Chicago or various wines. Most chose the beer, and what a tasty decision that was.
For the first course, Executive Chef Chris Gerdes plated smoked local bay scallops over Satur Farms mixed greens with a light drizzle of cider vinaigrette. The salad was a great start to the meal with a healthy serving of scallops and just enough dressing as to not overwhelm the greens. The dish was paired with the Goose Island “Sofie,” a Belgian style farmhouse ale that is light and pairs well with various types of shellfish. This beer was a good choice and complemented the salad quite well.
To warm us up a bit, we were presented with a cream of Brie soup with Parmesan croutons. Many were pleasantly surprised with the cheese -based soup not only because it was made with Brie, but also it was light and not overly creamy. This course was paired with the “Matilda”. This beer is a Belgian style pale ale that boasts a slightly fruity aroma and pairs well with many foods. Many people may associate a cheese such as Brie with fruits, making this pairing a perfect one.
The next course was much heartier than the first two and almost difficult to finish. The entrée was applewood smoked bacon wrapped filet mignon au poivre with cheddar mashed potatoes and balsamic broccolini. While the steak was good, it was lacking in the au poivre sauce, which was hardly noticeable. The bacon did provide a welcomed smoky flavor to the dish. The potatoes were more whole than mashed, but very tasty with the cheese. The dish was perfectly paired with Goose Island’s “Pepe Nero”. This beer was the darkest among all we tasted and is ideal for pairing with grilled meats and roasted vegetables. So far, each beer was perfectly paired with each dish.
A hot chocolate torte was next to finish off our meal. By “hot,” Blackwells meant “spicy”. Wow, was that good. The blend of chocolate and spice was unique and just a great combination overall. A scoop of vanilla ice cream accompanied the torte to help guests “cool off” a bit. Traditionally diners may enjoy a port wine with their dessert, but the “Pere Jaques” proved to be a wonderful alternative. The flavors of this beer pair well with bittersweet chocolate and spicy flavors like curries.
While there were wines available for each course, the beer was the star of this dinner. Many guests had been to these pairing dinners before at Blackwells and were just as an enthusiastic about this one. The atmosphere was fun yet educational. Hey, who knew beer was so classy?
December 3rd, 2012
The Seventh Annual Fall Long Island Restaurant Week proved to be a great success this year. November was a difficult month for Long Islanders. Hurricane Sandy hit hard leaving many without power for weeks and even forcing them out of their homes. Then there were was the gas shortage crisis that lasted over a week and resulted in lines lasting well over an hour just to fill up. What Long Islanders needed now was an escape, no matter how brief. Long Island Restaurant Week seemed to do the trick.
The eight-day promotion ran from Sunday, November 4 to Sunday, November 11 with 248 restaurants across the Island participating. 134 of those restaurants extended the promotion until Sunday, November 18 as result of Hurricane Sandy. Participants offered their own unique three-course prix fixe menus for $24.95, which resulted in packed restaurants from Floral Park to Montauk.
The crew at Long Island Restaurant News decided they too would join the masses and take advantage of this great deal. The Plaza Café in Southampton was the destination for Tuesday, November 6 for the crowd of ten. And what a great choice it was.
The Plaza Café offered their regular weekly prix fixe menu, normally $34, for restaurant week. The menu featured the Long Island seafood chowder, organic field greens and prosciutto wrapped wild Pacific shrimp to start. The latter was a hit among our group of diners. Large shrimp were wrapped with a crispy prosciutto and arranged on top of a perfectly cooked porcini risotto. The white truffle oil added a nice flavor to the dish without being overbearing. The chowder was also good and full of local clams, mussels and cod.
Entrees featured horseradish crusted local cod, sliced flat iron steak, herb marinated free-range chicken and penne Bolognese.
Local seafood is always desirable among Long Islanders. The horseradish crusted local cod was served roast garlic mashed potatoes, crispy leeks and chive oil. Each bite had a nice crunch to it. The crispy leeks with the roast garlic mashed potatoes were a little overwhelming with the horseradish, but tasty nonetheless. The sliced flat iron was well received and served beside potato-spinach hash with crispy shallots and dressed in a red wine sauce. The steak was cooked to the diner’s choice perfectly and was a generous portion size.
