Local Carrot Cake is how my husband and I ended our recent meal at Wölffer Kitchen in Sag Harbor, but it is where I choose to begin—with candied walnuts and mascarpone frosting… to accompany our shared dessert I ordered a glass of Marcari Vineyards’ Viognier Dessert Wine Block E 2010, while Husband ordered a glass of Wölffer’s Diosa Late Harvest 2013. Both are award-winning wines. I sipped the Macari and quite enjoyed it with my cake, then Husband gave me a taste of the Diosa. This stuff is golden in more ways than one, delightfully complex. And thus Wölffer Kitchen, the first winery-owned restaurant in the Hamptons, fulfills its mission to offer the best of local wine pairings with wine-friendly food.
Other local wines on offer at Wölffer Kitchen include a selection from Channing Daughters Winery, The Grapes of Roth, Palmer Vineyards, Paumanok Vineyards, Roanoke Vineyards and Sparkling Pointe.
There’s a new chef at Wölffer Kitchen—Brian Cheewing. He worked at Jean Georges years ago, but we fondly remember him at the helm of the Coast Grill in Noyac. (The food there was a lot better than it needed to be—given the gorgeous view.)
It’s kind of the opposite of summer right now on the East End—you’ll find that it’s not so difficult to get a reservation or a parking space nearby. Husband and I sat indoors at a tiny table for two while sexy Euro pop and Moby singles played. The current prix fixe at Wölffer Kitchen is three courses and a glass of Wölffer’s house wine for $35. We could have done well with the prix fixe menu but we do have a tendency to drift… husband indulged in a Hendrick’s Gin martini straight up with an olive and I went for a Cucumber Cosmo. Husband found his drink of choice rendered “very clean” while my cosmo was quite fun by virtue of it being quite pink, with a lime wheel on its rim. And the bartender was not at all stingy with the vodka.
Husband started with the Grilled Octopus, which he found tender and nicely charred. I went for the soup of the day, which was Wild Mushroom. The flavor of the earthy mushrooms layered nicely with the spinach and Parmesan, and the soup’s egg drops were remarkably light. We also ordered a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts and were very glad that we did. Cooked to crisp-tender perfection with garlic, crispy pancetta and Parmesan, this little brassica is the ultimate comfort food.
Husband ordered the Sautéed Local Fluke but waffled and changed his order to the Day Boat Stew. With monkfish, clams, mussels, bay scallops, baby carrots, potatoes and saffron fumé, this dish exemplifies the kind of cooking that has made Chef Cheewing so popular with East Enders—he has a deft hand and he takes his time. Husband allowed me a taste—this is some next-level, savory broth! I had Rock Shrimp over risotto. Once again Cheewing had coaxed the maximum amount of flavor from a sea creature.
While dining, Husband enjoyed a glass of Wölffer Sauvignon Blanc while I sipped from a glass of a Wölffer Chardonnay.
Cheewing is the proud papa of a 4-month-old girl and Wölffer Kitchen’s manager Max Rohn has a 5-month-old bundle of joy at home. So much is new at Wölffer Kitchen. Wölffer Kitchen started offering weekend brunch at the end of November—their panini and grilled pizzas are a hit. They’re doing a four-course New Year’s Eve prix fixe and in May they plan to add lunch and to be open seven days a week.
Wölffer Kitchen, 29 Main Street, Sag Harbor, 631-725-0101, wolfferkitchen.com