By Jessica Mackin-Cipro
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The North Fork Table & Inn has the reputation as one of the best restaurants on the East End. I'm not sure why it took me so long to finally experience the Southold restaurant, but I can safely say that it will not be the last visit.
North Fork Table has always committed to the highest standard of culinary excellence, providing guests with food as it should be — local and delicious. The menu features locally grown organic and biodynamic produce.
The restaurant boasts the freshest seafood from area waters and award winning artisanal cheese made on the North Fork. Long Island wines make up a large portion of the wine list, highlighting the best the region has to offer.
The decor is simple and elegant and fits perfectly within Long Island Wine Country. When it comes to the finest dining in our wine county, North Fork Table takes the cake.
The restaurant's beloved founding chef/owner Gerry Hayden passed away in 2015 after battling ALS. Hayden, a three-time James Beard Award nominee, opened the restaurant in 2005 to major acclaim with wife and pasty chef Claudia Fleming, formerly of Gramercy Tavern and the James Beard Pastry Chef of the Year in 2000. Mike and Mary Mraz also joined as partners in the restaurant.
Keeping with tradition, Chef Stephan Bogardus creates a beautiful "farm-to-table" menu, a movement Hayden himself helped pioneer.
The menu offers a variety of dining options. You can opt for Chef Stephan's five-course tasting menu ($125) with a five-course tasting wine flight ($35). The other option, which we decided on, was the three-course prix fixe ($70) with the three-course wine flight ($25). Diners also have the option of ordering from the a la carte menu.
I started with "The Whole Beet" salad. The salad, that included quinoa, Catapano goat cheese, and pistachio vinaigrette, provided a hearty start to my meal. It was paired with a 2016 Shared Table Farm Sauvignon Blanc from Southold. The salad paired with the wine was delightful.
My friend Nicole started with the yellowfin tuna tartare which included ponzu, taro chips, and micro herbs. It was paired nicely with the Paumanok Chenin Blanc from Aquebogue. We were both blown away by the start of our dinner.
On to the second course, I ordered the roasted Peconic Bay weakfish. The dish was completed with fava beans, mousseron, and a truffled potato puree. The course was perfectly paired with a 2013 Fernandez Gomes Tempranillo from Spain. Nicole ordered the housemade ricotta cavatelli with asparagus, herb emulsion, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Again, both dishes were well-prepared and highly impressive.
The kitchen sent out a few sharing dishes to try, including ricotta toast with lardo and truffle-honey and spring sweet pea hummus with taro chips and ricotta salata. Both are great options to order for a table.
Fleming's rich dessert selections were also above and beyond. We were sent a variety of desserts to share including the mouthwatering baked Alaska which includes blackberry ice cream, blackberry sorbet, chocolate crumble, baked meringue, and a blackberry-yuzu sauce. The delicious strawberry-rhubarb shortcake with Catapano sweet cream and toasted almonds did not disappoint. The Meyer lemon cream Napoleon with yuzu-lemon sorbet, ginger-pistachio crumble, and currant reduction was equally exquisite.
For more information and reservations visit www.northforktableandinn.com.