To finish off the meal, diners had a choice of chocolate-vanilla torte, apple-pecan cake and classic crème brulee. While we were all stuffed, we had to at least taste dessert. The crème brulee was indeed classic and what one would expect from crème brulee. The apple-pecan cake is one of The Plaza Café’s signature desserts served with house-churned vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and apple chip on top. The cake was dense yet very moist. It was a favorite for sure but definitely very filling. It was difficult to finish for those that did.
Our group was not the only one their on that Tuesday evening. The dining room stayed pretty busy throughout the night and the other diners seemed to be enjoying themselves. The staff was attentive without being overbearing and worked effectively as a team.
Long Island Restaurant Week attained impressive numbers despite the down economy. Participating restaurants served an estimated total of 185,600 meals. Long Island Restaurant Week also recognized the need to help those unable to participate as diners in this event and made donations to Interfaith Nutrition Network and Family Service League.
We are now looking forward to Spring Long Island Restaurant Week which is scheduled for April 28 through May 5, 2013.
November 2nd, 2012
Autumn on Long Island brings many events we all look forward to; pumpkin picking, the harvest season, wine tasting, Halloween, Thanksgiving and more. There is one event which brings joy to all for eight amazing nights. Of course we are talking about Long Island Restaurant Week!
From Sunday, November 4 to Sunday, November 11, diners may enjoy a three-couse prix fixe menu for $24.95 at some of your favorite Long Island restaurants. We are happy to announce that this special promotion is still on despite our visit from Hurricane Sandy!
At Long Island Restaurant News, we have been lucky enough to review some of this year’s participants and are looking forward to going back! Below is the list of restaurants and some of the highlights we have enjoyed in the past.
Cedar Creek American Bar and Grill in Glen Cove received two plates for “comfort food with a kick” and “an upscale presentation without pretension”. Read the Review
REIN at the Garden City Hotel offers the “elegance of fine dining without the stuffiness.” This restaurant received three plates for excellent food and atmosphere. Read the Review
Aperitif Bistro Lounge Wine Bar “has a skilled chef who has deftly added his signature to French classics, particularly with Asian influences.” See why this restaurant earned 3 plates here. Read the Review
Blackwells at Great Rock “may look like a formal country club, but the atmosphere and staff couldn’t be more welcoming and warm.” The restaurant, located in Wading River, scored 3 plates. Read the Review
Huntington Social received 3 plates “because the scene, vibe, and setting is fun and different, I’m going to follow suit and start my review with the dessert because it was that fabulous. Read the Review
George Martin’s Strip Steak in Great River scored 3 plates for turning our steak-fearing reviewer into a fanatic as “Strip Steak hits the bull’s eye.” Read the Review
Ragazzi Italian Kitchen & Bar “retains the integrity of an old world Italian dinner and the friendly vibe of their dining room matches the warmth you’d find in a family kitchen.” This Italian restaurant received 3 plates. Read the Review
Vittorio’s Restaurant and Wine Bar received an outstanding 4 plates for “it’s all-out fabulous food with an endearing appeal. Delicious dishes, stellar service and an inviting ambiance”. Read the Review
Mirabelle Restaurant earned 4 plates for “innovative French/American cuisine using the freshest and finest local ingredients.” Read the Review
Almond in Brideghampton landed 3 ½ plates for everything from “Eric’s professionalism and enthusiasm to Jason Weiner’s bold and flavorful food.” Read the Review
Osteria Salina in Bridgehampton received 3 plates for having the “authentic feel of a truly Italian restaurant, warm and welcoming with delicious food prepared with fresh and simple ingredients.” Read the Review
The rating system for Long Island Restaurant News reviews is below. The full list of this year’s participants are available on at www.longislandrestaurantweek.com. We are looking forward to checking out new (and old) favorites this year!
October 1st, 2012
A revolution has been sweeping across the culinary nation as more and more restaurants explore new techniques and push the boundaries of the food scene. Roots Bistro Gourmand of West Islip is a restaurant that infuses the simplicity of a modest French bistro with gastronomic techniques trending across the globe.
We decided to go experience this phenomenon in late September for the opening of this new restaurant. Executive Chef Philippe Corbet and Chef James Orlandi have created a menu inspired by local ingredients and global flavors. Their efforts were deliciously appreciated.
