Hamptons Epicure: Savoring Sag Harbor’s Wölffer Kitchen

Wölffer Kitchen's panzanella.
Wölffer Kitchen's panzanella. Photo credit: Stacy Dermont

I wanted to like the South Fork’s first winery-owned restaurant, the new Wölffer Kitchen that opened in July on Sag Harbor’s Main Street because I’m a huge fan of Wölffer wines. You’ll often find me at their Sagaponack winery picking up a mixed case of their reds, rosés and whites.

I didn’t like Wölffer Kitchen—I loved it! The service was pleasant and attentive without being obsequious and every staffer knew the simple menu, the specials and what wines to suggest for pairings. Also, the management has taken measures to temper the volume of a joyous full house.

No, not all the wines on offer are from Wölffer—you’ll find a good mix from around the world plus local stars including Channing Daughters, Grapes of Roth, Macari Vineyards, Palmer Vineyard, Paumanok Vineyards, Roanoke Vineyard, Shinn Estate and Sparkling Pointe—courtesy of Wölffer winemaker and partner Roman Roth. You will find 10 different Wölffer wines and ciders available by the glass—plus Montauk Brewery’s Session IPA, should you wish to be the locavore contrarian.

My husband decided to start with the cocktail menu—specifically The Botanist, which is comprised of cucumber, fresh mint and Botanist gin. He found it—crucially—not-too-sweet and refreshing. He declared, “It has a nice bite and a touch of sweetness in the finish.”

Of course we sat at the outdoor table for two so that we could chat with passing friends and catch the breeze.

So what about Chef Deena Chafetz’s food? Here are Husband’s reactions in brief: the cured salmon appetizer with dijohn watercress crème fraîche and shaved fennel radish salad: “The fish is really nice. This fennel salad is like nothing I’ve ever had in a restaurant before.” (And with that assertion the food was completely gone.); Steak Frites—grilled prime New York strip with a reduction of Wölffer cab franc, fries and garlic aioli: “Oh yeah! It’s actually frites cause they’re Belgian-style frites—some of the best I’ve had in a LONG time—and actual fritesaus!” There were so many I got a sample. I concur with informed his analysis.

Wölffer Kitchen appetizer
Wölffer Kitchen appetizer. Photo credit: Stacy Dermont

Our server assured us that the Wölffer Kitchen Red 2014, which is on tap here, was a good match for the steak. It was, as she said “pretty bold,” smacking your nose well before it reaches your lips. It pleased Husband greatly. No doubt in his every quiet moment now he’s pondering wine-on-tap for our home.

I wanted to eat like the boho peasant I am and so ordered panzanella to start, followed by risotto. The salad of heirloom tomatoes, garlic croutons, cucumber, red wine vinaigrette, micro greens, basil and onion hit all the right flavor and texture buttons. Local tomatoes are still quite luscious. My risotto was informed by its lemon confit and lightened with precious beech mushrooms and baby spinach and covered with cheese. Delightful.

Husband was tempted by the Crispy Polenta dessert but instead settled on a small glass of Wölffer’s award-winning ice wine, Diosa Late Harvest 2012, and a fork, to “help” me with my fresh-from-the-oven Rustic Peach Tart and scoop of vanilla ice cream. A lovely way to close the evening on Sag Harbor’s Main Street. Next time we’re set to try the potato gratin with pancetta, garlic and Pamesan. See you at Wölffer Kitchen soon.

Rustic Peach Tart and scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Rustic Peach Tart and scoop of vanilla ice cream. Photo credit: Stacy Dermont

Wölffer Kitchen, 29 Main Street, Sag Harbor, 631-725-0101, wolfferkitchen.com

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