North Fork Table & Inn

The summer of 2006 may well become known as the beginning of the food revolution on the North Fork. That’s when the North Fork Table opened and if it is the precursor of what is to come, the area will be a food mecca in no time. How can you go wrong, with a restaurant pedigree of its owners that includes Aureole, River Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and Hearth? In a business with a high failure rate, the odds are stacked for these folks.

The first thing you notice upon arrival is the buzz. People are happy to be here…this is the place to be on a Saturday night., even on the night we were there in the pouring rain. The second thing you notice is the soft elegance of the decor, a bit of a Gramercy Tavern feel, which is understandable. Pale blue walls, white wainscoting, thin plank pine floors, beamed ceilings, Andrew Wyeth like artwork, a black slate bar and an antique white armoire. Tables are dressed with crisp linens and comfortably spaced. There are a number of intimate nooks like table #31 for two or a table for six toward the back of the bar room.

Chef Stephan Bogardus makes use of local resources for a menu with a French flair. He likes to subtly blend flavors by braising and roasting. As evidence, a wonderful braised pancetta crusted rabbit loin and a grilled aged sirloin with a red wine braised short rib on the menu and enjoyed the night we visited. Delicious ragouts and caramelized vegetables complemented these terrific entrees.

Desserts from Claudia Fleming, formally the pastry chef at Gramercy are amazing marriages of scents and tastes, warm sugar and spice donuts with hot buttered rum and an upside down caramelized apple tart with cider sorbet and creme fraiche to name just two.

The wine list starts with about 15 wines by the glass, each with compelling tasting notes. They are available in a 3oz. taster or a 6oz. glass. While you are seeing this more often today, it is still somewhat unique and a wonderful way to try a number of wines.

An interesting wine list with about a third  from local Long Island wineries and representations from the other major wine regions. Best of all the prices are incredibly reasonable. Bravo for not getting caught up in the wine gouging frenzy.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: It can get a little noisy when full (which is usually) but pick a table like #31 and you’ll feel like it’s just the two of you.

“Always a pleasure”, this Southold “gem” of chefs Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming is “everything an East End restaurant should be”, rated Long Island’s No.1 for Food and Service while offering “the freshest locally sourced ingredients” “from farm to sea” transformed into “awesome, savory” New American prix fixe menus with desserts that double as “works of art”, all accompanied by a “superlative” staff; the “simple but elegant” setting lends added appeal, completing an experience devotees declare “the best around” and “well worth the price”; P.S. the adjacent Lunch Truck is “the bomb.” ZAGAT