The New York Strip Steak Tartare with pickled cucumbers, whole grain mustard, tabasco, capers, cornichons, shallots, mayonnaise and crispy fires was a crowd pleaser for sure. The knife work on the steak was impeccable and the mix of ingredients that coated it were extremely well balanced. The layer of pickled cucumbers added the right amount of citrus and the crispy fries added texture and crunch that gave a nice finish to the dish. This generously sized dish is already priced well at $14.
Risotto Lollipop was a favorite among the crew. Three lollipops of raclette cheese, lemon beurre blanc, cherry tomato dust and balsamic glaze were served on a dark slate that added to the presentation without taking away from the ease of eating the dish. It was steaming hot and the outer crust was extremely crispy. The lemon beurre blanc and cherry tomato dust elevated the complexity of what is usually a simple dish allowing it to stand miles above renditions served in other restaurants.
While appetizers seem to be the favorite course among diners, the entree´s stood out on the table as well. Garden Inspired Ravioli with English peas, lava beans, coconut-mint veloute´ and crispy lamb confit was a perfectly prepared dish. The lamb confit was nothing short of heavenly and the ravioli itself tasty and cooked to the proper firmness while the peas and fava beans were allowed to shine.
A true test of a chef’s culinary skill comes when a diner announces he or she is vegan. The staff was more than accommodating and was able to create a dish on the spot that was not only vegan, but very satisfying as well. The quart of mushrooms and corn were buttery (without actual butter of course) and the fresh herbs added flavor. The accompanying vegetables were hearty, well seasoned and also presented beautifully.
Now for dessert. The Pop Rock was original, creative and a bit whimsical. The dish was comprised of coconut ice cream, toasted coconut, macerated strawberries, candied mint, pop rocks and cre´me. All of the elements in the dish felt purposeful and allowed the dish to be out-of-the-box without being over-the-top. Our fears that the pop rocks would bring an overly candied and pedestrian flavor to the dessert were put at ease with a single bite.
The Honey Toast was a creative dish of Mille Feuille with “cre´me brulee” custard, lavendar peaches, honey ice cream and whipped cream. While creativity is appreciated, the execution was not functional. The dish was served on a slate which caused the ice cream to melt off onto the table. The layered dessert itself was also very hard to cut through and eat. While we enjoyed the flavor of the cre´me brulee custard, we wished there had been more of it.
The de´cor of the restaurant perfectly fit in with the overall tone. The tin ceiling sets the tone for the bistro-barn style that mixes vintage reclaimed wood flooring with a modern zinc bar. The duality combines with elements inspired by nature, such as the living wall, to create a simple yet, stunning ambiance.
Our overall experience at Roots Bistro Gourmand was one the remember. We have confidence this restaurant will continue to exceed culinary expectations and leave all of their guests full yet eager for more.
August 24th, 2012
On a dark and stormy afternoon, a parade of trucks braved the elements and made their way down Montauk Highway to the Edible East End’s Food Truck Derby. Through the downpour 14 trucks from Manhattan to Montauk crossed the muddy fields of the Hayground School in Bridgehampton on August 10 to showcase a new type of “Meals on Wheels”.
Devoted foodies who were ready to make the trek regardless were rewarded with a sudden outbreak of sunshine and, of course, great food and drinks. The Food Truck Derby stood out among the various food-driven events in the Hamptons because of one important feature: price. For $40 per ticket, guests could enjoy one sample from each of the 14 trucks in addition to unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks. Finally, a Hamptons event locals can enjoy!
Among the standouts were Montaco from Montauk, which offered three taco options. The fish taco was a hit with sautéed mahi mahi, shaved lettuce and chipotle mayo served on a blue corn tortilla. The taco had a lot of tang and zest that provided a refreshing flavor. The tortilla was crunchy, giving it more substance.
The Rickshaw Dumpling truck offered a chicken Thai dumpling with a peanut sate. While the dumpling itself was a little doughy, it still packed a good flavor and the peanut sate offered just the right amount of spice.
The Food Freaks truck was definitely a crowd favorite. As lines began to get longer and longer, this particular truck from Manhattan offered free samples of crispy Brussels sprouts while you waited. Food Freaks offered two varieties of grilled cheese. The first being the 3 Cheese – fontinella, gruyere and aged gouda on potato Pullman bread served with a hot vegan tomato soup. The second was gruyere, braised short rib, pickled red onions, watercress and blackberry on sourdough bread. Both were grilled to perfection and the short rib grilled cheese offered a refreshing take on the American classic.
