My husband and I headed into Southfork Kitchen (SFK) in Bridgehampton on a Thursday evening with appetites at the ready. We started with our standby—tap water. Our server Shawn had the delightful habit of saying “Of course” a lot in deferential tones.
Our wines arrived in beakers. Southfork Kitchen keeps select local wines on tap. Bravo. Lieb’s Pinot Blanc offered a signature moment of “grape!” while Paumanok’s merlot pleased my red-loving husband. There’s excitement in the air at SFK as they’re about to add champagne on tap!
Other local wines on offer include Channing Daughters, Peconic Bay, Wolffer, Anthony Nappa and Grapes of Roth.
I “know my farmer,” just as nutritionists are now advocating that we all should. I also know just about every food purveyor on the East End, but the reference on the SFK menu to “Ocean Road Sea Salt” had me stumped. Shawn informed us that Ocean Road Sea Salt is gathered by none other than SFK owner Bruce Buschel from, you guessed it, the shore off Ocean Road in Bridgehampton.
I started with an SFK Clam Chowder because I’ve had the pleasure of it once before and I wanted to share it (a couple of spoonfuls, anyway) with my husband. He found it “vivid, rich.” (Ah yes, now give me that bowl back!) Husband started with Crispy Mediterranean Sardines with aioli, salsa verde and black olive. Fried sardines are very popular now. These were big and salty, all that they should be. The black olive bits are a nice accompaniment.
Shawn suggested that we also try the Block Island Squid A la Plancha with Spanish Romesco and La Quercia Farm Salumi—so we did. Husband’s reaction to the squid was “Mmm. That’s good.” I just sampled the salumi, which was outstanding—like ham on ham-flavored steroids.
But I like to go vegan when a top chef has clearly put a lot of thought into a vegan entrée. I had the Organic Summer Squash with Tofu and wheat berries. Chef threw a fried Open Minded Organics oyster mushroom on top that was to die for! I ordered my tofu with miso so it was rich and sweet, a contrast to the very crunchy wheat berries. Husband had the Pan Roasted Long Island Bluefish with fingerling potato salad. He quite liked the salty fish and enjoyed the cold potatoes’ contrasting temperature.
We decided to share Homemade Sorbet for dessert. The plum sorbet was okay, not over sweet. The cantaloupe sorbet, however, succeeded in improving upon a perfect food. Wow was it tasty. Try this pluperfect pairing: Pine Barrens Single Malt Whiskey and SFK’s cantaloupe sorbet. We’d ordered the hooch for a hoot. Combined with the sorbet it was well more than a hoot and a half! It’s good that I can walk home from SFK if I have to…Walking gives me a chance to check out Jeff Negron’s garden in front of the restaurant. Right now its vibrant greens are on the wane but the squash are going great guns. The “very local” herbs are being gathered daily.
Run, don’t walk, to SFK!
Southfork Kitchen, 203 Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. 631-537-4700, www.southforkkitchen.com.