Are you a big oyster fan? I asked my husband, as I’d never noticed his leanings towards or away from oysters. The resounding YES that greeted my query sealed the deal. We’d be dining at the new (they opened in April) North Fork Oyster Company Restaurant and Bar in Greenport.
Owned by Greenport locals, Sana and Farouk Ahmad, and under the creative flair of executive chef Richard Lanza, The North Fork Oyster Company should be on everyone’s must-try list this summer. [expand]
One of the first things I noticed, after admiring their charming set-up tucked around the corner from Greenport’s main drag on historic Stirling Square, was that they get their greens from Satur Farms in Cutchogue and their cheese from Catapano Dairy in Peconic. It was an omen of only good things to come.
We were a group of four, including my nephew who was celebrating his 20th birthday, so we were able to sample a large selection from a menu that understandably leans towards seafood but would not scare away those looking for turf rather than surf. The obligatory Grilled Filet Mignon with roasted fingerlings and grilled local asparagus looked amazing when served at a nearby table. We ended up ordering mostly what feels right when one is just seconds from water lapping against the docks of a historic seaport – seafood!
My husband and I were late. Rushing in we were seated by the very helpful and friendly manager Dan and before I could finish apologizing to my family I had a delicious Dark and Stormy in my hand and my husband was toasting us all with something called a Salty Dog. The drinks were a lovely way to kick off the birthday celebration and gave me an excuse to try the bread (have to soak up the rum somehow). No run-of-the-mill, standard restaurant bread here at NFOC. No, these were onion rolls, still warm and yummy and some very tasty rolls sprinkled with rosemary. One word of advice: don’t fill up on the bread, no matter how tempting, the best is yet to come.
We dug into the fried local calamari served with a smoked paprika Aioli and discovered it was excellent even without the sauce. The Maryland Lump Crab Cakes were moist and flavorful and as good or better than any sister and nephew had tried in their 20 years living in Maryland.
The truly amazing part of the first half of this meal (yes, we’re only on Starters) was the Seafood Plateau. What can I say? Perfectly presented and prepared oysters, calms, huge shrimp and lobster. I thought my husband would die from delight, the rest of us were pretty tickled too. It was a highlight of this very exceptional dining experience.
Our entrees consisted of an almond-crusted local fluke served with a spring vegetable succotash and on any other menu this would be a highlight. It was fabulous but next to the Rhode Island Striped Bass and the Poached Main Lobster Pasta it had to take a back seat. The bass was excellent with a very unusual but yummy fennel puree but the lobster pasta was a work of art. Fresh pappardelle with roasted heirloom tomatoes, asparagus and chunks of lobster all happily mingled to make this dish the hit of the evening. We let the birthday boy enjoy most of it but everyone agreed it was a standout from a very special group. We also tried the nut-crusted breast of chicken, which I enjoyed but almost couldn’t focus on with the other dishes on the table.
Almost unable to move from the feast we’d shared so far, we forced ourselves to taste some desserts so I could let you all know how North Fork Oyster Company measures up in that area. They were not a letdown and one even arrived with a candle and a chorus of Happy Birthday for my nephew – a surprise since I’d only mentioned his birthday in passing. It was a testament to the kind of attention to detail you’ll find when you visit here. We all loved the mixed citrus tart and my husband didn’t want to share the brownie duo. My sister, who tries to steer clear of a lot of gluten, was thrilled with the gluten-free Chocolate Espresso Mousse. What is the perfect end to a perfect meal? How about the best coffee I think I’ve had at any restaurant, anywhere, ever? My sister actually commented that it was “fluffy and amazing” and she was right – the whole night felt fluffy and amazing.
North Fork Oyster Company, 300 Main St., Greenport. 631-477-6840, www.northforkoystercompany.com. [/expand]