My husband and two of our friends, Brendan and Allison, dined at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn (JHI) in Jamesport last month. I was all set to tell you about that meal when news came in that Executive Chef Richard Kanowsky is no longer in the JHI kitchen.
The restaurant business has revolving doors and more turnover than most professions. Kanowsky was hired last June to replace Lia Fallon. I’m guilty of saying that Keith Luce was my favorite chef at JHI. We were blown away by his work there, especially early on when he seemed to have more free rein. But it’s not fair to JHI’s other past chefs to laud Luce as a favorite—we didn’t have the pleasure of dining there when Chef Tom Schaudel was at le piano (when the inn opened in 2006) nor did we have a chance to eat there when Fallon was at the helm.
The thing about JHI is that it’s a really lovely setting and it offers comfy rooms above the restaurant. It’s a great place to hang out or to enjoy a North Fork getaway.
The restored and professionally decorated mansion dates to 1863 and it enjoys a rich history. Any member of the staff can tell you about the mansion’s original owner Captain Jedediah Hawkins—but only manager Colin Keillor appears to resemble him! Check out the oil painting above the main desk. In season the property offers access to acres of gardens and grounds. I love to go there, take in an art exhibition in the “barn,” have a couple glasses of local wine and a fine meal and then drive home to the South Fork thinking, “someday I’ll have the time to stay there…”
JHI reopened two weeks ago, following its annual break for maintenance. Right now an experienced team is at work in the kitchen and I can’t wait to get back there for a bite.
I’ll just run down some of the highlights of my most recent meal at JHI: Firstly, the JHI staff is happy to provide suggested wine pairings for your every course—I have a blissful though somewhat hazy memory of this service including some Sparkling Pointe Topaz Imperial and a Paumanok Sauvignon Blanc; no, actually, “firstly” we toured the gorgeous rooms upstairs, in case I’d once again find myself too tipsy to tackle this tour post meal—I especially admired the chocolate brown room that featured fuzzy (but sophisticated) walls. Getting back to the meal: We quite enjoyed the Potato Leek Soup served in a beautiful bowl with a fried leek garnish and a Chef’s Whim Flatbread. That night the “whims” included ricotta, arugula pesto, parmesan, caramelized onion, mascarpone, Brussels sprouts, sage crème fraîche and fresh arugula. It was overwhelmingly umami-good!; the Poached Apple Salad was voted “very good,” as were the luscious Braised Short Ribs.
The Crescent Farm Duck Breast, beautifully presented, was found to be tender perfection.
I quite enjoyed my Wild Mushroom Ravioli, which were pure truffled porcini deliciousness, salty good with a nice fresh arugula garnish. I found the standout dessert to be the Fresh Lemon Curd Tart. In fact, it was nicely tart and the inclusion of sweetened sage crème fraîche was a revelation. Though Brendan was enthusiastic about the Vanilla Crème Brûlée with his cup of French press coffee…
After dinner we checked out the Speakeasy in the basement, it’s really cozy, inviting and its décor indeed harkens to another time of vices—there’s a hookah that looks like it could service a extended family of shisha fiends!
On Friday, February 28, at 6:30 p.m. this venue will host beer historian Tom Acitelli’s presentation “Craft Beer: A Love Story,” which illustrates the unfolding of the craft beer revolution on Long Island as described in Acitelli’s new book, The Audacity of Hops. Join Acitelli for a tasting of local brews to round out an evening of gastro-goodness. Guests will receive a signed copy of the book. Tickets for this “Speakeasy Session” are $95 per person, plus tax and tip.
Jedediah Hawkins Inn Restaurant and Speakeasy, 400 South Jamesport Avenue, Jamesport, 631-722-2900, jhinn.com