Under the beverage tent were two New York breweries; Southampton Publick House and Brooklyn Brewery. Wine was provided by Wolffer Estate and Peconic Bay Winery. While food was to be the star of the event, the booze ran out first.
A few trucks didn’t quite roll their way into our hearts. The quiche lorraine from the Wandering Palate was cold and should have at least been reheated before serving. The excess of salt also masked many of the flavors the quiche should have displayed. The lobster roll sliders from Hamptons Foodie were also quite salty and had a little too much mayo to enjoy the lobster.
A key feature to be noted is that many of the trucks offered a vegan option, which can be hard to come by at a Hamptons event where the star is usually local seafood. The vegan tomato soup from the Food Freaks for example was creamy the way one would expect a tomato soup to be which pleased vegans and carnivores alike.
July 20th, 2012
From the outskirts of Greenport around to the end of Montauk, chefs, wine makers and purveyors met at the happy stomping ground, Sayre Park in Bridgehampton, for the second annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks. Foodies from all over to the trek out on a busy Hamptons summer evening with a hunger for culinary adventure. The sold-out event took place on July 14, Bastille Day, and was great fun.
After a plate-clearing success during its inaugural year, the event hosted by Dan’s Papers returned and introduced a new tradition which honors the achievement of one in the industry. The Two Forks Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Chef Gerry Hayden of North Fork Table and Inn located in Southold. As a seasoned veteran in the culinary industry, Gerry appreciates the quality and value of eating and sourcing locally. His passion, dedication and skill earned him this award out of the other 39 participating chefs.
- Claudia Fleming and Gerry Hayden- Husband and wife team at North Fork Table & Inn
From the North and South Fork came delightful dishes and premium wine samplings that left guest full and satisfied.
Blackwells at Great Rock of Wading River offered a vegan-friendly Summer Vegetable Ragou. The interesting combination of warm, local vegetables mixed with chilled beans was full of natural flavors. Having recently debuted a new farm-to-table summer menu, Chef Chris Gerdes successfully (and tastefully) presented the restaurant’s new concept.
Noah’s Restaurant located on Main Street in the heart of Greenport plated a refreshing crab taco. The taco shell exterior was obviously homemade and packed a great crunch. The crab salad itself was fresh and light. There was just enough mayo to lightly coat the crabmeat and provide an unexpected, but welcomed kick.
Where would a foodie event be without a little vino to accompany your favorite dishes? Lieb Cellars of Mattituck poured their 2010 Reserve Pinot Blanc which pairs perfectly with seafood dishes. Coming out of one of Long Island’s top vintage years, the stainless steel fermented pinot blanc offered light citrus flavors and good acidity with a crisp, dry finish.
Bedell Cellars of Cutchogue celebrated the evening with flowing glasses of their 2011 Sparkling Rosé. This wine is of particular importance to the sustainable winery as it is the first sparkling rosé in their 30-year history. The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot exhibited aromas and flavors of pink fruits surrounded by a crisp, citrus minerality. This delicate wine is easy to sip on its own or with lighter fare.
Nick & Toni’s of East Hampton proudly represented the South Fork with a delicious scallop crudo. A chilled spoon hosted a large fresh scallop atop a bed of a citrus and micro-green salad. This perfectly sized bite served as a reminder as to why we love dining on the East End.
Race Lane located in East Hampton presented guests will a steak tartar that was appreciated not only for its taste, but how easy it was to consume. Served in a handmade cone, the steak tartar filling was well seasoned and plentiful. The lack of a need for a fork made this dish easy to enjoy at an event where walking and chewing are part of the festivities.
Montauk’s Navy Beach supplied a cool and refreshing ceviche. This light mix of raw shellfish was well balanced and a favorite among the sea of guests. This teaser left all who tasted yearning for more and willing to make the journey out to The End.
We only came across a few minor flaws throughout the night. Some restaurants failed to impress even the newest food and wine enthusiasts. Page’s Gravlax lacked flavor and wouldhave benefited from a squeeze of fresh citrus. After the VIP time the music took a turn toward the club-like after party at Georgica. The loud, fast-paced music was out of place at an early evening tasting event.
As the night came to an end, people reveled in the warm, comforting feeling of being properly wined and dined. So far, Dan’s Taste of Two Forks has proved to be a culinary success and we look forward to what our local favorites will bring us in the years to come.